Turtle Ocarina & Contemplating Silence

My Grandma Crucita once told me a story of a a little box turtle that her papa had found while working the fields. She kept it for a few years and told me, “I kept it in a hole as deep as my arm. One day I went to check on it and it was gone… I don’t know how it got out.”

A couple years ago the same thing happened to me and my brother-in-law, Kelvin, while we were working outside. We came across another box turtle that he gave to the girls and that little creature went through a lot… never complaining… haha.  One day it was painted with glitter nail polish and another time it had little beads glued to its shell – good thing I found “Chaluup” before the glue dried up.

Girls and turtles… hmmmm… maybe that’s why it one day just disappeared like the last time.

I want to think it was the same one that my grandma had found many years ago. With all the abuse it handled, I guess a couple years with every generation is all it can take.

Close up of turtle conversation.

I’m fascinated with turtles of all kinds – the mystery, their longevity and their commitment to autonomy.

I swam with them on the Kona coast of Hawaii. There were Sea turtles so large they look like little hybrid cars floating around with schools of fish eating at their shells and barnacles that are so crazy-looking. Every one of them is unique in their aura.

I decided one day while running on the ancient road of King Kamehameha that I would visit them so I swam out far enough to get into the shallow area where the tide went back out and they would bask in the sun.

You can sneak up from behind them as they chill out in the Hawaiian sun. They slowly walk on land and head to their home in the sea and it’s during this time when you can grab the lip of their shell on their neck line and hold on!

As they get into the sea they become exceptionally stronger and more compatible with their environment and, amazingly, become more powerful.

I held on like the wild man that I am. Heehee.  I dove in with her as she slapped and pushed the water; diving in deeper. I filled my lungs with air and held it as she spiraled us into the oblivion of the great green-blue dark sea.

My adventures were many with them and I even once had a tattoo embezzled into my skin in honor of them and my connection to the greatest creature in the sea…

So in honor of those memories and to the driving mystery of the Sea and land turtles I thought I would send you this blog on the newest creations of Turtle Ocarinas.

2013-10-14 16.18.05
Turtle Ocarina: Bone colored with red honor marks of life and deaths warrior energy.
Turtle singing round dance songs.
Turtle singing round dance songs.
Working the Ocarina's
Cleaning up the molds so I can glue the two pieces together.
Actually there are three pieces that need to fit just right for the sound to be quality.
Glueing halves together.
When a man begins to make tools for his art, then he is one with the art.
These are wooden clamps for the gluing process.

Confucius Say: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

In my short life there are very few things I actually have chosen to do as work. I think the hardest job in the whole wide world is a relationship.  Why? This is a tricky one. I think it’s because when it’s good it honors your whole being and that honors everything about who and what you are, from your art to your health.

When it’s bad the bottom line is that it takes you away from everything that you are and you end up trying to fix the relationship and years go by with the shameless, hopeless, efforts of leaving your heart behind.

One day your heart shows up like that lost Box Turtle my grandma had and it gives you comfort, confidence and gifts you with a reminder that being in your own company is the key to your fulfillment and autonomy.

I have only been blessed. Blessed with the company of schools of fish eating at the walls of my well worn out shell and to swim towards the rising sun of my life and to honor the deepest, dangerous moments in the doldrums.

I am a lucky man to understand that to be like the turtle is the best way.

Eat, sleep, bask in the sun, blindly spiral into the unknown and be at peace while the turmoils and the toils above you rage and rip. You are always underneath watching in silence and complete meditation while floating by with the spirit of the northern tide.

Be fearless. Play a little tune, my friends, the rest is all is just ________!

With love & honor,


26 thoughts on “Turtle Ocarina & Contemplating Silence”

  1. the common snapping turtle lives only about thirty years in the wild but when i was about seven years old i heard a legend about a snapping turtle with an “indian arrowhead” embedded in his shell living in the brook that ran through our town on the south shore of long island. i jumped to the conclusion that this turtle was at least one hundred years old and spent years looking for this turtle even though i eventually realized that it was probably a made up story to entertain little kids in the summertime.

