Nicholas and I are delighted to share with you some very special Friends for Sharks news


…. we are engaged to be married!

We have spent the past two weeks on Rarotonga in the Cook Islands providing our Friends for Sharks event for the local schools and Friday 13th March turned out to be a day we will always remember.

It was the day that the sun finally decided to come out and greet us after two weeks of stormy weather and we had arranged to go scuba diving with Pacific Divers. We were up early and Nick was stressed because we missed the local bus, which was unlike Nick in the face of a mini crisis. A quick call to the dive centre resulted in us being collected by our dive guides on the way to the jetty half an hour later and all was well.

The first dive site was a two minute boat trip from the jetty, the sea was only slightly lumpy after the recent storms and it was blissful to be weightless in the water after months away from scuba diving. We descended to approx 15-18m to a lovely area of hard corals, which was abundant with every size and shape of coral imaginable. They were not colourful corals but looked healthy and there were plenty of small reef fish to enjoy. We also saw three moray eels, five nudibranchs and a large friendly triggerfish. We swam out across and through the coral gardens to the drop off and admired its dark, ominous depths where the sand suddenly shelved away into oblivion. We swam out into the big blue briefly but there were no passing sharks or other creatures of the deep to be seen. We levelled off at 25-26m depth and came back to the coral garden fairly promptly to avoid being disorientated by the emptiness and lack of depth references.


Rarotongan corals


The dive was fun and short, approximately forty minutes long and Nick and I came up for our safety stop at 5m. Nick then randomly started playing underwater charades with me by demonstrating the film Jaws. I thought it was a fun way to pass the last minute of my safety stop and then he ‘got down on one knee’ by wrapping his leg around the safety line, started miming the shape of a wedding bouquet and produced a shiny, silver ring from his rash vest sleeve. Life slowed down as I watched Nick loosen the ring from its tie around his wrist and he presented it to me. I nodded yes, realising he was asking me to marry him, and then could not stop laughing and smiling in shock/joy and kept flooding my mask. I could barely hold my mask on and regulator in my mouth and had to regain control of myself a few times before I could focus enough to let Nick place the ring on my finger. I then signalled that we HAD to ascend as I was bursting with smiles that I could no longer contain. As we surfaced I laughed and smiled and held my fiancé! The swell filled my gaping smiling mouth with a huge gulp of sea water and we made our way back to the boat amidst the swell. I could barely remove my own dive kit and made no sense as I boarded the dive boat and sat there in shock, smiling away, whilst Nick held me.


Friends for Sharks Engagement

The ring


We celebrated with a cup of hot milo, whilst sheltering under the boat canvas roof when it rained, followed by a second dive at a nearby wreck dive site and I could barely function thanks to the excitement, ongoing shock and beautiful shark engraved ring upon my finger. We held hands in the deep blue sea, I continued to admire my ring underwater, barely scanned the wreck and swam through a lovely garden of toadstool shaped corals. I don’t remember much of the dive itself other than an overwhelming feeling of peace and belonging in my life. We had started that day as partners and were then diving as fiancés.

We celebrated afterwards with our new dive friends and they very kindly treated us to lunch at a delicious local restaurant called Captain Moko’s. We then visited the Rarotonga botanical gardens for tea, cake and beautiful scenery.


Lunch at Captain Moko's

Ring close up

Rarotonga Botanical Gardens

Tea and cake to celebrate


We caught the bus home in a fit of smiles as our engagement sunk in and shared a couple of beers with the other hostel guests on the veranda. I felt so shy sharing our news but soon gained my confidence. Nick and I then spent our evening watching the sun set with Bobbie the hostel dog on the beach as we drank a bottle of Moët champagne that Nick has purchased as a surprise at Los Angeles duty free. He had also bought two champagne cocktail swizzle sticks from the mixologist at Bedruthen Steps Spa in Cornwall. What a surprise! Yum! We watched a pink, orange and red sunset and enjoyed our time together on the bench under the palm trees until later in the evening. The stars were magnificent and we soon felt weary for sleep. It had been a perfect day and I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep next to my husband to be.


Nick & Moet

Bobbie Dog

Sunset from Rarotonga