It’s back to Tiran for me today, and I’m really looking forward to it as I’ve been mostly beach bound for the last week. We received some sad news that one of the resident turtles in the bay was killed this week in a collision with what is assumed was a speedboat. It’s really strange diving the bay and knowing that you won’t bump into it, munching away on the seagrass. So Tiran will be a nice distraction.
Before we know it we are on the way. Group sorted and briefed nice and early, theres time for a cup of coffee and a chat with the guests. This part of the day is my favourite sometimes, getting to know your guests, sharing stories and getting each other wound up about what you might see on any given dive. There have been Manta sightings this week, as well as Sharks, so there is a definite buzz in the air. I, however, used up my Shark luck a few years back when I spent an hour with 2 whalesharks with no other boats around and just my guests snorkeling above us. So its well known that if you want to see a shark, these days you are better off diving with a introductory diver than me! Strangely, on hearing this, many of my guests appear to jump ship, as it were, and attempt to join the other group. Feeling rather rejected, I sternly tell my guests, in a roundabout way, that its tough luck, they are stuck with me.
As we descend down, I start looking around, desperate to break the jinx and see a shark, any kind of shark, even a baby would do. After a while, I give up and allow myself to get distracted by a pretty anemone and a nudibranch who appear to be having some sort of argument (I’ll leave you to picture that!) and then realise that it’s gone strangely quiet. As an instructor or guide you are constantly aware of the noises other guests make, their breathing alone creates quite a loud sound when they are close. So this sudden lack of noise concerns me, maybe my guests have all disappeared…..how long was I looking at the anemone?? Could they all have been swept with the current that quickly? I spin around and spot them all, motionless and hovering (someone taught them well!) and notice they are all looking in the same direction, out into the blue. As I gather them back and carry on the dive, I try to figure out what they were doing, but give up after a while. Divers routinely act strangely underwater, so I just write it off. As we finish the safety stop and ascend, BCDs are inflated and regs are out as soon as possible. Big grins tell me I have missed something, confirmed when they all start talking about the shark that came over my head, past them and then swam out into the blue. Used to this trick once guests know about my ‘unluckiness’ where these creatures are concerned, I get back on the boat and prepare for the next dive. It’s only as I’m drinking my coffee sorting out paperwork that one of my guests comes down and regales my colleagues with the shark story. I’m just about to tell him to cut it out, that we’ve heard it all before when he whips out his secret weapon (hang on…) his camera!
I watch the footage clearly showing me, head down and staring intently at what appears to be nothing (it was really fascinating, honest) while a large white tip reef shark swims over my head, eyes up my group and then disappears into the blue.
Gutted. The jinx remains. But for once the guests are happy they dived with me!