Laniakea Beach isn’t the only place where turtles gather on the North Shore. So when the state closed its parking lot, turtle tourists looked elsewhere on Oahu.
We got this picture from Wayde Fishman, who stopped at Alii Beach a few days after the lot had been temporarily closed. As you can see, swarms of tourists have been getting pretty close to the honu (turtles) resting at this Haleiwa beach – a violation of federal and state laws. The laws prohibit people from touching, feeding, harassing or injuring these endangered animals.
Unlike the turtles at Laniakea, the Alii Beach turtles are more exposed to the human touch. There are no protective barriers to prevent people from getting near them. From what I heard, honu protection agencies have yet to obtain access to these beaches. Not sure why, but it could be that tour buses rarely came to Alii’s prior to the parking lot closure; therefore, there wasn’t a need. Now, tour buses shuttle tourists to this spot almost daily.
It’s not necessarily the tourists’ fault, though, as turtle protection laws have not been advertised as much as they should. Including such information in a travel brochure would be one possible solution; otherwise, non-profits, like Malama Na Honu, do a great job in educating locals and visitors about honu protection.
Though the Laniakea parking lot closure was supposed to help with the traffic, it unintentionally caused other problems. However, these problems can be prevented by further educating those unfamiliar with the situation. So spread the word and help us malama the honu!
Photo Courtesy: Wayde Fishman