Face to Face

We were on a chartered spearfishing trip with Benthic Ocean Sports in Destin, Florida approximately 40 miles out to sea. We’d checked the fish finder and found a large school headed towards us at around 50 feet, so masks were donned, spears loaded and deep rhythmic breathing ensued as we attempted to lower our heart rate breathing through our diaphragm. The first of four divers descended into the deep blue ocean, we were med by hundreds of fish swimming around us seemingly oblivious to the sharp spears pointed in their direction. Moments later, Matt, a seasoned spear-fisherman spots a large King Mackerel and he’s off, using his metre-long carbon fibre fins to their full potential, attempting to get in the perfect angle for his one chance at a successful shot. Moments later we’re at the surface, it’s a big fish and Matt is out of breath having had to wrestle it to the surface. High fives and hoots are given all round as we see the boat bobbing silently in the distance, I glance back and see through the cloudy red blood being emitted from the fish that a shark is headed straight toward me showing no sign of slowing down. I hovered in the water frozen to the spot, as my mind whirled with possible outcomes from this encounter. I lifted up my camera, made from solid aluminium, held it in front of me and fired a quick shot before I kicked the shark away from me. That was close.