Our third stop was in slightly deeper waters which offered a difference sense of this reality; the open waters offering more intensity. Our host scanned the depths for the highlight of this area until he spotted it and told us to quickly jump in. Heart racing I jumped in; there was almost no coral here at all. Across the sandy bottom a giant sea turtle grazed. Overwhelmed with the emotion of the open waters and the beauty of this majestic creature in its natural environment was all consuming. Floating on the surface we grew closer to the animal though a considerable distance of depth remained between us. We swam on top of it as it walked on the sandy bottom. Of course, being an air breathing reptile it had to come up for breath and within a few minutes the creature rose to the surface once; twice before returning to its sea bottom pastures. We all swam fiercely for a chance to swim next to him but only one person managed to keep up. Within a meter of the beast, Julian shared the dive back down to the ocean floor alongside it and it was then that I realized how large it really was. Julians body giving perspective; it was almost as big as he. I attempted to keep up a short distance behind him and dove into the depth until my ears experienced pain that I could no longer bare forcing me back up to the surface. I was somewhat shocked at how deep Julian managed to go (Julian says "no pain, no gain" - ed).
Looking over the surface briefly to clean my snorkel I noticed our group had gathered in one spot and were trying to get my attention. I quickly swam towards them and was overcome by confusion and awe; at first I thought it was a shiver of sharks until I noticed that this was in fact a school of very large parrot fish. Quite ugly in all honestly but their size overcame that fact as we swam with them though I didn't dare leave the surface to get closer to these things. They covered quite a distance following the reef edge as we swam amongst them for a good 20 minutes until the boat came to fetch us to return us to the mainland.
Shortly after setting foot back on the land a strange feeling overcame me. I drank an excessive amount of water to rehydrate myself from a long day in the sun, showered and we went to our favourite little cafe for a couple hours to eat, write and edit photos. This odd sensation intensified and after a very satisfying bowl of curry my body was still not to rights. It was then that Julian pointed out that I must be land sick after a day out on the sea when he noticed similar sensations overcoming him. My world was swaying in my mind bringing forth an awful headache and and waves of nausea. After returning from the toilet someone else shared our table. He greeted me in recognition and it took me a few moments before I realized we had already met this man - the free diver from Californnia we had met in Cherating days before. I love running into people again while backpacking! Unfortunately though the sea got the best of me as I retreated to my bed to both enjoy and loath this feeling with rocked me to sleep.