Five Hours On One Breath (Freediver & Green Turtle)…

Shot taken while Freediving (on one breath)An adult Green Turtle can stay submerged for up to 5 hours...its heart rate slowing down to 1 beat per minute.Red Sea - Egypt (Dahab)Ikelite 7D Housing (8'' Dome Port)Ikelite DS-161 Strobes

This photo of record Italian freediver Linda Paganelli swimming alongside a large Green Turtle was taken in Dahab, Egypt while freediving using an Ikelite 5DmkIII Housing and two DS-161 Strobes in full manual mode.

An adult Green Turtle can stay submerged for up to five hours on a single breath of air by slowing down its heart rate to a single beat per minute. This is a far cry from the current human record (freediver Branko Petrović) during a static breath hold of 11 minutes and 54 seconds. Amazingly enough the average human being can hold their breath in excess of 3 minutes without too much effort (and with propper training) due to something called the mammalian dive response.

In recent decades, sea turtles like the Green Sea Turtle have moved from unrestricted exploitation to global protection, with some countries providing additional protection to the species. Despite this effort serious threats remain unabated and turtle numbers worldwide are declining at an alarming rate. An additional struggle these turtles face over the last few decades includes human development on shorelines which has increased the amount of artificial lighting. In the past nesting turtles sought out quiet, dark beaches on which to nest but now they must compete with tourists, businesses and coastal residents where these locations are now lined with seaside houses, businesses and hotels. Lights from these developments discourage female turtles from nesting. If a female fails to nest after multiple attempts, she will resort to less-than-optimal nesting spots or deposit her eggs in the ocean. In either case, the survival outlook for hatchlings is slim.

Lighting near the shore also causes hatchlings to become disoriented and wander inland, where they often die of dehydration or predation. Hatchlings, scientists believe, have an innate instinct that leads them in the brightest direction, which is normally moonlight reflecting off of the ocean. Excess lighting from onshore buildings and streets draw hatchlings toward land where they may be eaten, run over, or drown swimming pools.

There are several agencies and causes fighting for the plight of the sea turtle and there are many ways in which individuals can help. This starts by educating other ocean users on the struggles that these animals face and on proper etiquette when being fortune enough to encounter a turtle in the wild.