Accompanying a group of students, we paddled kayaks up the Western Australian coastline, sleeping on the beaches and snorkeling about the local reefs. My pathological fear of sharks did not make this an ideal part of the trip for me and I borrowed a wet suit to wear in the vain hope that if a tiger shark did decide that I was an ideal main course that at least I would have been slightly more “chewy”. Unfortunately the wet suit was several sizes too small and I had to paddle in a horizontal position as I could not sit up and finished with horrific chafing to my underarms.
Paddling out to a ‘bommie’ seemingly miles from shore and possibly where we had seen huge whales flinging themselves out of the water only the day before, we grouped the boats and the students leapt in and swam about over the reef. I bravely volunteered to mind the boats. A turtle or two loomed by but no shark.
The students returned to their boats and we started the return to shore. (Cue “Jaws” theme music here)
I remained hyper-vigilant and to my horror my neuroticism was rewarded as I saw a large reef shark glide past my very boat and towards the students.
At that moment, two fools managed for no apparent reason to capsize the practically uncapsizeable kayak and fall straight into the water where they flailed about laughing and screaming while I screamed out unheeded that there was a shark. Fortunately the shark appeared to have no desire to suffer fools gladly and took off in the opposite direction while the bedraggled idiots returned to their waterlogged craft. I would have clutched at my heart if I could have bent my arms.
At least the boats looked good on the beach.
Further tales of horror can be found by clicking on the names below…
My Blue Ringed Octopus Encounter