In 1995 my mother decided to learn to scuba dive and being 15 I decided to invite myself along.
Our PADI Open Water course took place at Simply Scuba in Umkomaas, South Africa. I remember very little of the actual course. This is what I remember:
I was the youngest of 8 and the best swimmer as I was at the height of my swimming years and regularly swimming internationally.
The only dive I remember on that trip in any detail was my first open water dive of 16 m on Aliwal Shoal. We went down slowly as you do making sure everyone is ok. We landed – intentionally – on a sandy patch in 10 – 15m visibility so we could do skills. I landed and my 6 kg weight belt shifted on my boyish frame and began sliding down my hips. I started trying to get it resettled when my instructor came over to help, I sucked in a breath and looked up.
Silhouetted in mid-water a hammer school of about 20 hammerhead sharks gliding stealthily through the water about 10 m from us. Needless to say, I forgot about my weight belt issues and grabbed the instructor by the shoulders and turned him and pointed furiously.
I remember being back on the boat and at the beach, all my group could talk about was those sharks. Needless to say that 19 years later I still tell this story in wonderment and in amazement.