The Nadia Laksheva series contains a lot of diving, and as they say, write what you know… I’ve just been diving with sharks and mantas in Socorro Islands, off the western coast of Mexican Baja. These are remote uninhabited islands in the Pacific Ocean, famed for sightings of many large ocean-going fish (called pelagics), including sharks and giant mantas, as well as humpback whales and dolphins.
On the menu in May were mainly sharks and mantas. For me, mantas are the most graceful creatures on the planet, and we had a LOT of contact time with them while diving, especially at a location called the Boiler. They swim very close, close enough to touch, but we don’t because that way we can transmit bacteria that can affect their immune systems – though it gets tempting at times.
As for sharks, aside from seeing the odd hammerhead, and quite a few Galapagos and Silky sharks, the highlight was on a remote island (two rocks, really) called Roca Partida, sticking up from the ocean floor, where sharks school and I was diving surrounded by anywhere between a dozen to thirty sharks, mainly white-tip reef sharks, silver tips and Galapagos sharks.
The diving was challenging, as this is the ocean so it was usually ‘choppy’, frequently with two metre swells, and strong currents underwater that buffet you like powerful gusts of wind, and the trip time between Baja and in between the islands themselves was extensive, usually invoking dramamine or other drugs to stave off the seasickness (we travelled at night, since you must always dive med-free). But the diving was worth it!
One of my favourite dives was with a small pod of eight dolphins who turned up to play for about five minutes. They are so agile! Well, a couple more photos below, a Silky from above and me with Roca Partida in the background). You can also check out a shark video on my Facebook site.
Oh, and yes, I started a new novel, managing to get some writing done when not diving or seasick! About 21k words so far, a psychological thriller called ‘The dead can lie.’ In a nutshell, a criminal psychologist (Greg) is tracking down the serial killer who murdered his wife. At first Greg believes she was a random victim, number 7, killed by the Dreamer. But as events unfold, and more bodies stack up, Greg realises this is all a personal vendetta, and he is slowly being framed for his own wife’s murder… No diving in this one I’m afraid, I need to decompress a little first!