The moon is big in the night sky, illuminating the towering volcanic mountains and bringing the ocean beneath my feet to life. Reef sharks frequently pass by, blatantly weaving around my fishing line baited with fresh tuna from last night’s dinner, on the hunt for something bigger. I eagerly scan the coral gardens which shimmer under the bright moonlight, waiting for the next shadow to pass by my line. I roll the thin nylon between my index finger and thumb feeling the current in the water, taking a long inhale of the thick tropical air. My peace is abruptly broken by a sudden bite. I jerk back on the rod with equal strength and start to reel in, mechanically lifting, pulling and reeling, it takes no time at all to land the fish on the rock wall. It’s a solid catch and my night has been made, with visions of tomorrow’s lunch and dinner meals served. I place my foot near his head and edge the hook out, which has miraculously held on lightly on the skin behind his eye. Something from below suddenly rips the fish away before me and drags it into the dark crevice between the rocks and out of sight. I jump back in fear, nearly stumbling on a rock and into the deep blue, but catching my fall and my breath. I try to search for an answer as to what could have taken my prize catch but don’t stick around the now frightening rock wall to find out. I decide to call it a night and quickly pack up my gear and walk back to my beach shack with my head hanging low.
Dawn is surprisingly fresh and light fog encapsulates the highest mountain top on the island. I know it won’t take long for the burning tropical sun to heat the air and I can’t shake the curiosity of the night before. I decide to take to the water that embodies the same rock wall I fished from the night before and explore the surface beneath.
The swell has built overnight from the north and a strong current passes the lagoon that laps at the rock wall, matching the same speed as a fast flowing creek. I enter the water at the furthermost end of the lagoon, armed with a mask and fins and float effortlessly with the current. I weightlessly hover over every shade and shape of coral, with breathtakingly beautiful tropical fish ducking and weaving for safety as I pass by. In no time at all I approach the same rock wall in which I had cast multiple lines the night before. I dig my fingers into the edge of the wall to hold my place, my body tugging in the current like a rag doll, yet I’m able to use my strength to crawl along the rocks and into the safety of a small bay.
Visibility is perfect & I spot a large cluster of rocks close by. Given the close distance to the wall, my instinct tells me that it could be home to the creature that took last night’s catch. I fight hard to swim back into the open lagoon for a closer look but I’m instantly taken in the current and forced sideways over the top of the suspicious cluster of rocks where a huge alien-like creature lashes out at me. Air bubbles dissipate from the edges of my mouth piece as I squeal underwater, struggling to catch my breath. I’m forced directly over top of a large green monster, teeth sharpened and head as big as a humans. I kick as hard as I can to pass the rocks but what I can now tell is a mammoth size moray eel, slithers its way out, opening it’s huge mouth and thrashing its teeth down, making a loud snapping noise that I will never forget. I’m caught in the downstream current and able to kick far enough away to be clear of its distance, fearfully looking over my shoulder hoping it wasn’t coming after me. I quickly swim to the nearest shallow bay and drag myself to where the water laps the thick crushed coral edge, happy to exit the water without any injuries. With adrenaline pumping through my veins, a huge smile creeps over my face as I try to piece together what just happened. Curiosity got the best of me- that’s what happened!