During this past month’s tours we have been seen quite a few loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta). We could easily spot them on days of calm sea while floating at the surface and showing their carapaces that from distance resemble a buoy or a coconut 😀
A loggerhead turtle floating at the surface next to our boat
The loggerhead turtle despite being widely distributed in subtropical and temperate regions is listed as Vulnerable in the IUCN Red List. It is a highly migratory species using a variety of habitats during its lifetime: beaches for nesting, open ocean for a first development phase and neritic zones until they reach sexual maturity at the age of 10-39 years. Once sexually mature they perform migrations between feeding grounds and nesting sites. Migrations can span hundreds to thousands km.
Loggerhead turtles seen in the Azores are mostly juveniles ranging between 20 to 30 cm in length, however sometimes is possible to see larger individuals or very small ones the size of a hand palm. Full grown individuals can reach 1m in length.
Example of a very small loggerhead turtle that can be found in Azorean waters
More about the species can be found here