A couple of years ago, we were on one of our Tioman getaways.
There were 6 divers and 3... erm, snorkellers.
When the divers went out for their 3 boat dives a day, we went along and snorkelled at the same sites. Them down below, us up above, on the surface, like manta rays.
Guess who spotted a hawksbill turtle at a particular site?
Me, me, me!
It was huuuuuuuuuuuuge. Seeing it swim in front of me, I too swam and swam with all my might, all the time keeping my eyes glued to its graceful movements.
I still remember how it felt. My heart was beating real quickly and I just kicked and kicked to propel myself faster. I wanted to scream, but had the snorkel in my mouth. I wanted to scream at it, "Wait! Wait for me! Don't swim so fast!"
It eventually out-swam me (duh!) and disappeared into the vast ocean.
When we were all back on-board, I proudly announced my first turtle sighting. Us snorkellers were excited because it was a first for everyone.
The divers cheh-ed us. But they didn't see no turtles at that particular site! We did!
Anyways, that's was my love-at-first-sight with turtles.
At the Renggis site on our very last dive, we spotted a turtle. He wasn't very big, but what he lacked in size, he made up by being very accepting of our presence. Yes, I decided that it's gonna be a he.
He swam, just swam. But very slowly and ever so gracefully.
We followed. In those moments, I had practically shut out the rest of the world, no sound, no nothing else - just him swimming right before my very eyes.
It was pure serenity.
And weirdly hypnotic.
Back at the dive centre, while we were logging our dives, a bunch of divers had just completed their last dive, and we exchanged 'hellos' and 'good dive?' as they walked pass us towards the rinse tub.
The Finnish dude came up to us and told us what he saw.
A bunch of divers, pulling and tugging at a turtle, trying to make it come out from under a reef. The bunch of idiots decided that they will not take no for an answer, and that they didn't come all the way here to catch sight of a camera-shy turtle.
They oughta be tear-gassed. They oughta be banned from diving. They oughta try having turtles pulling at their arms and legs. They oughta be killed.
If I ever encounter such stupid divers in future (I pray not!), I will swim up to them, pull their mask off their face and let it snap back, AND THEN cut their regulator hose, BOTH of them.