Sea Life Encounters for a Sea Turtle Intern

A Buck Island National Monument Photo Update from Justin Kemp

ABOVE: This juvenile Hawksbill turtle seemed uninterested at my presence and permitted me to tag along on the cruise. The Hawksbill is currently rated as critically endangered but thanks to many years of conservation efforts their numbers are once again growing. 

 

Justin Kemp helps the National Park Service collect field data on endangered sea turtles as an SCA Sea Turtle Intern at Buck Island National Monument. When he’s not sleeping the very odd hours required by night patrol duty (most sea turtle nesting activity takes place under cover of darkness) he spends his free time exploring (and snapping photos of) his temporary island home and its tropical environs.

 

Check out these photos from his latest adventures. (all photos by Justin Kemp)

 

Cane Bay on the island of St Croix is a popular spot for its excellent diving and snorkeling. The backdrop isn’t bad either…

 

I spied this juvenile porcupine fish enter a hole in the reef and waited patiently for it to reemerge just long enough for me to get this shot. Notice that its eyes are covered in a brilliant green cloud pattern which, interestingly acts to break up their shape, helping camouflage the fish. 

 

BELOW: Amber Packard, a fellow SCA intern working with the National Park Service, takes an evening snorkel to enjoy the reef as it comes alive at night.