Scuba diving was incredible! I was a little sad that I decided not to bring the underwater camera in the end, but this meant that I could enjoy my two dives without worrying about also capturing the amazingness for posterity. I did two dives in two different locations around the island with my own private guide (off season means fewer tourists, and those that did go chose snorkeling), and both were filled with schools and pods of multicolored fish and all manner of coral. Some coral looked like cherry blossom trees and others spread out like lily pads jutting out from the side of the reef. On the first dive as we were passing a really dark cave, the guide started gesturing towards the inside of it. It was much too narrow for us to try to navigate into it without crashing into coral and it was too dark for me to see inside, but he kept insistently pointing. And then I saw a giant sea turtle heading straight for my head! He had two little fishies hanging onto his sides and he was easily a meter wide, flipper to flipper. He veered course before crashing into me, but circled back around and checked us out a few more times before disappearing into the deep.
We stopped on the actual island to relax, eat our boxed lunches and explore the island for a bit and while I didn't go around the whole thing I did find one temple and one little deer. People are not allowed to own land on the island and no one lives there. Few people come every day to leave offerings in the temples and maintain the grounds and then everyone clears off.
The day was gorgeous, but despite sunblock and covering up with the sarong, I was starting to feel a bit tingly on the boat. By the time I got back to my homestay the sunburn was blazing across every exposed surface. I tried slathering on lotion, but decided more serious tactics were called for so I walked next door to the spa and booked an aloe vera wrap. After covering me in pulp literally head to toe and letting me chill for an hour, the wonderful woman gave me an aloe leaf to take with me to keep reapplying. I think it's pretty official, I'm partially a vampire and the sun is in a constant battle with my skin trying to burn my soul into oblivion. This might sound dramatic, but I'm feeling crunchy and sensitive right now and therefore must be forgiven any exaggerations and creative liberties. The funny part is that I don't think the locals have ever seen a sunburn because I kept getting questions about why I was so concerned over a little color.