The shark that got away!

Location: Malapascua, The Philippines ( Thresher Shark Divers )

Dive Site: Monad Shoal

Max Depth: 22 m

Temp: 27 ºC

Visibility: 10 m

Date: 27 Oct 2006

Time: 6:30 am

5 dives in the past 2 days at this same site and still without a single sighting of what we were here for made us desperate. I murmured a short prayer to all the gods I know and took my plunge into the water. Cold water woke me up and we reached the bottom within 3 minutes. While descending, 3 divers in my group mimicked a group skydive free fall formation. Well after all, they had nothing better to do in the last 5 dives here. “Might as well play a bit”.

We arrived at the first cleaning station; the group that jumped in earlier was just about to leave. The DM signaled that one thresher had just left. Damn it! We took over their position. I felt like a sentry taking over a checkpoint. And all we saw was blue. Nothing. We moved to the next cleaning station; patience was on thin ice now.

Suddenly one diver at the front starting waving us over; we went 100% alert. All eyes scanned into the deep and far hoping to see a dark shadow. Instead he waved to us frantically over to his position and pointed at a small coral head.

I then realized that he was showing us a stonefish! My mind toyed with these choices at that very moment:

1) Remove my fin and whack him on this head

2) Take out my dive knife and cut his hose

3) Take out my dive knife and cut him

Man! Here we are waiting to see a thresher and he was asking us to see a bloody stonefish! I really admired his courage. What the rest of the group and me did to him after the dive I shall not reveal.

We were fast approaching decompression limits and so had no choice but to end our dive.

While on the boat, we learned that another group which took over our position 2 minutes after we left sighted a thresher. Damn it again!

Ces’t la vie. And that’s diving too. Sometimes you see it, sometimes you don’t. But for us, it was all 6 times “don’t”. Sigh… at least we live to dive another day.

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