Susan A Eames

Cup of hot sweet Rooibos Tea

The cage looks puny.
     “You’ve got to be kidding,” I say.
     “It’s OK, they never attack the cage,” says Frankie.
     “Never?”
     “They’re not interested in canned diver.”
     The little boat smacks into the trough of every oncoming wave while we manoeuvre into position halfway between the mainland and Dyer Island in what is nicknamed, Shark Alley.
     Frankie cuts the engine but we continue to buck and bounce in sea-sickening lurches.
     The boys get busy chumming the water with putrefying fish. Frankie tosses in a tuna head attached to a buoyed line.
     They lower the cage into the water while I wriggle into my thick wetsuit.
     Within minutes an immense shadowy figure begins to circle the boat.
     Once, twice. On its third circuit, the shark lunges for the bait which Frankie twitches aside to encourage it to stay and fight for its meal. Instead the animal spooks and vanishes.
     Another Great White torpedoes in. Three metres of menace just off our stern churns the water into foam as it grabs and tries to detach the tuna from the line. The shark gives up and zig-zags away.
     The top of the cage rides above the waterline. ‘Get in,’ says Frankie.
     I hesitate.
     “What are you waiting for? C’mon!”
     I plop into the bobbing cage. Icy cold waves slap the back of my head.
     We wait.
     Before long another Great White rockets in.
     “Dive down!” yells Frankie.
     I gulp a breath and sink underwater. Stunning silence. Unthinking, I hook my toes through one of the cage bars for balance. Eyes wide behind my mask, I look around. Where?
     Then the sun pierces the gloom. Backlit in a dazzling illumination, the shimmering shark slices, skims and skews towards me.

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     With a spurt of alarm, I yank my toes back inside the cage.
     Up above Frankie jerks the tuna head and the shark slews past the cage like it’s attached to the line.
     And it’s so stupendously, unexpectedly beautiful, I am without fear.


About the Author

Susan A. Eames left England over twenty five years ago to explore the world and dive its oceans. She has had travel articles and short fiction published on three continents. After several fascinating years living in Fiji she has relocated to West Cork in Ireland.

Published April 16 2015