West Indies

Chub Rock Wreck: Pickles the Green Moray

Chub Rock Wreck

What happens when you get attacked by a wild animal fifty feet underwater?

I opened a copy of the leading diving publication around the time that their monopoly of the industry was ending. This diving publication was the sole publication of the sport at a time when more people were purchasing regulators and B.C.'s, and the owners had a share in a Cozumel dive hotel.

They began using the magazine as public relations for the South Caribbean, and claimed the areas around Cozumel the best diving in the world. By this time, the market caught on and forced themto be a little more sensationalist in their reporting.I opened the page of an article by Eddie, who wrote about his attempt to ride on the back of a sand shark - known for their passiveness - which quickly turned around and took a chunk from his thigh.

I remembered the old days - the eight foot green moray - and the day Eddie and Cathy and I plunged off the Sea Queen near Chub Rock and visited the old sunken steamer to snap some shots for a dive shop promotion.

Eddie took off to the shallow end of the wreck to look for rays, and we stayed to photograph the eel.

Chub Rock

The eel was restless, and her skin was shining bright green. We were ecstatic with the photo shoot; the moray was wrapping around Cathy as she pulled ballyhoo from a plastic case.

Then, the eel missed and mistook Cathy's face for the ballyhoo. She grabbed tightly around her face; contorting her jaws, writhing and then rapidly rotating her face like a doll in rapid succession.

The first color to desaturate at depth is red, and so green blood was everywhere. Cathy screamed through her regulator. She lashed at the eel, struck at her gut.

I went for Eddie down on the deep end of the wreck and when we returned, Cathy was free, and we made our way topside.

On deck, we opened the antibiotics and Cathy stitched her face. In a few months, she was healed, they were diving seven days a week.

A few years later, the eel was speared by a fisherman.