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My buddy propelled me to the line and one of his colleagues cut it free from the
anchor. If he'd not acted quickly, the line would have snapped and we'd have been
parted from out boat in a violent storm.
We'd escaped that awful fate but were far from safe . The boat was dragging its
anchor and was in danger of running up onto the reef. The anchor caught before that
happened. We reached the boat and clambered on board, only to find that the skipper
was missing.
He'd left in a dinghy, with his thirteen-year-old son, to put out a second anchor. I
saw them in the beam of a powerful flashlight. They had successfully laid the anchor
and were coming back. As I watched, the dinghy's motor began to splutter. I heard it
stop and saw the small craft caught in the current. The thirteen-year-old struggled to
get the motor going but without success.
We now faced the prospect of losing the skipper and his son. I snatched a buoy
from the deck, swung in on the end of its line and hurled it at the dinghy. I'm a
hopeless shot but it reached its goal. I still retain a vivid mental image of it hitting the
boy in the chest and landing at his feet. He grabbed the line and we pulled them to
safety. After that, the trip was uneventful.
20 Spooked
I've not often been spooked by marine animals but I must admit to a few
occasions when that happened. One was on a dive trip to Myrmidon Reef.
Myrmidon is one of the most spectacular dive spots on the Great Barrier Reef. It is
perched on the edge of the continental shelf where the up-welling, nutrient-rich waters
support an amazing variety of marine life.
The water is crystal clear. Sometimes you can see well over a hundred metres. If
that doesn't impress you, jump in at one end of a fifty-metre swimming pool and take a
look at the other end.
One day we arrived at Myrmidon and anchored in the lagoon. The tide was about to
turn and we separated into groups for our first dive. I took my group to a spot where
you can peer down into the depths far below. I chose a slender coral pinnacle as an
observation platform. I'd been there before and the view is stunning.