Eiffel

Eiffel

Monday, August 30, 2010

Shark Encounter


"We are going snorkeling in La Jolla this weekend".

Oh shit. As you can see, excitement was not my first reaction. I knew there was no getting out of this one. I'm not going to lie. I'm all for a little adventure, a little danger, but this was different. It had nothing to do with the recent Great White Shark sighting or the gathering of the Leopard Sharks.

Nope, those were the cool facts. This is what draws the crowds, adds to the excitement. I'm a thrill seeker. I love these things. If we were in Hawaii, I'd be one of the first ones in the water but this was different. About 20 degrees different.

Ah the Pacific Ocean. For those of you that don't know let me explain. I'm not up for freezing my ass off. Yes, this body of water is cold. Very cold. Even in the height of summer. Of course it doesn't help that we haven't had a very warm summer either. I knew what I was in store for but I wasn't going to be the one to say no.

The day arrived. 65 degrees and cloudy. Really? Full body wet suit for me. Oh look - just as I suspected - I'm given neon yellow come-get-me-shark-flippers. Perfect. I saw that on a documentary once. Those sharks love yellow the most. Red came in second. Go figure. As we walked towards the water I just kept thinking of the icy bath we'd bjumping in. What was I doing? Oh wait, I did have to pee, maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all.....

I was in. OH MY GOD IT WAS COLD. We're all in. Mike, check. Teresa, check. Gotta keep moving. I'd better see something. We were swimming around for a while when we saw one. A Leopard Shark. Mike grabbed the camera. We swam after it but it's fast. We had been in the water for a while and it's actually not that bad anymore. It could be because I had lost all feeling in my body. At this point it didn't matter - we were on the shark hunt. And the Teresa hunt. We lost her.

Then it happened. Well yes, we found Teresa but it's what we found with her that was absolutely amazing - the school of Leopard Sharks. They were everywhere. At first we thought we would just see 2 or 3. Then it was like a sand veil lifted and there they were. 10 to 15 sharks just swimming around right under us. We were so excited that we just stayed there, floating, then we tried to reach out and touch them. They weren't that far away, maybe about 3 feet. At one point I remember just floating, surrounded by sharks, with sunbeams shooting from above and my hair like a halo of red encircling my face. Yeah, that's right I said it. Don't be hating on my halo.


We were entranced for at least 15 minutes when all of a sudden we realized, it's freezing in here. We hadn't moved from our spot for so long that we knew that was the end of it. As long as we had kept moving we were good. I couldn't feel my feet or hands. It was time to get out. We rode the waves back to shore. As we walked back to get our bags and the sun warmed us up, the feeling slowly returned to our limbs.

I may have not been excited when I first heard about the snorkeling expedition but I will say this - not once did it ever cross my mind to say no. I knew it would be cold but I also knew there would be so many things that we experienced on that trip that would far outweigh that minor inconvenience. Friends, sharks, sunbeams and halos - all worth a few frozen limbs. Oh and a couple of lost toenails (they were loose anyway). But given the choice again I'd say yes, bring me that wetsuit and my neon yellow come-get-me-shark-flippers.

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