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Group 1….Ready. 3….2….1…gooo. The four of us instinctively roll backwards of the edge off the inflatable boat before hitting the water sinking a foot or two then bobbing pack to the surface.
OK signals are exchanged, and we descend to wait for the others at 5m below the surface. I pull the dump valve on my BCD vest and a raspberry of air starts as I sink below. The dry air from the tank fills my lungs and I am enveloped in the warm blanket of the summer Indian Ocean. Check depth 3m, good, Air? 200Bar and holding, depth again 5m, little bit of air into my BCD and I’m neutral, lying horizontal in the blue. My buddy levels of beside me and OK are exchanged, the same thing with the other pair.
The surface is broken as the other divers drop in, as they come down though they are gesturing wildly, and seem to be looking past us. I turn as a large black shadow grows below us, a ghostly blob coming towards us and getting bigger.
The blob begins to sharpen, white spots appear, a colossal mouth, then suddenly we realise what it is, a whale shark has decided to come and check on the commotion. The giant in my mind is 20m long but realistically its only 10m. It glides smoothly towards my buddy and I and passes within two meters of us before cork screwing up around us and the other divers for two turns. Then satisfied with us it gently flicks its tails and shoots off, morphing back to the shadow then fading to nothing.
Once the last glimpse of it is gone I shake my head and look back at my buddy, I am greeted with a mask full of amazement as wide eyes are enlarged through the glass, and I think that I must be sporting a similar look. The biggest smile that the regulator jammed in my mouth will allow stretches across my face,
I look up at the other divers, as the sense of awe and wonder fades away, some high fives happen, even some dancing before we realise we haven’t even started the dive. Depth 5.4m, air 190BAR, all good, OK signals. I pull my dump valve emptying my BCD and start to sink quickly down to the unknown smiling all the way