Yup, you really can get this close to the turtles and just observe them, they don't seem to mind at all as long as you don't try to touch them or make any fast or threatening moves. Even after thousands and thousands of dives, and spending thousands of hours with turtles, I still get excited every time I see one and get to spend some time with it.
Kelli has been using my first underwater camera as she hones her underwater photography skills, and I'd say she's doing an awesome job! Especially considering that the camera no longer has its flash diffuser, and that it doesn't always work the way it's supposed to. I can't wait to see the kind of shots she comes up with when she gets her new camera this week. And of course I'm very excited to be getting a new camera myself this week, so there should be some great pictures coming very soon.
I was looking under a few rocks on the way back in and I discovered this live Textile Cone mostly buried in the dirt. This is the 3rd most deadly cone shell in the world. It's very beautiful but very deadly, which is why I'm carefully holding it by the base end, and have the point end pointing away from me. I put him back after Kelli took a picture of it, and after she was giving me one of those looks asking what the heck I think I'm doing. We had a great weekend of diving, managing to get in 5 dives for the weekend, which puts me just shy of 300 for the year, not a bad year at all! I think Lewie is totally hooked on diving now, and I keep getting new students lined up every day. I may have to clone myself before too long.