Up close and part of a magic kingdom

You had to be an old mad bird to end up with sunstroke from being too in love with a turtle.

Porcupine fish

I’m a dummy. That beautiful girl, my turtle, took me for such a ride that I hadn’t wet my head once in the half hour I was with her and returning to the boat. This was in the searing midday sun in Indonesia central! I would be more penitent later as the full horror of proper sunstroke waved over me. I should have known better I’d had it before, but this time it was horrendous. I was pretty much bed bound for the next couple of days before I left this island paradise.

Sunstroke is foul and it opened the back door for a miserable Asian flu to develop. You feel feverish and delirious much like any kind of strong flu or suchlike. Weakness and apathy ensue and a lot of sleeping like malaria. You have basically fried your brain and put your whole body in peril.

Blue Tang

Although I staggered out a couple more times it was more as an act of defiance. I mainly stayed close to my cabin, drank loads of water and ventured out only for meals that I pecked at pathetically before returning to bed. Even my hammock represented too much effort. My pal there sympathised but declared that he would have happily endured sunstroke in exchange for my turtle experience. He was actually quite impatient with my whining on, as he had paid a small PADI fortune on his less successful diving trips. He only had a shark sighting to compete with my turtle and was justly miffed about it.

Fish mix and corals almost too much.

I didn’t feel very lucky as all the symptoms had returned from my exhaustion in Malaysia threefold. Headache was a new addition as was nausea. Luckily it was a beautiful and quiet spot so I could rest. The mangrove was a surprisingly kind place. I thought it would be smelly and full of insects but it was neither. Although I would crash further as I continued my stubborn punishing travel plans, this was the best place to be ill.

I just found a section in my journal for this trip which I will dutifully copy below

Extract From Journal (titled ‘Rambling and Odd’)

Going out on first proper diving boat from my new home in Cakalang. Had a good rest and am ready to see those bad boy turtles, manta ray, pipefish, angelfish, parrotfish, puffers etc. You can hear the parrotfish crunching the coral while your head is underwater and shitting out a course sandy mix at the same time! I can only slightly explain the beauty of the clear waters with a huge amount of magnificent corals.

My girl

Guilty this is my first entry since I’ve been here. The boat dumped me on the wrong side of the island when I arrived- drama-so I had to walk along the beach with my trusty itty bitty suitcase and rucksack that says on it ‘I don’t know where I’m going but I’m on my way’ PROPHETIC!………

….. Another great swim today, big drowsy fish that just float like sullen clouds. They look excellent eating! More turtles that still won’t wait for me to get close, think I’m too noisy. [Obviously before my turtle swim] There’s no doubt this is the best snorkelling ever! Have finally set my camera to underwater mode, I’d totally forgotten about it. So much better after a proper sleep here. Only had a small incident of a cockroach landing in the last of my beer last night which spooked me a bit.

My balcony and hammock

Some very territorial fish here. One got the hump when I got to his man cave and came swimming up to my face in a very “I’ll bite you!” way. Not bothered about PADI now as you can see so much on the close surface. Saw pipefish today as well as needle fish and the ubiquitous turtles, I’m so blase now as you see so much. This is being an excellent rest after rushing around for the last two months. It took me two days to stop feeling anxious and fretful but now I can feel all the stress slipping away.

Well! Todays snorkel was AMAZING! Got close and personal to a female turtle and she let me follow her closely for twenty minutes. She was gobbling those pesky translucent jellyfish, and being so kind to me! Bright sunlight penetrating into the blue blue sea made for perfect visibility and some spectacular pics and vids. They [the turtles] do look kind of weary of the world (well they are ancient beings) – so funny bit like a Brutus face [our bulldog]

Staying at the Novita [first awful homestay] nearly ruined this trip and now I’m at Caka [second mangrove hotel cabins] I think I’ll stay extra time. I have been feeling weary the last few days must use this as a pit stop for relax as well as manic snorkelling. Must add an extra bit about Novita hell hole. The electric kept cutting out and my room was like the black hole of Calcutta and Dantes ‘Inferno’ thrown in too. ‘Pappa’ [The man at Novita married to the venemous old bitch] was an arsehole who took me out in his shitty old boat without enough petrol. When my Dutch mate joined me in the afternoon things went really pear shaped and we really saw the nasty side of him, he even stopped the boat over it and I readied myself to get attacked by the madman! I even picked up the rung that had fallen off the ladder to defend myself!

I stopped the journal at that point as I was starting to go downhill and had no energy left. You could see it in my scrawl and the beginnings of gibberish. Fever was to ensue and the dreaded dry cough, however more on that with my next post.

MY BEACH BAR. Just one last drink for the road.