Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Eye to eye with a Barracuda

It was mid morning on a warm sultry day on Grand Bahama Island.  From a near cloudless blue sky the sun reflected across the water like a million crystals.  William and Tommie strolled down the sandy shore discussing the day's plan after having just landed an hour earlier in their twin-engine plane.  They both had decided snorkeling would be fun, and turned for the hotel to gather their gear.

William rented a small motor boat and took them a couple miles out.  The water was eight to ten feet deep and you could see clear to the bottom.  After anchoring the small craft, they both put on their fins, snorkel and mask and fell backwards into the water.

Tommie hunted for sand dollars along the ocean floor while William searched for star fish.  They caught a few and then headed for a different location.  After another hour they stopped in a beautifully clear area and prepared for the dive.  William had spotted the largest starfish he'd seen all day, while Tommie swam around the boat.  Sand dollars were a little harder to spot against the light colored sand. Then there it was, the hugest, most beautiful sand dollar she had seen all day.

Taking a deep breath, Tommie dove straight for it.  Halfway down, she got the strangest feeling something or someone was watching her--the kind of hair standing on your neck, chills down your spine kind of feeling.  She stopped midway down and turned to glance over her shoulder.

Approximately ten to twelve feet away was a huge fish.  He turned his whole body and watched her with one eye showing his sharp teeth as though he were smiling.  Then turned and stared with his other eye, remaining stationary.  Tommie swam to the surface and called for her husband to look, and tell her what type of fish that was, and why wasn't he moving.

Once William finally heard her, he swam around the front of the boat, cleared his mask and looked past Tommie.

"Tommie, swim to me and do not panic," he yelled as she was about twenty yards from the boat.

All he needed to say was 'don't panic,' and she promptly swam towards William, stopping briefly to look back over her shoulder, only to find the huge six foot fish keeping pace with her.  When she stopped, he stopped.  She swam to the side of the boat, and without any ladder had difficulty pulling herself inside.  William came up under her and pushed her up.  Then, she turned and helped pull him aboard, all the while laughing because of her weakness to climb the side.

Once he settled in, he said, "It's not very funny, because the fish is a Barracuda, and they have been known to attack people with a ferocious bite."

Tommie shuddered and glanced over the side of the boat and there the barracuda idled.

"Whew, that was a close one," he said.  He pulled the rope, and the motor roared to life as they sought another location, both sad that they had missed out on the best sand dollar and starfish they'd seen all day.

Tommie was glad she paid attention to her gut feeling to stop, look, and listen.  She could have been fish bait that day.  She knew she would never forget how she came eye to eye with a Barracuda.

BTW, this is a true story.  The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

1 comment:

AWritersTale said...

I bet that was a scary moment for "Tommie" and "William". I most certainly would have been wary of it.