|Hanamoenoa, Tahuata. Enough said|
It took a few seconds before the alarm bells went off. At first, my heart skipped a beat and I froze.
We had just anchored in beautiful Hanamoenoa Bay on Tahuata Island. I had donned my snorkelling gear and jumped in the water to check the anchor. As I followed the anchor chain from the surface, I finally spotted the anchor. I readied myself to dive down for a closer look, when I caught a movement from the corner of my eye. Below me, a dark shape swam into view and my brain paused. I registered the outline.
I thought, "I know what that is." Just then, it veered course and looked up at me. I popped my head out of the water and shouted incoherent syllables in my snorkel at Rick, who was sitting nearby in our dinghy. I splashed my way to the dinghy and hoisted myself up in one fluid, if not graceful, motion. After ripping my mask and snorkel off, I sputtered, "Shark! There was a shark. In the water - RIGHT there! Oh my god, a shark."
There are many shark species in the South Pacific. Some can be aggressive and dangerous, others are shy and avoid you. I don't know which one my buddy was. I was too busy getting my plump ass out of range. I have since pored over our fish books but still, I'm not sure. He was somewhere between 4 and 5 feet, he was dark grey and well, he looked sharky.
Later that day, we went snorkelling in the nearby reefs. While we kept an eye out for the shark, all we saw were fishes that were at the most, 12 inches long. Twelve inches, now that's manageable.