The nesting ritual of the sea turtle is as ancient as it is unique. When the female is ready to hatch, she waits bobbing the surf until the calm and coolness of evening. At the right moment she moves over the sand shedding large tears with excess salt. The tears also protect her eyes from the sharp sand. With her flippers she digs a two foot deep hole, then crouches over it, and lays her eggs. During a single season she might fill three or four nests with up to 100 eggs in each. And after filling the nest with sand, she will dart back to the water, her mission complete for two to three years, when she mates again.
But not all her eggs will hatch, and not all the two inch, one ounce hatchlings will be able to run through the salty surf into the freedom of their adolescent turtle life. Rats, mongooses, people, fungi, crabs, dogs, larvae, prey on the precious eggs. The few babies that survive, have to dig themselves out of the sand and run for life.
The development of resorts, beach houses and beach lights, new vegetation, artificial sand, beach construction, as well as beach erosion, can confuse the hatchling enough for it to run in the wrong direction, towards lights and even highways. At times it's unable to crawl out from the sand at all. Thousands of eggs might produce only a handful of mature sea turtles!
The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle is the only indigenous reptile found in Hawaii, but for Hawaiians, the Honu is a symbol of good luck in the form of a guardian spirit, or Amakua. The Honu pattern is depicted in ancient petroglyphs as well as in modern graphic form. For Hawaiians then and now, the Honu represents the navigator, and the eternal link between man, the land and the sea. One Hawaiian legend tells of a large Honu, Kauila
Sources: The Struggle Of The Ancients by Veronica S. Schweitzer,
THE HAWAIIAN HONU – SYMBOL OF WISDOM AND GOOD LUCK