We were sat on the side of the boat, the waves gently lapping against the sides in a steady rocking motion, as if inviting us to enter and explore. Our boat driver, a local man who had spent his whole life living on the islands informed us that the area was well renowned for being home to a whole host of marine creatures. We took once last look at the shoreline which was still in view, a vast amount of golden sand dotted by towering palm trees and a small jetty stretching out into the ocean. With our scuba diving gear finally assembled we gently leant back and tilted into the sparkling blue waters surrounding Indonesia.
The warm ocean fully submerged us as we continued our descent down, a refreshing relief from the sun shining high overhead. It very soon became apparent that diving the coral reefs was like entering another world. Small fish were darting this way and that, like brightly coloured bullets, not wanting to get to close, the sight of the small stream of bubbles coming from our regulators seemed to put them off. A small shoal of parrot fish soon came into view, the sound of the jaws breaking and chewing through coral completely filled our ears, the slightly muffled sound of crunching was completely different from anything I had ever heard before as these huge creatures ate their fill.
As we dived deeper the corals became more diverse, their striking colours easier to see and the fish became more numerous. Huge barrel sponges loomed in front of us, like giants nestled among the corals, while the extremely recognisable faces of clownfish peeked out at us from in between anemones. The area was teeming with life, the barrel sponges a favourite gathering place for animals on the reef. The floor was littered with chocolate chip starfish, white with slightly raised brown spots, hence their name. The diverse range of marine life in one area was completely breath taking, but there was one animal I was particularly keen to gain a sighting of.
I had begun to think we were out of luck, nearing the end of our dive time and starting the slow ascent towards the surface when I noticed that my dive buddy had stopped swimming. As I turned to look at him he signalled a sign that I had been desperate to see. I swam round the corner and there it was. In the distance at first but the shape was unmistakable- my first glimpse at a green sea turtle. Looking seriously impressive, a silhouette against the dark blue backdrop of the ocean depths, my heart leapt, I had finally seen one! It swam towards us, allowing us to catch a closer glimpse before heading back out into the deep.