  2. : “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”
    So true, I recently started a new job, one I love and enjoy very much.In the 3 months I’ve been there I’ve seen at least 4 girls that either left or got fired,(I know for a fact 2 were fired) they didn’t seem to like their job and it showed,I love mine and enjoy it! I have fun at work! And I get paid for it!

  3. Mirabal,

    I love this blog so thank you for sharing. I am fond of turtles as well. My fiance found a little turle last year while he was cutting grass. he brought into the house and wanted to keep it. I said no set him free as he should be. A turtle is one of the slowest creatures there is and we should pay more attention to them as they make their way day by day while everything and everyone else is in a frenzy of a rat race. Have a great week.


  4. Can you have the girls make me one with glitter nail polish and beads so I can always play a child’s carefree tune of whatever is the joy of the moment?

    Turtle: The Incredible Journey is one of the most profoundly touching films with so many lessons about life – the turtle is a symbol/totem encompassing us all like their journeys circle the globe.I pondered awhile before selecting that Hawaiian turtle amulet and Dawn told me the meaning. I wore it every day like I seem to always wear my necklace of the moment til it was taken by some tide to be rediscovered by another. and I learned the way is to let it go happily to them.

    I always read these as fast as you write them but thought you may want some silence to contemplate so lay back and watch as much as I can stand to.

    The seaweed is always greener
    In somebody else’s lake
    You dream about going up there
    But that is a big mistake
    Just look at the world around you
    Right here on the ocean floor
    Such wonderful things surround you
    What more is you lookin’ for?

    Under the sea
    Under the sea
    Darling it’s better
    Down where it’s wetter
    Take it from me
    Up on the shore they work all day
    Out in the sun they slave away
    While we devotin’
    Full time to floatin’
    Under the sea

    Down here all the fish is happy
    As off through the waves they roll
    The fish on the land ain’t happy
    They sad ’cause they in their bowl
    But fish in the bowl is lucky
    They in for a worser fate
    One day when the boss get hungry
    Guess who’s gon’ be on the plate

    Under the sea
    Under the sea
    Nobody beat us
    Fry us and eat us
    In fricassee
    We what the land folks loves to cook
    Under the sea we off the hook
    We got no troubles
    Life is the bubbles
    Under the sea
    Under the sea
    Since life is sweet here
    Take it from me


    This message has been brought to
    you by The Little Mermaid

    Love and happy swimming !

  5. You have spoken my language and played my tune as well as touched my inner most being!!! My life all tied up in the words you have spoken in this Blog!

    Blessings and Smiles,

    Paula R. A balos

    Ps….I think i will drink to this one! Salute!

  6. A tortoise once wandered into our fenced yard. She had a hole drilled into her shell to keep her tied up. Mimi decided she liked it there (my mom fed her good treats) and stayed with us for more than 20 years until she decided to continue her journey and disappeared. Years later, another tortoise wandered into the yard (where my daughter now lives) and has been there atleast 15 years. Funny thing, this is in the middle of Los Angeles.

  7. I would love someday, to see a sea turtle as big as a car, i believe that they are that big, i just don’t remember going to Hawaii & seeing them is all, would it not be cute, to see a car painted as a sea turtle to also honor them, if i had a lil compact car, i would paint it like a sea turtle for Halloween <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 🙂

  8. Please let me clear up the hole, it was there when she came to live with us and we never tied her up. Oh how she loved watermelon.

  9. Saw the turtles at Kona some years ago – yes, they are beautiful.
    We found a snapping turtle close to a ditch in our yard here in NC. Some kids that were working here wanted to take it home and with the aid of a rake got it in a box. The left for lunch and when the returned it was gone! I’ve never been that close to a turtle that big. Well, my niece found one this past week-end with 3 legs. It was a baby snapper. Mandy but the turtle under a tree where the cat couldn’t find it and within minutes of going back to check on it, it was gone. They are slow but they can move fast when needed. Living close to the beach now I hope to be able to see one of the sea turtle nests hatch. That would be wonderful

  10. My daughter loves turtles. Ever since I had my dream about them when she was young. She even got a tribal turtle tattoo on her shoulder blade. I love sea turtles because they are so incredible and they float along like they have no worries. Never in hurry.

