Friday, 15 November 2013

Turtle eye halocline ("crying" underwater)...

Hey regular readers and fellow divers,

I know we still "owe" ourselves our readers some articles. Such as our Sabah divemaster internship report and a series on affordable dive equipment which I have not announced (let this be my motivation). Not that many people care or realise, perhaps.

But anyway, I am crunching some photos for submission to Ocean Art 2013 Underwater Photo Competition. While "pixel-peeping" at one of my photos, I noticed this:


Woah, is that a halocline I see right there???? For those who don't know what it is or what it looks like, check out the Wikipedia definition which I have conveniently linked to. It's the blurry patch beside the turtle's eye due to different densities of water. Turtle tears are highly-concentrated salt water, even saltier than normal sea water.

I vaguely recalled that turtles are known to "cry" as they crawl out of the sea to lay eggs in the sand. This "crying" is not due to their effort of straining to lay eggs, but because they are often discharging excess salt from special tear ducts at their eyes.

This was the original photo (edited for lighting and contrast for Facebook). Normally I just do a brief check for focus, camera shake, and brief lighting touch ups before uploading on Facebook. Nobody cares about Facebook photos anyway.

A very friendly turtle I met at Palau's Blue Corner. I had secured my reef hook right next to it and decided to take portraits of it when it hadn't moved off after a couple of minutes.
I did a brief Google image search on "turtle eyes halocline" and it came up empty. This may well be a rare photo of a turtle "crying" underwater!

- S

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