So the scan results were good in that its not the cancer landing on a major organ in the little roulette game it’s playing in my lymph system. Whatever the tummy and back pain is can be halted by various pills. Next PET scan is due in February so until then I’m going to focus on family, friends and that warm fuzzy feeling that you get around this time of year …. as you say “Well I shouldn’t but maybe one more glass of fizz seeing as you’re offering” to the lovely BA staff on the flight to Grand Cayman.
It got me thinking about travel and love and I wanted to tell you constant reader about my very own brief encounter with a handsome athletic South African called Kevin. Sadly our relationship could never be but I often think back to when our eyes met all those years ago.
It was the early 00’s and my ex and I had gone on holiday to South Africa. We hired a car and drove from Cape Town to Arniston and then back through the wine country. We always had good holidays; one of my very best friendships started out in a crowded hotel bar in St Lucia when a glamorous blonde asked if she and her husband could sit at our table. A few days later we were sitting on the beach downing cocktails, while the boys played golf, watching the speedboat pulling around a big rubber ring at high speed as two occupants squealed and whooped their way round the bay.
“That looks like fun.” said the glamorous blonde I had come to know as Beverly.
“Hmmm” I replied in a vague manner brought on by several daiquiris and a feeling of well being.
“Come on then.”
That’s pretty much been our relationship ever since. She’ll spot a way which, while scary, will eventually lead to a huge happy smile from me and say “come on then”. Sometimes it doesn’t even take a cocktail.
Anyway, back to Arniston and a phone call I was making. The ex wasn’t terribly sure about this excursion but I’d always wanted to do this since I read about it. I’d researched the company that did it in the most humane way and they had spaces the next day. I replaced the receiver triumphantly, “Nick, we’re going shark cage diving.”
After an early start the next morning, lunchtime found us and several others gloomily eating cheese rolls in cold drizzle on a small, and now I thought about it, quite fragile looking boat. The excited anticipation at the safety lecture a few hours before had turned into the miserable anticipation of the captain saying “the weather is turning worse, sorry guys but we did say we couldn’t guarantee we’ll see a Great White today.” at any moment. And yet …. in a promise I hadn’t shared with anyone else I simply knew I would see a Great White shark that day … and I knew also that his name would be …. Kevin. OK it’s not the most African name and he probably had business cards embossed with “Mr G White, Seal Chomper” but stay with me here.
Just when all hope had gone and we could tell the crew were getting pretty sick of slapping the seal shaped float on the choppy water we saw a fin. She was “a pretty little thing” according to our Captain. She had pink colouring and was about six feet long and she flirted with us for a few moments and then disappeared before any of us had time to get into the cage. Then it was a bit like Close Encounters. Remember when they actually see a UFO and everyone is euphoric but then the mothership appears and everyone’s jaw drops even further? A much larger fin seamlessly broke through the water and there was my boy. Twelve feet of perfect killing machine, unchanged since prehistoric times because it doesn’t need to, the Great White shark of my dreams – Kevin. (Stop snorting with laughter at the back.)
We all took turns to jump into the cage. The idea was you dunked yourself down under the water WITHOUT using the bars to steady yourself. I cannot stress how important that is when you have those teeth on the other side of those bars. When it was my turn I fannied about so much trying to manoever an elegant way of getting from boat to cage that the rather bulky captain finally scooped me up in one hand and dunked me like a rather weedy biscuit into a cup of Redbush tea. Once I’d stopped being alarmed at a burly hand holding my head under water I opened my eyes. There on the other side of the bars a huge dark pair of eyes met my gaze. He wasn’t angry, he wasn’t murderous, he was … curious. I’m under no anthropomorphic delusion that if the cage hadn’t had been there and he was peckish I’d have made a nice snack but somehow it wasn’t scary. In suitable Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember style “…and all I could say was “hello”.”
Cage diving is controversial I know but if you ever get the chance and you find as ethical company as possible to go with I throughly recommend it. Tell Kevin (or far more likely his great grand child) hello from me. I’ve never forgotten him.