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Date: 02 Jul 2012 00:55:18
Title: Shit scared

El Capitan speaking,

It's been a while since I was last able to put nib to scroll.

Life in Tuomotus was just as I expected. Fun passes to navigate, big lagoons full of fish and a shit load of sharks. More than I could possibly have imagined. Every snorkel or dive bar none, we've seen at least a few sharks. Today in Fakarava north pass nearer 30, drifting aimlessly overhead. But it took a bit of self control to get back into the water with bigger sharks again. Let me recount....

We were drift diving the east Tahanea pass in about 8-10m of water. On the 3rd drift in with the evening light fading, I also had my spear gun with me. I'd had a number of misses recently, so was quite happy to have bagged myself a "Rock Cod", (spotted grouper fish). Within about 5s, a large Barracuda appears on the scene and a few sharks. No longer aimlessly drifting but swimming fast. I think they can detect the speared fishes attempts at getting away. With 3 sharks circling, I think, to myself, that it would be quite amusing if the sharks went for the bait and stole my fish dangling on the end of a 3m line at the end of the spear gun. However not very long after this, they start swimming at me, straight for my head. The usual inquisitive shark, either swims around you at a 4m radius or slowly swims at you and then ducks away, when at 2m or so. However this time, 5-6 sharks were coming in fast and then ducking away. As I started to back off always keeping my fins between the mouth and me, my heart was properly pounding. I think that they detect shit-scared and this is what makes them aggressive. I backed away and away, with 6-odd sharks coming at me one by one until I'd reached the shallows and could stand in 1 foot of water.

Then as I was standing there relieved, a bloody 4 foot shark swims to within a foot of me! At this point, I point-blank refuse to get back in the water, whilst 4-5 sharks are patrolling the shallows in front of me, where they stay for the next 10 minutes.

Now each time I see a shark, my heart starts unwillingly beating a bit harder and I swear that I'm now a shark magnet.

I've since learnt that the local spear fishers reckon to have about 10s between catching the fish and getting back in their dinghy before the sharks take the speared fish. I don't think I'll be spear fishing passes at dusk again away from the dinghy.

Anyway, tomorrow we're off to the famous South Fakarava Pass, where we expect to see 200+ sharks all hanging out (and apparently 1,000,000 groupers spawning. Only happens one day a year). Awesome.

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