Nath touching the Zebra shark

Day 343: 9 Mile

Sunday, 11 May 2014

Mother’s Day! Bacon and eggs were cooked for me for breakfast this morning, and I received the most beautiful driftwood mobile hand made by my family. We had a chat with Jen and Pete on the way to the boat and left shore around 11am.

Within a few hundred metres Hendrix stopped a Dugong cruising along. He was moving too quick to get in with so we left him to continue on his way. A couple hundred metres later and Nath spotted a big Tiger Shark and then not far after him I spotted a big turtle. So much life in such a small space.

We then crossed the channel and almost immediately saw an eagle ray. At first we thought it may have been a Manta, but upon closer inspection, we saw in was an eagle. Nath jumped in with it and struggled to keep up. Only when he rode the swell was he able to get close to it. When he got back in the boat we cast lures at it as he had seen a cobia swimming with it. Nath managed to hook a small cobia, but it wasn’t legal so it was returned. After that we found 3 bull rays swimming together close to the bottom. Nath got in with them and before he had even reached them, promptly turned around and headed back to the boat. I instantly asked what was wrong. This is stupid was the reply I got as he had 5 Cobia swim towards him and thought it better to throw a lure at them. So we both started casting. I hooked one, but the bugger got off. Nath had one follow the lure but not take it. That was the end of that.

We then headed over towards the coral of the reef. On the way we spotted on the surface a bright yellow shark. At first we thought a Leopard shark, but as it turns out, it was a Zebra shark. It swam down to the bottom, so we left it alone and continued to the reef.

We trolled over the coral for a while, but it got too shallow and we kept getting snagged. We decided it best to not lose a lure and headed for deeper water. We were on our way to a bombie that Darrell had given us co-ordinates for when we saw 2 Zebra sharks together on the surface. I GoPro’d them from the boat but it was a bit too choppy for me to keep it in the water. One was biting onto the tail of the other one, in what we believe to be a mating act. Nath figured they were pre-occupied, and given that we were only in about 2 metres of water, got in with them for a snorkel. After a bit, Hendrix decided he too wanted to get in with them. I was still dubious, and El was happy to stay with me in the boat. The next thing I know, Mr Touchy Feely had touched the tail of the rear one, followed by his side kick. At this point both boys had been in with the sharks for ages, and the sharks were still happily doing their thing on the bottom. I decided that I too wanted to get in and swim with them. Elokin willing followed me, not to be out-done by her Ma. Nath gave me the GoPro to capture him touch it again, as he was unsure if Hendrix had done a good enough job. After he did it, I said I wouldn’t touch it, but I would dive down and swim alongside them. Well, as soon as I dived down, I have no idea what possessed me, but I instantly touched its tail and then swim up them to get a good view. As I came up for a breath I looked back and saw that Elokin had followed me down and touched its tail too. Nath hadn’t realised she was doing it, so we thought he hadn’t caught it on video, so of course, we made her do it again! When we had all finished touching them, and incidentally they feel like sand paper, we hung back to watch them. At this point the female had either had enough or they had finished their mating act, but for whatever reason, she managed to slip out of his mouth and start to swim away. First she had to deal with the remorer that was suctioned onto her head so she hit the ground to grind him off. While this is going on, the male is still trying to find her again as he obviously wasn’t finished and wanted to suck/bite on her tail some more. She headed straight for us and circled away with him hot on her tail. By now we are huddled together with the kids in the middle of us trying to stay out of the way. In the confusion, and with their terrible eyesight, the male bumped into Nath’s leg and then chased my flippers thinking I was the female. My brain was telling me feet to stop flippering as I knew he was wanting to latch on, but my feet were replying with faster movements to shoo it away. This wasn’t working for me, so I added some vocals screaming: ARRRGHHHHH!!!!!! through my snorkel at it. This must have done the trick as it left me alone and started to head away. I grabbed Elokin’s arm and kicked with all my might to get us back to the boat, only to be stopped by the damn shark circling back around again. We huddled again and when it took off for the second time, before Nath could even say “back to the boat” I had already grabbed Elokin’s arm and was off again. We made our speedy exit into the boat. Nath and Hendrix had waited to make sure that it was gone for good and then followed us to the boat. Nath said afterwards that Zebra sharks have downward pointing mouths like the Tawny Nurse shark, so he would have a hard time taking a good bite out of us. So really I hadn’t needed to freak out like I had. I advised him that he could have told me that sooner and I probably wouldn’t have freaked as much as I did. All in all, it was great fun and a terrific story to tell. Even though we were only 20 or so metres away from the boat, this situation drives home how vulnerable we are in the water if something was to attempt to eat us, i.e. White pointer.

After our excitement, and we were all pumped, we made our way to the bombie. We cast on it, and although we could see the fish, nothing took a bite. We then called it a day, and headed home after 3pm to watch our movies. We then ate an early dinner and headed to Tonia and Darrell’s camp to share our movies and experience from today. While we were chatting and watching we discovered a rather interesting fact. It started with: Nath is a Leo. Tonia is a Leo….. I am a Scorpio. Darrell is also a Scorpio. No way, this is amazing….. Nath’s birthday is 8 August. Tonia’s birthday is 7 August! I then asked the question. “When is your birthday Darrell”. Out he comes with: Halloween. NO WAY!!!! I am All Saints Day. (For those that don’t know, Halloween is October 31 and All Saints is 1 November). So that means that Tonia and Darrell’s birthdays are both the day before Nath and mine! How freaky is that!!!!

We headed home after 8pm and I made pikelets as we were all hungry by then.

Until next time…. Happy and Safe Travels.

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