The aquatic incident of the curious turtle in the night-time
8 March 2009, 6 Years Ago This Week: I’m not a big fan of scuba diving at night. It’s not so much fear of the dark as fear of missing out on sundowner drinks. That said, there are some dive sites that just have to be seen after sunset and indeed are more famous for their night dives than the daytime aquatic life. One such place is Maaya Thila in the Maldives, an iconic pinnacle of rock that harbours all manner of life during the day but then does a full cast change for the evening performance. Bobbing around on the flat top of the pinnacle, there’s a nightly circus of giant stingrays skittering around over the rocks and corals scattered over this ocean plateau, keeping a watchful eye on the grey reef sharks that hove into the flashlights’ circles and then out again, patrolling the edges of the pinnacle. Amongst these fearsome predators, seemingly without a care in the world, unhurriedly passes the occasional turtle.
Unlike most sea creatures, turtles are often unbothered by the noise and bubbles of scuba divers, or indeed the excited twitches of light flaring and falling as torches are waggled about in the darkness. The turtle pictured above is a case in point – it came right up to my camera dome in a slo mo drive by, checking me out, wondering if there was anything worth eating. Clearly disappointed, he languidly swam off to go and munch on some coral.
As a side note, while I obviously wholly agree with the idea that all divers must avoid any contact whatsoever with fragile coral ecosystems for fear of damaging their growth and general health, watching a turtle eat is a real test of not mansplaining to wildlife. Turtles, not to put to put to fine a point on it, go absolutely batshit when they eat – they rip huge chunks out of the coral in search of the tastiest morsels, creating a cloud of debris and leaving gaping holes that would have any diver severely reprimanded if they did the same. It’s a reminder that nature is violent by, erm, nature and doesn’t need any extra destruction from us.
What Is 12 Years Of Travel?I'm publishing a photo each week during 2015 that was taken in the same week sometime in the previous 12 years on my travels. Join me in my journey to combat early senility by trying to remember what the hell I was doing over the last decade.
- Week 1: Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Melbourne
- Week 2: Cannibal Rock, Komodo, Indonesia
- Week 3: Ocean Reflection, Ari Atoll, Maldives
- Week 4: Vertigo Bar Sunset, Banyan Tree Hotel, Bangkok
- Week 5: Talc Alf Sculptures, Flinders Ranges, Australia
- Week 6: After The Tsunami, Khao Lak, Thailand
- Week 7: Drugs Warning, Jakarta Airport, Indonesia
- Week 8: Beng Mealea Temple, Angkor, Cambodia
- Week 9: Failing To Climb Mount Kinabalu, Borneo
- Week 10: Night Diving At Maaya Thila, Maldives
- Week 11: Schwezigon Paya Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
- Week 12: Octopus, Hin Daeng, Thailand
- Week 13: A View With A Room, Bangkok Tree House
- Week 14: Koh Haa, Thailand
- Week 15: Angry Whopper, Singapore
- Week 16: Kuda Gili Shipwreck, Maldives
- Week 17: Model Shoot, Bangkok
- Week 18: Banda Islands, Indonesia
- Week 19: Port Eliot, Cornwall
- Week 20: Exmouth, Australia
- Week 21: Newquay Cliffs, Cornwall