Picture a perfect day in paradise! Our yacht Endless Summer anchored off a remote island in Micronesia, crystal clear water so clear you could see the anchor tightly tucked away in the sand.
The weather balmy, blue near cloudless sky with little wind ...but things were about to change.
Another yacht motored over to Ian and I and invited us for a snorkel on the reef.
Always keen to see what lies beneath us it took only a minute to collect our gear.
At the last minute I picked up my trusty old hand spear with four rusty blunt prongs just in case. Somehow holding it in my hand under water gave me a sense of protection.
The colours of the coral took my breath away, we swam amongst deep blue/purple star fish, octopus, shells and hundreds of different varieties of fish and yes in the distance sharks... lots of them!
It was all very exciting ... this is living. After about half an hour of exploring the reef I decided to leave the others two and swim to shore to catch up with another yachty, Shane.
Off I swam enjoying every minute and then half way to the shore and half way from the rubber duck, there it was, to the left my biggest nightmare, a 7 ½ foot shark...
My heart stopped, time stood still, a shark attack I screamed inside, trying to process what was happening and what to do.
I checked my position I was caught in no mans land, my first thought was to swim towards the land but I knew I didn’t stand a chance.
I knew not to panic my only option was to swim towards the shark hopefully of scaring it off. I watched his every move and he watched mine, our eyes fixed on each other. He came closer, stopped then swam towards Ian and Tina.
They jumped into the
rubber duck for safety and I knew I was in trouble when the shark turned round
and swam straight at me.
At this minute I heard a voice speak, “O.K. Jo, this is it, this is the moment you have feared all your life, you must not panic. You have no choice but to swim towards the shark and scare it away.”
I took a deep breath, found the courage deep inside me, prayed, and swam towards the shark. He didn’t change course but swam closer and closer... I was being tested but was I brave enough to pass the test?
I had no choice I had to hit him as hard as I could on the nose... One, two, three ... Contact! He shook his huge head and swam away. I’m still alive!
I surfaced, took a
deep breath and sang out ...”shark ...shark attack!”
Then I saw him turn back towards me for another attack. I swam backwards keeping my eyes on his every move; I was in full control my survival instincts had kicked in. I felt a strength I didn’t know I had, a power that lays dormant in all of us.
He came at me again this time I stabbed him harder and fiercer, once more he turned away his tail swishing furiously, his back arched, he was determined to win.
He didn’t swim far away before he turned again for the third attack.
At that minute Shane arrived in his dinghy and I leapt to safety ... I had survived... a shark attack ...
Shane took one look at the shark and nearly fainted at the size, it was bigger than the dinghy. It swam angrily around the boat looking for its prey.
We all went ashore to calm down; all high on excitement and adventure, all talking at once not believing what had just happened.
My heart beating a thousand beats per second, I felt different, I felt detached from my body ...I was in shock.
We walked along the soft white sand and after a short distance we came across it, a sign of how life can change in an instant. There it was a dream come true, lying in full view of us all to see, the sun bleached bones of a huge whale.
Wow! What a find, and what another perfect day in paradise.
Jo survived a shark attack, another adventurous woman sailor with stories to spellbind!