CLUNK<CLUNK<CLUNK !! Slade continues to scream as hard as he can physically scream to who ever was listening above. Its 9pm on a moonless night, that suffocating darkness is out and we have successfully wrapped the lure and wire tracer around our prop for the 2nd time in 3 days. We are now engineless.
Slade and I discuss our options for over an hour, finally we come up with our plan of attack. Slade will dive in, to check the prop, we will pray that its not wrapped, once he has dived on the prop expecting the worse, we will find the closest Island and drift with the current/ sail when there is wind and try to anchor off the island all while motorless.
Slade fluffed about for 20minutes finding his snorkel and flippers. In 6 years of being together this was the first time I have ever seem him scared and not only was he scared he was petrified. We were in 5,000m of water and it was pitch black, I could hear his heart pounding. Both our minds racing with the worst case senario of the big tiger shark launching itself from the dark depth below to chomp on his legs. He fumbled about his voice jittering when he spoke. I grabbed the dive torch, put the boat side down, tied a rope to his arm and cleated it to the deck and then sat and watched, Slade then slipped into the water, before I had time to blink he was out of the water launching himself onto the boats deck.
How could he of checked anything he baely got in the water. If I had of filmed this we would of got hard proof that men can move faster then the speed of light. It took Slade about 10minutes to catch his breath back and calm down. Would you ever want to jump into 5000m of water in the pitch dark in the middle of the pacific ocean? I can tell you now it was creepily eerie. Finally he had recovered enough to jitterly tell me that the lure was well and truly wrapped.
Our hearts sunk, we checked the chart plotter and found Viatupu Island 35 nautical miles away. We then spent the rest of the night drifting with the current. Occasionally the wind would pick up enough to sail. By 7:30am we were near the island and heading in ready to find a place to anchor. As we got closer the swell increased and soon we saw that the swell was breaking around a reef that surrounded the whole Island. There was nowhere to anchor ! Slade continued to try to get in closer but with out engine power and not knowing when the wind would drop out I pulled the pin and sailed us back out to sea. I had a bad feeling and decided that it was best to listen to my gut. If the wind dropped out for even a few minutes it would be long enough for us to be pushed by the swell onto the reef and this was an Island that no one would be there to help rescue us. I didn’t want to take the risk and decided that we needed to get back to the safety of deep water fast.
Once we were a safe distance off we hove to. Sure enough when Slade was ready to dive in the depth sounder went mad, which means only one thing, there was something under us. We were in over 100m of water and something was swimming about 3m under our boat. Slade was nervous but not scared like he was the night before. At 8:30am he slowly and quietly slipped down off the deck and into the water to find what was lurking below. I watched from the surface as big silver bodies darted about, Slades head also darting about eradically watching what lied beneath him. I stood hanging out over the water watching for something big coming up from below. I yelled out to see if all was okay, he yelled back through his snorkel not wanting to take his eyes off the deep water below “SHARKS”. I started to panic I screamed how many, what type? He yelled back a muffled “3 and reef, big”. The lure had to be un wrapped and he decided that within view of land would make it more comfortable for him. He started un wrapping the lure cutting it off with wire cutters, pliers and a screw driver. 15minutes in and he had attracted 8 more sharks. I could see them from above swimming below Slade. He was tied on to the boat and then a big brown shape came up from the deep and swam at his flipper. I reefed the rope that was wrapped around his arm as hard as possible. He immediately dived onto the deck. I was panicked, there was a big brown shark coming at his flipper, he calmed me down and told me to remember that there was no distance perception and that it may have been a long way below.
He bravely slid back in and continued the job for the next 3 hours. I watched the water around him like a hawk, holding on to the boat for dear life as we rolled eratically sideways, getting slammed by a squall and the continual swell. Finally by lunch time we were off, back out there continuing our journey now with an engine to nanumea.