Ray Scott: I was on a business trip to the Berry Islands to design a summer home for a millionaire. On one of the last days of the trip, I was treated to a sailboat ride on a trimaran, and some scuba diving to hunt for grouper at a famous cut between tiny islands in about 30 feet of water. I wanted to get the first catch, so I was in the water first. What I did not know at the time was that the skipper of the sailboat had inadvertently (by cleaning and filleting some kingfish caught on the way out) dumped some unwanted fish parts into the sea, thereby chumming the water – which attracts sharks.
I was about a mile away from the boat alone in fairly deep water between two coral rocks, when I had the shock of my life. Tracking me from below, about 20 feet, going around in circles that were getting smaller, like he was getting ready to strike, was an 8 ft. shark! I felt very small and alone,
my life passing before me. I felt that this was going to be my last minutes of life. If a shark takes a bite, you bleed, and that excites them and any other sharks in the area. In other words, you are a goner. The shark just seemed to hang around. When would he make his move?
Then I remembered all my Scuba Diving Club’s warnings for this situation. I suddenly became calm and focused. Tucked my legs and got into a crouch position; no movement; I just followed the shark as it swam in circles below me. My plan, I say this now somewhat bravely, was to stay in this position if he attacked from below, and when his teeth-filled mouth was wide open to bite, I would shoot my spear gun into it at an angle so that he would not be able to close it, and use my knife to slash away at his sensitive nose. Then I would hightail it at full speed for the boat, still a long way off.
Luckily for me, and this is a true story, something about me, this motionless thing above, the sun reflecting off my shiny spear barb, the shark veered off to the left and swam away. Thank God!! Later, after my return to the boat, shaking like a leaf, the other divers gave me a double scotch and persuaded me to move to another place and dive with them this time, or I would never dive again. I did dive with them and eventually caught the biggest grouper of the day with a brain shot.
Editorial note from the blogger, Mary Rita Scott:
The above picture is not of a shark or a grouper, but it was painted by my husband, Ray Scott, and was the only fish picture I had saved on my iPad.
Also, had he not survived this “almost got eaten by a shark” episode, this painting would not be in existence, nor for that matter would he!
For those who might be curious, these events took place about 40 years ago. MRS