21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World
Easter Island (Rapa Nui) Sea Turtles

On a visit to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) my wife and I were fortunate enough to see (and photograph) giant sea turtles swimming about in the tiny harbor in the town of Hanga Roa, the island's capital. Much like the better known Galapagos turtles, those that swim the waters off Rapa Nui are an endangered species. As such, touching or feeding them is forbidden, and locals, we were told, will strongly enforce such restrictions. And not just because of the risk of extinction but also because the turtles are spiritually significant due to their place in the history of the Rapa Nui people. We were lucky enough to see them practically at arms length, so capturing them digitally was a snap.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2023
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Hanga Roa, Chile
Camera: NIKON D5600
Copyright: © ralph blessing