The mighty fish

We looked at each other eye to eye. His further apart than mine. Neither of us backed down. Man to fish. Beast to beast. 3,000 teeth versus 32. Floating in the middle of the ocean. We understood each other. Mutual admiration. His mouth was big enough to swallow my head. But he chewed nonchalantly, evidently trying not to display any fear.
Smaller fish, (but still bloody big), ambled around his body, calmly sucking off any parasites. It was as if they were massaging his ego. Like the towel lads mopping the boxer´s sweat before he went back into the ring. At first I thought they were baby sharks, but in fact they were his helpers.
Meanwhile his gaze held mine. Steady. No backing down. I won't back down. Johnny Cash would be proud. Time stopped. The tension rose. He opened his mouth once more...
Then with one swish of his giant tail, the 20ft magnificent beast was gone. His spotted skin (in more ways than one!) blended perfectly with the murky deep waters and he was on his way. An underwater encounter he will no doubt remember for a long time.

I won't forget it in a hurry either. We spent what seemed like an eternity looking for the giant sharks. Birds were the tell tale sign we were told. They circled around where fish were driven to the surface by tuna and other preying fish. Then formed what they called a "boil" and it was this phenomenon we were looking for. That's where the whale sharks would be.
But I couldn't see any birds. I was beginning to think whale sharks were like buses, only I hoped more than one would arrive at the same time.
Then we got the sign. Birds ahead! And the water was alive with fish! It did, in fact, appear as if it was boiling. Fish were literally jumping out of the water. And a great beast was spotted in the midst of this madness.
We lashed on our snorkel gear and jumped overboard. Swimming like mad to the where all the excitement was. Legs pounding like jackhammers, I headed straight for the action.
Suddenly he was in front of me. Absolutely incredible! I just stopped, suspended in the sea, and looked. He was huge! Literally, a "whale" shark.
One could see marks on his dark spotted body - deep gashes, war wounds from earlier tussles with propeller boats. But he lived to tell the tale. He probably didn't even notice. This was a mighty fish if ever there was one.


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