On 16 April, a night dive like any other, Steve and I were half way through our dive when I spotted a MONSTER under the water.
My Special Friend was about a metre to my right, hovering in the water as he so expertly does.
Me, I’m more of a bottom dweller, still perfecting my buoyancy.
Thus I prefer to be closer to the bottom because when I catch a prawn I get rather excited and tend to hold my breath.
Not a good move underwater because it means I rise slightly in the water.
So, being a bottom-dweller works in may favour when I catch prawns.
What is it?
The MONSTER I spotted under the water during this dive was no typical fiend.
We have been buzzed by cheeky dolphins while night-diving. We have seen seahorses, huge-mungus crabs, flatheads, mantis shrimp, sea-stars, flounder and mulloway – which grunt incessantly when they are mating. OMG it’s a sound and a half to hear underwater.
But this was different and unexpected. It was a Tiger prawn and it was HUGE!
Normally our catch is river prawns averaging five to eight centimetres. They are a brown-yellow prawn and are often passed over in favour of our preferred catch of King Prawns which are generally between 10 and 20 centimetres in length.
They look great underwater and taste amazing especially in Steve’s infamous garlic prawn nacho tower!
But this Tiger prawn was a MONSTER in comparison and when I saw it I definitely held my breath. In fact I froze and my only thought was “I’m not catching that!”
I got Steve’s attention in the only way I know to underwater by erratically flashing my light in his direction while squealing hysterically to myself.
Stalking the MONSTER
Well, it worked and he edged his way expertly closer to the MONSTER prawn and strategically lowered his net over the creature.
The seconds seemed like minutes and I had to remind myself to breath so I would stay close enough to watch…OMG!!!
The moment the Tiger prawn sensed danger, like any prawn, it jumped, but for this thing it was like a frickin leap!!!
It scared me how quickly it moved and with such power.
Thankfully Steve has been doing this for more than 30 years and was therefore ready for the tactics of mister-not-so-clever-Tiger-prawn – HA!
The prawn scooted up in the net and was trapped in the top with the other already placated King prawns.
The squealing coming from my direction only subsided after the MONSTER prawn was safely captured in the top section of Steve’s net – the place of no return. I was soooo excited; if I hadn’t already been in the water I’m sure I would have wet my pants!
We celebrated the capture by doing a dance with our lights on the riverbed and the smile on my face while gripping my regulator between my teeth let water into my mask, typical but so worth it.
We continued on our dive catching King prawns here and there but they just didn’t compare.
As we swam along I kept looking at Steve’s net to make sure the MONSTER had not escaped and the smile that appeared each time let water into my mask again, so funny!
When we surfaced the laughter and excitement continued, packing up and taking photos of our catch which was a combined effort I must say.
I spotted it and the Love of My Life caught it – thank goodness!
The MONSTER measured a whopping 28centimetres.