It was late 2007, and I had decided to ask my girlfriend of three years to marry me. I chose my favourite spearfishing spot, on the cliffs at
Willunga, as the spot to ask the special question.
"Do you want to go for a drive down south tomorrow?", I asked her. "I wouldn't mind going for a dive".
"OK", she said. "It's supposed to be a nice day tomorrow".
We get up early and I start loading up my ute with my dive gear. My mind is focused on the ring in my pocket. I keep checking that it's still there,
while trying not to look suspicious. We leave, and around an hour or so, arrive at Willunga.
"This is my favourite spearing site", I tell her. "It's beautiful, I want you to see it".
We walk over to the top of the cliff, and I show her the ocean below. The sea is relatively calm, and the distinctive smell of the sea fills the air.
"So this is where my fish come from?", she jokingly asks. "Most of 'em", I reply with a grin. "So are you going in?".
"Well, I've forgotton my gun. I only have my scuba gear, and I 'aint carrying that tank down there and back up again."
"To be honest, that's not why I brought you here".
I get down on one knee and reach into my pocket. Her eyes light up as she clues on to what I'm doing. "Will you marry me?".
Speechless at first, she starts nodding her head. "Yes, of course I will". I place the ring on her finger and then she hugs me tightly. I look down to
the sea and think to myself, "it's ok fishes, I'm not going to take any of you today"
We continue driving down the coast and arrive at Rapid Bay. We get out of the car and walk over to the beach. "So are you going to go in?", she asks.
"Well, I never really intended to. I just needed an excuse to come down here. I't does look nice though".
She looks at me with a big smile. "Go on, I'll be fine here. I've got a magazine to read".
Although diving solo is frowned upon by a lot of divers, it was something I regularly did. The only diving buddy I had was my lifelong friend Hammer,
who was overseas more often than not working as a commercial diver. The odds of him being in the country, and having a free day while the weather was
good, were slim to say the least. Unlike other divers, I didn't do it to socialize, I did it to escape and free my mind. That's one of the beautiful
things about diving - you never think about the surface world while you're under.
I check my equipment and get into my gear and wade into the sea. After swimming out around fifty metres, I descend to the seabed.
"Not too bad vis, but could be better"
, I think to myself as I swim further out. The visability is around eight metres, and I use my compass to
head north to deeper water. After a few minutes, I notice a nice scallop and put it in my bag. As I look around, I discover that there are heaps of
them. "Beauty! I'll cook her up a nice dinner too"
, I think to myself.
Head down as I collect scallops, I lost track of time. I eventually look in my bag and see I've got plenty - more then we will surely eat. I check my
air. "WHOA! 40 bar!"
. As I look around, I notice the visability has decreased significantly. I can barely see four metres. Criticizing myself
for not regularly checking my air, I decide to ascend and snorkel it back to shore.
The seabed was around 10.5 metres and by the time I'm at seven metres, I can barely see it. I get to five metres and I look up and down - I can't see
either the seabed or the surface. No matter what direction I look, I just see nothing. A little voice inside me says, "spooky, isn't it?"
reassure myself that I've done this many times before, the only difference being it was clearer. By the time I get to three metres, I can see the
ripples on the surface and the beautiful sensation of light becomes brighter. Two metres, one metre...
My head breaks the surface and I remove the mouthpiece and inflate my BCD. I'm about one hundred metres past the end of the jetty. "Great"
think to myself, "a six hundred metre snorkel with all this heavy crap".
A current starts slowly turning me clockwise, and I use my arms to counter it. "Bugger off, I want to go THAT way", I say aloud, starting to get
annoyed already with the surface world. I put the snorkel in my mouth, put my head down in the water and start swimming with my left arm in front of
me so I can see the compass.
Suddenly, in the haze in front of me, I see a large shadow moving from my left to my right. A cylinder shape that appears to be around two metres
under the surface. As it gets to it's closest point, my eyes uncontrollably lock onto the only part that has any definition. A huge
fin! A single word fills my mind:
There is only one thing in South Australian waters that has a pectoral fin like that. White Pointer!
"They told me eight metres!"
, my frozen mind tells me as it disappears into the haze, thinking of the electronic Shark Shield I had attatched
to my leg. "That seemed closer than that!"
, my logic tells me as that little voice replies, "maybe it was eight metres? Imagine how BIG it
I look down at my leg and see the green light flashing on the unit. I grab the antenna. ZAP!
With that tiny reassurance, I gain the courage to look around and beneath me. Nothing but haze. I can now feel my heart in my chest, pounding rapidly.
I want to look above the surface for a dorsal fin, but I dare not take my eyes above the surface. As panic starts to creep in, I draw my knife.
, my logical side reassures me. "It was circling you. That means it was just curious. They don't circle tuna and seals, do
I force myself to raise my head out of the water and look around me. No fin.
My eyes hit the shoreline and I see a tiny figure waving to me. My fiancee. "Please God, not today! Not here on the surface while she's
. I give a tiny wave and put my head under and start swimming to shore, watching my compass and concentrating on using slow, smooth
After what seems like an eternity, the colour beneath me starts to change as the seabed becomes visible. I keep swimming and eventually I can clearly
see rocks and shells. I keep swimming until I am certain my feet can touch the ground. I take my fins off and stand up.
As I walk towards my smiling fiancee, I start smiling myself. A smile of relief. Her eyes drop down and she says, "why have you got your knife in your
"I thought I saw an abalone back there, but it was just a rock", I lied.
"But I got heaps of scallops..."
edit on 23/12/11 by NuclearPaul because: (no reason given)
edit on 23/12/11 by masqua because:
Edited censor circumvention