Diver Meets Turtle

For me, and I would imagine for most people, work is definitely not a pleasure, but here is a rare moment when I can say working really was a pleasure. The hard working diver you see in the video (below) is yours truly, doing my bit for Thailand’s oil and gas industry. It’s not unusual to encounter turtles whilst diving on oil and gas platforms in the Gulf of Thailand but to experience a little intimacy with a turtle and get some superb video footage is probably a once in a lifetime experience.

The Diver and The Turtle Video.

Why was the turtle attracted to me.

There are various theories as to why the turtle took an interest in me. As you see the turtle swimming into the shot it looks like he’s heading towards the R.O.V, maybe he was going to have a look, it’s possible he thought the R.O.V was a turtle, this particular one was not much bigger than the turtle.

You notice he takes a look to the side and changes direction, has he only just noticed me, I may have been partially hidden from him until this point. Now the turtle makes a beeline for me, he pays a lot of attention to my bailout bottle, another turtle ??. I suspect he was hungry, the previous day I was in the water using a high pressure water jet to clean marine growth from the platform, he was asleep in a corner where 2 tubular members meet the platform leg. Rather than give him a rude awakening via the noisy water jet, I gave him a gentle tap, watched him wake, then started jetting when he was clear, he hung around for a while though and fed on the particles which were being broken and blasted from the platform.

It’s very feasible that he was expecting more food to be blasted from the platform, and it is feasible that he was attracted to the air bubbles rising above me, turtles eat jellyfish, and from a distance a large air bubble could easily be mistaken for a jellyfish.

At one point he tries to bite my leg, I guess he smelt some shellfish which was in my pocket from the previous days water jetting. Maybe he was just being playful or curious, it’s quite likely he has lived on that platform for many years, that old boy will have met quite few divers in his time, some may have taken food for him. Whatever the reason that turtle took an interest in this particular diver, the timing, the footage, and the interaction made it a once in a lifetime experience.

Did the Turtle Want to Have His Wicked Way.

It has been mentioned that the turtle wanted to have sex with me, a possible case of turtle-human bestiality. It’s easy to jump to this conclusion being as the turtle does appear to try and mount me, but there was no obvious signs of him coming out of his shell.

Thailand Sea Turtle Facts.

  • Sea turtles still present in Thai waters are the Hawksbill turtle, Leatherback turtle, Green turtle and Olive Ridley turtle.
  • Thailand has seen a major decline in the number of Sea Turtles over the last 2 – 3 decades, this decline is reflected worldwide, turtle populations have declined by 80 percent during the last century.
  • Development of Thailand’s beaches is largely to blame for the diminishing population of sea turtles in Thailand.
  • Entanglement in fishing nets, collisions with boats, egg poaching and collection of shells are also contributing factors to the demise of sea turtles in Thailand.

Turtle Conservation in Thailand.

  • Sea turtles now have full protection in Thailand.
  • Her Majesty Queen Sirikit helped to establish a Turtle Conservation Project on Man Nai Island, off the coast of Rayong, East Thailand.
  • There are now several turtle conservation centers in Thailand, the more prominent ones being Thai Muang National Park beach and The Mai Khao Sea Turtle Conservation.
  • The Royal Thai Navy plays a major role in the protection and release of sea turtles, protecting nesting grounds from poachers, and annually releasing young turtles at various locations on the coast of Thailand.

Hawksbill Turtle Facts.

  • Scientific name: Eretmochelys imbricata.
  • Average lifespan of the Hawksbill turtle is 30 to 50 years.
  • Adults reach an average size of 1 meter in length.
  • They get the name “hawksbill” due to the hawk like appearance of their head and mouth.
  • Hawksbill turtles diet consists of sea grasses, jellyfish, squid, urchins, sponges and mollusks.
diver with hawksbill turtle in Thailand

Diver meets turtle: a commercial diver (yours truly) has an encounter with a sea turtle in the Gulf of Thailand.

hawksbill turtle

The inquisitive ?, horny ?, hungry ?, territorial Hawksbill Turtle. Who cares, what a beautiful “once in a lifetime experience”.

Updated December 30th 2012.

Author 

Darren is a blogger, father and husband, he's been living in Thailand since 2000. He founded Pattaya Unlimited in 2009 to share his experiences, knowledge, and passion for life in Thailand.

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Comments

  1. katrina says

    well done on capturing a rare moment in time, very beautiful indeed, did it frighten you when you turned around to see it there? It would,ve frightened the life out of me.

    • says

      Hi Katrina, yeah it gave me a bit of a fright, I felt this weight pushing against me, when I turned around all I saw was a big turtles belly. A shark was seen soon before I got in the water, not that I’m scared of sharks, just thought I would mention that :-).

  2. Mick Methven says

    Awesome footage of this working environment mate. I hope to work in these waters eventually. You must have felt very lucky to experience this and have it recorded so well. Great post ! Cheers, Mick.

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