    How incredible is that to swim with them in Hawaii!

    Thanks for sharing !

  11. Aloha Robert,
    The first time I swam with Honu, I cried with pure joy.
    What a magnificent old soul!
    She carries all of life’s stories on her back.
    For hours, I followed her around the bay like a little puppy and the whole time she was so patient with me.
    She never hurried away, she even rubbed up against me as if to say, …now you and I are forever connected!
    I stared into her soulful eyes and found the deepest purest love, I have ever known. I was to say the least, forever changed!
    Since that moment, I have always had a special connection with
    It is in nature that I feel most at home.
    Robert, be at one with nature and allow the healing to embrace you and bring you peace! Ocarina moments, running, staring at the clouds, sitting on the edge of the Rio Grand or cleansing yourself in the cool waters.
    Much love brother of Honu!

  12. Dear Robert, You have a wonderful way of telling a story. Your grandmother would be smiling now. My mother used to caution me saying “What will be, will be.” You do not have to hold to the turtles. It is when you let go and learn to fly, perhaps your heart will soar. Much love and best wishes for a successful year ahead and continued friendship. Nancy

  13. The turtle is also important to me. My first published article in a national magazine was about the honu (sea turtle) and the lessons I learned from watching it- pacing. taking time to retreat. righting myself if I end up on my back. In fact I also have a tattoo of a honu on my inner arm (done by traditional methods in Tahiti). By the way, I’m very much enjoying your book “Running Alone in Photographs” and plan to review it on Amazon. Thank you for your great work.

  14. When I was little there was a box turtle that hung around our back yard. We would feed it hot dogs. Hey the turtle liked them.

  15. I have swam with them many times growing up close to the great barrier reefs.. i have watched them dig their way out of the sand as tiny babies… helped them get to the water so they had a fighting chance… but the most amazing experience of all is being totally under the water in the echoing silence of the water…
    Watching them come alive… they are getting harder to find in larger sizes now… but if your blessed you still will have one come swim with you or around your boat while fishing…
    Beautiful story… isn’t it wonderful how nature teaches us… hugs

  16. Ay Mirabal, Man.
    Those turtle images;
    close up of turtle conversation,
    turtle singing round dance songs..
    those turtle images had me laughing out loud.
    Thanks, I needed that.

  17. When I was a child, I often went out and played in the fields and in the forest. Everytime I felt at home there. Nature to me is like a mother and teached me a lot. As a young woman I went to Romania with some friends. We wanted to have an active holiday in the nature in the delta of the river Donau. There we also saw turtles in the wild for the first time, an impressive experience. Now your story brought memories back and joy about these encounters.
    I heard once: In Asia a turtle as a symbol stands for safety, so people paint turtles on the backside of their houses…

    Robert, I like your music since years, especially because you sing with your soul.
    I am a singer too and always put my soul into the songs I sing

    Thank you very much for sharing the story…
    Love and blessings from Germany

  18. I have been thinking about your turtle ocarina. So I contemplated in silence……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..Oyster shell ocarina. I have not put it into practice yet. If I can get one to make a toot I will send it to you……………………………………….

  19. I’m wearing tiny silver and turquoise turtles in my ears. A gift from my Mama. I’ve been very I’ll an elder Lakota woman from NM suggested them for health. They are lovely like the story and both make me smile.

  20. Turtle; I have made many turtle instruments, each one special, each one with an ancient energy. I love your images of spiraling down in the water holding onto one of the giants. I want to do this someday!
    Here’s a good message I just heard:
    “Look at the turtle, it only gets ahead when it sticks its neck out”.
    So true.
    I too chose a career that has made me happy and never felt like a job.
    PS- your clamps look a whole lot like some that I made for a new instrument I designed years ago! Yes, at one with the tools, and the glue.

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