We Were Living

As I was contemplating my newfound enlightenment, the next school of Wahoo came through, and Nirvana was quickly replaced by Wahoo fever (“Bosbef*kte viskoors”) and then, chaos…

Every once in a while, one experiences a moment of  clarity – an epiphany if you will. A moment when the whole confusing mess wecall life actually makes sense, even if only fleetingly. Hanging in fifty metres of the Indian Ocean’s finest a few miles off the Mozambican coast, a question Fraser had asked myself and Mark earlier rang through my mind: “How many people do you think are doing what we’re doing right now?” Instantaneously, life made complete and utter sense. But, as I was contemplating my newfound enlightenment, the next school of Wahoo came through,and Nirvana was quickly replaced by Wahoo fever (“Bosbef*kte viskoors”) and then, chaos…

But wait. Before I start waxing lyrically about Wahoo and how they are utterly impossible t o shoot and how they can swim sideways because of their built-in particle- accelerator-Higgs-Boson, teleportation devices that can place them just too far for your spearto reach every time (I’m convinced), let me explain how I came to find myself in such an enviable predicament.

It was the last day of yet another epic trip, diving the rich waters of Northern Mozambique and thinking back, it had been absolutely crazy. Throughout the previous few days, we’d experienced spearfishing at its most beautiful.

Waiting with burning lungs on the bottom between broken reef (throwing sand uplike lunatics) for massive schools of giant,circling Kakaap (who also seem to know exactly how far a 1.3m Rob Allen gun can shoot), hunting schools of good-sized Couta in the midwater over the sand up current of beautiful structure. Diving for Mozambiquan crayfish. Being engulfed in gigantic schools of Kingfish… yes, it had been a good week… and there we were, suffering through yet another k*k day in Africa.

Well, the week had been perfect, except for one thing. Correction,probably more in the region of ten torpedo- shaped, silver and purple, striped things that we’d managed to miss and/or lose because they were just so big and the water so impossibly clean. And because, well you know us Vaalies by now, we can get a little over- eager at times. Things? Yes, those Wahoo things…

At this stage I think I should state that I cannot for the life of me understand the mystery that is the Wahoo. In fact, I will make a bold statement and say that I possibly even understand women better than I understand Wahoo.

How is it that a fish, while seeming to not move at all, can swim faster than I can sprint with my fancy carbon fins? How can a fish be so close to you that you can make out the details in its eyes, yet the second you release a spear in its direction, it is completely, ridiculously far out of range? What fish possesses the power to make me get on the boat and announce that I’m selling all my gear and never diving again? Tantrums. Frustration. Wahoo.

And, back to the chaos… As the first school of Wahoo comes filing through, all personal resolutions of staying calm, taking time and using well planned tactics fly out of the proverbial window and the three Vaalies go speeding off like maniacs, hell-bent on unleashing the dogs of war (possibly a bit dramatic but it was a dramatic moment.) Spears fly everywhere, hearts race.

Fraser speeds off in one direction (towed by an angry 18kg Wahoo). Mark loses the mother of all Wahoo as his spear pulls out after the beast drags his Rob Allen hippo- float 10m underwater in a matter of seconds. My spear also pulls out of a decent fish’s tail. Fraser fi nally boats the first Wahoo of the trip amidst a flurry of profanities and unprintables. On the next drift, while returning to the surface from a deep dive, Mark shoots and spines a beautif l u 25kg W ha oo and I miss a seemingly easy shot on yet another fish.The rest of my morning is a blue blur of lost/missed fish, in-water tantrums, passing up a shot on a personal best sized 20kg plus Kingfish, frantic mid- water scanning, racing hearts and general frustration…

I had the Wahoo fever. I had it bad.

So, this is the part where one expects the Hollywood ending where I manage to land a massive Wahoo on the very last drift, fend off a monster Zambezi with a broken Sailfish bill and free a Turtle from a fishing net with my teeth. Alas, look at the photos – the Wahoo did not deem me ready yet, but Wahoo fever doesn’t simply go away and there’s only one known cure. Looks like another trip is on the cards… someone’s got to do it.

As we were heading back to shore for the last time, Mark, sitting with a cold Laurentina in his hand, looked over at Fraser and myself and said, “Most people go through life just existing from day to day, but doing stuff like we did today isn’t just existing, it’s living.”

I reflected on the happenings of the week, the epic diving and the great moments shared with awesome friends and it was plain to me that for a few days, we really had been living.

And life was good.


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