Edge of the World

by Melissa Hopp

Edge of the World

by Tauni Hannah

Pristine visibility and flat calm waters. How could I resist the temptation and not jump in?! 

I didn't even finish my thought, and there were splashes everywhere! 

Everyone else was already jumping in and, within the first five minutes, my 17-year-old son, Mark, had speared a beautiful Yellow jack! Sashimi baby! 

Mark was about to call it quits after his yellow jack, but I encouraged him to get back in the water and have another hunt. You need to make the most of these perfect conditions!

I grabbed my favorite Headhunter carbon spear and got in with him. On the descent, I realized my snorkel was making funny noises. I spat it out and continued to hold my breath for the silent sniper tactic!!! I didn't want to alarm the fish. I just happened to see another yellow jack and signaled to Mark to chase it down.

Mark isn't your average 17-year-old "Spearo". He is quite skilled, and watching him in action was pretty neat. I quickly learned that you don't have to swim, swim and swim after a fish. You can simply swim and drift, then, scope out the area and assess where, and how, you will get your prey. You need to preserve your energy for your dives. Just as we were coming closer in range, there was a coral head directly ahead of us. Mark was about to go around it after the yellow jack, when a huge hogfish happened to come out of its hideaway directly within Mark’s shooting range. I cocked my spear, just in case he needed help. Either way, this hog was ours for the taking. In the blink of an eye--it all happened so fast--Mark stoned it! 

Just as I was scanning the area for sharks, a mid-sized, very angry, blacktip reef shark came hauling tail in our direction! It never occurred to me that I would have to play bodyguard for Mark. I mean, really, I now had to face this aggressive beast--and it truly felt like Darth Vader had sent off his storm trooper (me!) to defeat its enemy. My instant reaction was to jab my spear tip into the shark’s nose to get it to back off. I used all my might, did exactly that, and scared the shark off. Mark was barely keeping the hog out of the water when I told him, “Mark! Keep that fish up or we might get an army of these sharks!” As Mark swam ahead, I continued to survey around us and we were now in the clear. Storm trooper takes the win!!

Mark had the biggest grin on his face as he got his big hog in the boat! What amazed all of us was its size--in the water, it didn't look so mean but, out of the water, it was well worth trophy standards!! Not bad for your 17-year-old “Spearo” on summer vacation, huh?!!

"Spearing on the Edge"--it does have a certain ring to it!




Melissa Hopp
Melissa Hopp

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