expression hasn't changed at all during this episode, rows me back to the boat.
Sydney, I perceive, is discreet. I decide I won't mention my little flap to
Our last day of
diving. We anchor off the Southwest Reefs again. Weather reasonably sunny, wind
way down. Coles and I go down to 60 feet intending to follow Art and Don's
spearfishing action from the grouper's point of view. But the surge is still
powerful, and the crud so dark and heavy we seem to be swimming in a railroad
tunnel. I completely lose sight of the shadow of the ship's keel. I have
trouble again clearing my mask. We surface to meet Don Seiler swimming toward
us hard. He says, "Eight-foot shark 200 yards out. Came up from the bottom
We say, "Can
we get a look at him?"
"Fine finale for a scuba story. Make it dramatic."
stroking to the boat, "I had to give him one, ping, with my spear. He's
No shark story
this morning. Maybe the afternoon will bring one.
anchor in 35 feet near reefs that almost break the surface. Coles and Dave want
to make one last effort to get a few daylight pictures of reef fishes. Louisa
and I go down in our lungs. Art and Don take turns at spearing fish and
patrolling over us.
I take away after
a passing rose-and-silver ruby-eyed squirrelfish who has flicked an impudent
fin at me. He flits to a deep crevice. I peer in and see his golden tail
sticking out. I know the game now, and I'm willing to play it. You reach in the
hole and grab—he goes out by a convenient back entrance. I plunge my arm into
the hole, up to the elbow. Ha! This hole has no back entrance. Smarty-fins is
trapped there. I try to fold my hand over his back. He anchors his sharp little
sailfish-like dorsal fin into the coral. I pull at his tail. Too slippery. I
grab him around the belly and tug. He holds firm. I am amazed so small a thing
has such strength to hold on. Now Coles and Dave come down. I motion I've got
something. I do not know they are frightened, thinking something has got me. I
pass my hand sharply under the belly of the fish, over his mouth, down his
back, dislodging his anchoring dorsal fin. As I pull him out I feel my skin and
his scales scrape against the sides of the hole. I swim away clutching him.
With my hands I have caught a swimming fish. What next, my girl? Shall I catch
a thrush on a bough, an owlet in its hollow for Dave?
I swim about
eying the squirrel-fish, first triumphantly, then curiously, then tenderly. How
pitifully captive he looks in my hand! I open my hand flat. He makes a
tentative wriggle, slides off my palm. All cockiness gone, he swims slowly—and
I like to think, thoughtfully—away.