The Cuttlefish

I spotted a Cuttlefish while my wife and I were on a buddy dive in the Barrier Reef of Australia, during our honeymoon there in 1996. As we swept the absolutely stunning reef, I spotted what looked a lot like a rock moving across the reef - it kind of translated very smoothly for two or three feet - about 10ft in front of me. By its smooth, graceful motion, I judged that it couldn't have been a tumbling rock or a broken-off section of reef (especially since this particular stretch of reef was very level). At first I suspected that the movement might be a camouflaging octopus, though at such a shallow depth it was unlikely.

My heart rate rapid, I made to swim up to the object for a closer look and felt my wife tug on my arm. I turned to face her and she motioned at her rebreather, indicating that it was time for her to surface. Keen on getting a closer look at the Cuttlefish and yet unready to surface, I shook my head 'No' and swerved back in the direction of the Cuttlefish. In mid rotation, however, I spotted a much clearer motion at six o'clock. About 30 feet away, a huge body was gliding through the sapphire waters.

God damn, it was a Northern River shark. I ***** you not. And it soon became apparent that it was circling us. Frozen in panic, my mind raced to procure a plan of action. The seconds crept by. And that's when it struck me, exactly what I needed to do; slowly, cautiously, my eyes following the giant shark, I raised my right arm to my rebreather, removed it, and inserted the thumb and index finger of my other hand into my mouth. I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said 'fresh' and it had a dice in the mirror. If anything I can say that this cab was rare, but I thought, Nah, forget it. 'Yo holmes, to Bel Air.'


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