Jack wants me to write about our dive the other day. I’m a little embarrassed to say I cant really remember it. A lot of things have happened since.
What I mostly recall is Jack looking lost. That still makes me laugh. It is never easy to navigate underwater. First, you’ve lost the obvious position of the sun to use as a reference. Second, the landscape of rows and rows of coral make things look so similar. It’s not like there are street signs or a glass-fronted building where you remember you turned left.
The internal conversation usually goes: ‘Hold on – I only just went to check out that sea fan. How come we’re three sea fans over now?’
I’m notoriously bad at underwater navigation. The ‘where’s the boat?’ signal usually makes me nervous. I thought you knew. Currents always catch me by surprise as well. Makes the three sea fans go past real fast.
So you can imagine my pleasure when it’s Jack who’s the one lost. He wont admit it of course, but I can tell. He keeps looking at his compass. It hangs from his BCD jacket. Jack keeps getting it out. Plus he’s not really looking at anything else. Turns out a person looks lost in the same way above water as they do under it.
I’m giggling to myself… because I’m not lost. Well, I am lost but it isn’t stressing me out. I’m always lost. And I’m not that lost. I have a vague idea Quest is up the coral hill we’ve been visiting so many times now. And even if we are lost, this is turning into the most familiar coral reef I know. Sea fans. Big sponge vases. Friendly hawksbill turtle. Fricking hawksbill turtle!
It’s the same turtle which comes so close to your face, you get slightly worried it’s going to bite your nose off. Hawksbills have much pointier beaks than green turtles.
I could touch it – but I don’t. After counting my pores, the turtle moves away into the deep. We are too lost to follow it. And we arent really here for the turtles. There’s a dead fish in Jack’s jacket. This means one thing. The eels.
We’ve got to get to them first. It took some time in the end. We went round the anchorage via the scenic route – before we finally spotted the shot line hanging from the back of Quest.
Even then the eels were hiding. As we travelled over the reefs, no eels came to see us. Oh well. We’d already dived most of the reef blind. This made sense too.
I looked round. Jack’s compass still hung from his jacket but just below, about to envelop it in its mouth, was one of Jack’s eels. It had swum up a few good feet and was about to give Jack a special hug. An eel hug. Hands over eyes. Being lost had been good.