Plenty of Chum


There are those phone calls that parents dread, and I have to admit, I made one of them while travelling. I’m convinced that, “Dad, Mom, I swam with sharks!” was the phone call that turned my parents grey. 

At least I did my mom and dad the favour of waiting until after I re-surfaced to tell them about the ordeal. I am a klutz by nature, someone you can’t take into a china shop. Someone you shouldn't drop into a pool of sharks.

As if the metaphorical sharks of the backpacking world weren't scary enough, the real ones swimming off Ningaloo Reef in Western Australia can grow up to 10 feet in length.

“But Mom! They weren't going to eat me! They were reef sharks!”

To them, it didn't matter. Their baby girl swam with sharks.

I had never been scuba diving before the moment I swam with sharks. This was my first lesson, and sharks weren't on the syllabus. So naturally, after 30 minutes of getting comfortable breathing underwater, I still wasn't ready to see my first shark. But the scuba instructor put her hand to her forehead, and there it was. My first reef shark.

In awe, I held my breath. And… as the law of physics in scuba diving goes, without any air in my lungs, I sank. I sank low enough to cut my finger on a piece of fossilized coral reef.

In moments when I feel that my ego is too big, I remind myself of the time I held my breath when I saw a shark under water. Nothing brings a person back to Earth like a gentle reminder of that time she made herself flailing chum.

This story was left out of my phone call home.

“I mean it wasn’t that scary, they just kind of swam around. Completely ignored us.”

Good thing, considering how fast I tried to swim away from my own blood.

That being said, I was in good hands with scuba instructor, as well as my travel buddy.

Having experienced enough adrenaline for a lifetime, we hopped a tour bus from Ningaloo to the city of Perth, and spent the next few days enjoying the wildlife in Western Australia. We even picked up a few dance moves along the way:



Cara enjoys long romantic walks down the makeup aisle, and what hasn't killed her has made her chilopodophobic. Once she was a backpacker, but now she prefers her morning shower to be cockroach-free. An aspiring novelist and comedian, she can often be found making bad puns on social media. 

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