Underwater, no-one can hear you scream!

She gasped as she entered the water. The clear, turquoise-blue waters were colder than she had anticipated. Fear gripped her body. Almost enough to make her turn back. She couldn't though. She had got this far. The others had chosen her to go first and her stubbornness was the one thing pushing her on.

Turquoise waters

She didn't want to do it. It was meant to be perfect. Supposed to be a dream which so many people longed to do. She knew that if she told her friends they would all be jealous.

It didn't take the fear away.

She clutched the ladder and gingerly lowered herself into the water; her wetsuit now sodden almost to the top. Taking deep, slow and steady breaths she sunk her head under the water.

The instructors had told her to sit on the platform and wait. Alone. She was alone and underwater.

Suddenly the enormity of the situation overwhelmed her.

Trying to keep herself calm she concentrated on her breathing.

She closed her eyes, hoping by some stretch of the imagination that this was a nightmare. When she opened them, she was still there. The ocean stretched out in front of her. Deep, dark and seemingly endless.

Then, out of the corner of her eye she spotted it. A shark.

It swam effortlessly towards her, moving faster than she could swim, its grey body glistening with the light from the sun above.

Yes, it was small, but that just signified to her that it might be a baby. If it was, where were its parents?

Then the panic set in.

She started to scream. Blood-curdling screams. Fear escaping straight from her lungs.

They couldn't hear her. No one could hear her screaming.

She could hear her own blood in her ears. Her heart pounding so hard that it felt as though it would break. Feeling something  brush against her, she turned quickly. It was her cousin, the next person to descend into the water.

They came down quickly after that. All of them looking like underwater spacemen, huge helmets on their heads filled with air so that they could breathe.

An instructor led the way and they walked in single file, clutching a rope. After a few minutes they stopped and were all handed some bread.

Surrounding them were black-and-white fish; huge creatures, flitting, darting and zigzagging. The others held their hands out to feed the fish, who descended upon them, their toothless mouths gaping expectantly.

She threw her bread and shut her eyes, unable to deal with the situation.

Before she knew it, they were climbing aboard the boat. Excited chatter filled the deck. A feeling of achievement and togetherness buoyed them.

She couldn't join in. It hadn't been the experienced she had expected. That moment of sheer panic had nearly ruined her otherwise perfect holiday.

Next time she knew that she would stick to her well-rehearsed recipe for a perfect holiday; sun, sea, relaxation, haute cuisine and land-based activities.  Needless to say, a sea walk would never again be on her list of ingredients.

This is based on a true story and is my entry to the Creative Writer category of the Mark Warner Ambassador competition.