Today has been unquestionably one of the best days yet. It started after a divine sleep here in Moorea. On waking up, the table was laid with plates of fresh pineapple, orange, grapefruit, rhubarb, and a special French almond tart served at Christmas time. After breakfast, it was decided that, because I had never been scuba diving before, it was about time I tried. Being a true amateur, it seemed only logical that my first dive should be 12 meters deep, and with sharks. My initial reaction was: "Um, no." Then I changed my mind and decided that, yes, I could handle it.
We went in the dinghy to the outer edge of the reef protecting Opinahu Bay and as I sat there getting debriefed, four black-tip sharks swam around us, curiously investigating the bottom of our white boat; I wondered if I'd lost my mind. Mickey, however, seemed unfazed. He told me to spit in my mask, then showed me how to let the air out of my vest for the descent, how to equalize my ears along the way, how to read and communicate if my oxygen was low, how to signal up, down, and okay. Before I could let panic get to me (what was it he said about coming up slowly? Something about aneurism?), I was in the water with a tank strapped on my back sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Once I got there, I was astonishingly comfortable and had no problems with breath or control.
The sharks swam at a reasonable distance while individual clown fish came up close enough to kiss. I saw a black eel hiding in coral, schools of brilliant little fish I couldn't name as well as some enormous ones that I wouldn't have tried to. The sharks we swam with were black tips just under 6' long. Just at the end of the dive, though, I encountered a yellow shark. It had a thick, muscular body, was about 9' long, and was truly mesmerizing.
At that point, we were out of air and had to make for the surface.
When we got back to the main boat, I managed to take a graceful dive and miss the water, landing both of my shins squarely on the edge of a lower deck before flopping in the water like a caught and released fish. So now I have two black beauty marks on my lower legs, which delights me as it's in keeping with my 'one Darwinian wound per trip' quota, last year's being the mark of an unfriendly head of coral on my upper thigh received after I threw myself from a jet ski.
Now it is time for dinner. I don't know where we are going or what we are doing, but that's the norm for me this side of the equator.