Professional freediver and diving instructor Roei Kashi was conducting a class in the waters of Koh Tao, Thailand, when he came across a lone sea turtle who was munching on jellyfish remains. At first, the turtle kept far away from the floating humans but eventually came over to share the bounty when Kashi pretended to eat with him.
I remembered the post of the guy who cuddles with lions where he actually pretended to drink from a pond to make himself part of the pride. So I thought, I a m going to eat the jellyfish. Well, not really eat it, but pretend to eat it. As soon as I did this the behavior of the turtle completely changed. He wasn’t uncomfortable with us anymore. He brought the jellyfish to the surface. And he came really close to us. If felt he was giving me the jellyfish, as if he wanted to share his meal with me.
The turtle kept close to Kashi and his students, only leaving when he saw another turtle to invite to the feeding. Unfortunately, the fellow terrapin got spooked by all the human activity and left. When all of the jellyfish meal was gone, the turtle accompanied Kashi back to his boat, mimicking his every move.
When the jellyfish was completely eaten and nothing remained, I noticed we were really far away from the boat. …Then I took my head out of the water and look, he takes his head out of the water…He was following me, he was mimicking me…Every time I took my head out, so did he. But it was already late and it was time to say goodbye. ….The turtle followed me all the way to the boat. He didn’t leave me alone. It was a beautiful experience I will never forget and luckily I have it all on camera.
Here’s a shorter version of the remarkable encounter.