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The Misadventures of Shark Guy

As spearos, we all have an ingrained fear of Mr Johnny, but for some that fear is all consuming. I have a very good friend whose fear of sharks goes beyond the norm. To protect his reputation, I’ll just call him ‘Shark Guy’…

The following account is a collection of tales concerning Shark Guy’s death defying encounters with those predators of the deep, embellished a little for humorous effect but 100% based on reality.

My first ‘Shark Guy’ experience was in Mozambique. Shark Guy and I were in Ponte Malangane diving off our fishing skis. We launched at about 5am, taking a long paddle out to Kev’s Ledge where the water was crystal clean and the Couta were about. I was on the spot quite a bit before Shark Guy and I had my first fish in the ski before he was finished kitting up. A small Zambezi had come in with the activity from my fish, but it was very chilled and had not shown any aggression other that a bit of curiosity. As I surfaced with a second fish on my spear, Shark Guy finally entered the water. When he swam up to me to have a look at my fish, I told him that the Couta were on. And to keep an eye on the Zambezi that was still hanging around.

Shark Guy was in such a state he could hardly talk. Nick could only shake his head. I was too busy killing the fish and cleaning up line to notice his reaction. 5 minutes later, with the fish in my ski and my gun ready for my next dive, I looked

  1. Shark Guy had vanished. I assumed that he would

be on a fish, and searched all around me. Nothing.

I climbed onto my ski to get some height. It was

then that I spotted him paddling back to the beach. I

chased after him, thinking that something must have

gone really wrong. When I caught up and asked what

had happened, he promptly told me that he had seen

the Zambezi, and was “out of there”.

 

I spent the rest of the trip diving by myself.

 

You would think that after this I would have given up on

him as a dive partner. However, a little while later, we

decided that a trip to the Kei was in order and invited a

friend from the Cape, Nick, to join us.

 

We dived the whole week with great success and had

shot Steenbras, Garrick, Brusher and Daga. On the last

day, Nick and Shark Guy wanted one more hop-in to try

for one more trophy fish. I had hurt my ankle the previous

day, so I sat on the cliff top watching them.

 

They had not gone much past the back line when I saw

Nick swimming to his buoy with a fish: a nice Brusher.

Shark Guy was already ahead of him in the deeper water.

Nick had just started to swim toward Shark Guy when the

sea erupted around Nick’s dive buoy. A Bronze Whaler

had taken the Brusher off the buoy, and in the process

had got the stringer stuck in its mouth. The shark shot

straight out to sea and directly past Shark Guy.

 

Needless to say, this sent Shark Guy into absolute panic

mode. Nick was trying to get him to come and help hold

the line so that the stringer would break loose. Shark Guy

was just screaming.

 

In Nick’s words: “I looked up at Shark Guy and he was

halfway between me and my dive buoy. I looked down

to get a better grip on the gun. When I looked up again

he was gone… I did a 360o check and saw that he was

already past me, almost back on the beach. I have never

seen anyone swim that fast.”

 

When I met Nick and Shark Guy on the beach, Shark Guy

was in such a state he could hardly talk. Nick could only

shake his head.

 

It does not end there. One day, despite my previous

experiences with Shark Guy, I decided to go and dive

the deep line with him at Westbrook. The visibility near

the surface was average, but excellent at the bottom. We

had found a bit of structure that had lots of bait around

it and was producing nice sized Bronze Bream and a few

Yellowtail Kingfish. I had just settled into a crack and was

waiting for the Bronzes to start moving in, when a small

Dusky Shark cruised over the top of me and disappeared

into the distance. Just after that I saw Shark Guy come

down and settle into a crack next to me. I thanked God

that he had not seen the shark. If he had, he would

already have been halfway back to the beach.

 

Murphy must have heard me thinking, because as soon

as Shark Guy had settled on the reef, the same Dusky

came swimming back to check out the new visitor. I was

already busting for air and just about to surface when

Shark Guy spotted the shark. The water exploded with

bubbles around him and he rocketed to the surface. I

was in hysterics at this point and could hardly control my

convulsions. I had stayed down for way too long so that I

could witness the show, and the fact that I was struggling

not to laugh as I surfaced did not help. Up on top, Shark

Guy swam up to me in a fl at panic telling me about the

“giant Zambezi” that had swum straight at him. In reality,

I don’t know who was more afraid: Shark Guy, or the

Dusky. It disappeared so fast after seeing Shark Guy I

think the poor thing must have s#@t itself.

 

All of these stories have made Shark Guy the butt of

many jokes, but when there are no sharks involved,

he can actually be quite brave. For example, the time

when a group of us were diving G-Spot in Mozambique

and having endless trouble with Potato Bass. On one

particular dive, a rather aggressive Potato had just

grabbed my Couta and Shark Guy – in a sudden display

of courage – decided to go down and tell it “who was

boss”.

 

I don’t know who was

more afraid: Shark

Guy, or the Dusky. It

disappeared so fast

after seeing Shark Guy

I think the poor thing

must have s#@t itself.

 

I watched from the surface as Shark Guy swam straight

at the Potato, while at the same time a Blacktip Shark

came charging in from the right to claim his share of

the spoils. The meeting in the middle was something of

a standoff as the Potato proceeded to get the better of

both spearo and shark. When Shark Guy shot back to

the surface, I asked (with tears of laughter in my eyes):

“What happened?” He ignored me, and called the boat

to collect him. For the rest of the dive he sat on the boat

and refused to talk to anyone.

 

I will say that over the years, Shark Guy has become a

bit better, although he is still always last in the water

and refuses to dive if we are chumming. His stories have

supplied us with endless entertainment, and I’m sure a

number of USM readers will have heard them at a braai

or over a bottle of rum. The death defying adventures of

Shark Guy have been retold so often, they’re practically

a spearfishing urban legend. (But 100% true, I promise!)

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