"" Writer's Wanderings: Shark! Up Close And Just Personal Enough

Monday, July 03, 2017

Shark! Up Close And Just Personal Enough

The first day of a dive trip is always a little anxiety producing. Getting on the dive boat and getting your gear set up for the first time in a year all while you are still acclimating to heat and humidity is tiring. Then comes that first jump in the water, equalizing the pressure in your ears and checking to be sure that the equipment you just had serviced is all in working order before you get too far from the boat. It takes a few moments but then you begin to relax, find your buoyancy in the water and begin your exploration.

So we began the first dive of our trip at Lighthouse Wall. One of the things we like so much about diving the East End of Grand Cayman is the reef wall that extends all along the coast. It makes navigation easy. Jump in. Head for the top of the wall. Drop down to 60-80 feet. Follow the wall in one direction for about 15 minutes and come up on top of the wall and turn back to the boat for the rest of your dive.

We followed the routine and had planned on turning left at the wall's edge but when we saw a whole group of divers already there, we decided to go right. Our decision brought us around a pinnacle jutting out into the deep and practically face to face with a Caribbean grey shark. I think it was a female since she looked pretty big. Normally the shark will turn and swim the other way but she was about 20 below us and just kept lazily swimming below us along the wall. We turned (the boys had their cameras going) and followed a bit. It didn't seem to bother her at all. In the past the shark usually flicks its tail and takes off for the deep. This one seemed to enjoy being photographed.

Not wanting to aggravate her, we turned and continued along the wall being thankful that we'd had this extraordinary encounter. She wasn't done with all the divers though. As we waited at our rest stop before exiting the water to the boat, she did a loop below us allowing anyone who hadn't seen her the first time to get a good look. Then she disappeared into the deep.

Needless to say since we are diving with our nearly sixteen year old grandson, his day was made and we still had another dive to do before the morning would be over. Some eels and lots of fish as well as huge sea fans and sponges were wonderful to see but the shark--well, wasn't it just shark week on TV? This was better.

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