The Turtle and the Parrotfish

Date January 30, 2019


Hantu Blogger, Joel Santiago, was looking for a spot to do a safety stop at the end of a night dive when he noticed a huge parrotfish resting at the foot of the reef. He thought to himself, “That’s got to be the highlight of this dive!” As spontaneously as that thought had precipitated, his mind began to drift into the errands he’d have to do when he got back from his night dive, “I was thinking about rinsing gear…” The chore all divers are too familiar with, especially when we are on our homebound journey. Perhaps such is the nature of things when you go diving on a Sunday night and the thoughts of work at the office begin to loom.


Joel shared that this was his 3rd or 4th turtle sighting at Pulau Hantu, “I recognised it quite quickly, and I wanted to make sure that my buddy [and fellow Hantu Blog guide] Laval saw it too.” As is conventional when night diving, Joel sent a light signal to Laval. “From Joel’s light signals, I knew that this sure was something uncommon,” Laval easily spotted the turtle once it was illuminated by Joel’s torchlight, “It was easy to recognise from the patterns on its carapace. We were quite close to the turtle. Nearly within arms reach.”

Despite the multiple encounters, Joel shares that this turtle sighting was his best encounter to date! “The visibility was better than previous encounters. The turtle actually looked straight at me and the camera. I hope it wasn’t too blinded by the lights.”

Laval shared about this experience, “It sure was exciting even though I had seen many more turtles elsewhere. Pulau Hantu’s low visibility makes diving really exhilarating, like being raptured by something magical that unfurls itself as you go slow and look closely.”

Joel, who moved to Singapore from the Philippines, began volunteering with the Hantu Blog as a dive guide in 2012 and will [sadly for us] be relocating to Australia for work in a few months. This dive was to be his “Singapore farewell tour” and probably Joel’s last night dive in Hantu [for now]! “I do have one more weekend in February to dive in Hantu but I doubt it will top this one dive wise.”

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