Koh Tao Island
One of the most famous scuba diving destinations in Asia not just Thailand. Koh Tao Island, which translates from Thai to English as ‘Turtle Island’, is home to two species of indigenous turtles, the Green Turtle and the Hawksbill Turtle. Although the name Turtle Island actually comes from the shape of the island viewed from the approach from the neighbouring island of Koh Phangan.
Where can you see them
You have a great chance to see a turtle whilst enjoying a scuba diving during your open water course as there are several resident turtles. 84 named individuals at the last check.
If you see in their natural habitat turtles are usually calm and will allow a respectful scuba diver to come quite close and can then be observed eating algae, swimming along the reefs. If you are lucky, heading to the surface to take a breath before descending for a further meal!
How to tell them apart
Each turtle has a distinct pattern of scales along its face much like the fingerprint on a human. If you get a photo of the left side of the turtle’s face you can submit the image for identification. You can send them to the Facebook page Koh Tao Turtles. You can find the name of your turtle or if it has not been unidentified you can choose the name. Without a photo or video evidence it is still possible for you to identify the species of turtle.
The Hawksbill turtle has a distinctive beak-shaped face with 2 pairs of prefrontal scutes (the scales on the front of the face inbetween their eyes). The carapace (or shell) is also distinctive with an elliptical shape with the scutes (or scales) overlapping and a jagged edge. These can be worn smooth in older individuals.
The Green turtle has a rounded face with only one pair of prefrontal scutes. The carapace is rounded or oval with scutes that abut (do not overlap) and a smooth edge.
Do you want to see a turtle then book your dives with us! either a 1 day try scuba diving or the open water course to get your diving licence. You will have the biggest smile on your face afterwards.