Basking in the sun makes our green sea turtles unique

By Susan Scott

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 10, 2011


A green sea turtle hauls itself up the shoreline at Turtle Beach on Midway Atoll.

Physicist Stephen Hawking begins his 1988 book “A Brief History of Time” with a cosmic joke: At a public lecture, a scientist explains the earth’s orbit around the sun, and the sun’s around the galaxy.

“That’s wrong,” a woman in the audience says, “The earth is a flat plate resting on a turtle’s back.”

“What’s the turtle standing on?” the scientist asks.

She replies, “It’s turtles all the way down.”

At Midway Atoll, about 1,000 miles northwest of Honolulu, that phrase often popped into my mind when I visited what is now called Turtle Beach. There, rows of green sea turtles bask in the sun from one end of the roped-off beach to the other.

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