Travel: Your holiday romance
Kay Leaping escaped to the Seychelles to go diving. She didn't bank on meeting Johannes
Sunday 11 January 1998
When I arrived in the Seychelles, I realised I had made the perfect choice. Not only was the weather sunny but my German diving instructor Johannes was one of the best-looking men I had ever seen.
On the first day we were actually a group of 10 people but by the second day, for no apparent reason, that group had been reduced to just two: myself and my instructor.
There I was on the boat, floating over fabulous reefs with Johannes telling me how to breathe and how to move my body. The weather was hot and we hadn't yet put on our wet suits. He kept putting his hand on my stomach to indicate what he meant about the breathing and I was hardly conscious, let alone paying the slightest bit of attention. Not that it seemed to matter. When we dived that day the water was so clear that nothing could go wrong.
We descended slowly to an extraordinary old wreck covered in purple coral. Solid walls of fish were suspended directly in front of my eyes. It was all a dream and I felt perfectly safe in Johannes's capable hands - until, that was, I saw a small reef shark in the distance which put me into an irrational panic.
Thrashing about I blundered into the reef and knocked my mouthpiece out. I couldn't even see Johannes any more and I was breathing in water.
Thank God Johannes was still there. I felt him grab me round the waist to stop me shooting to the surface (which would have extremely dangerous). He gave me his spare oxygen piece to breathe from, and slowly I regained my composure. Then I realised that he was still holding my waist, there in the old wreck. A dolphin swam past and Johannes and I pressed our masks together for a whole minute, staring knowingly into each others' eyes.
But strangely, that pure moment of intimacy on the sea-bed was the end of it. For the rest of the afternoon on the boat I felt shy and unable to look him in the eyes. He seemed to respond in the same way. I didn't know what he was thinking. That evening I went back to my hotel, so full of angst that I couldn't even eat my dinner. I hung around the pool bar late into the evening hoping that Johannes would turn up but he didn't.
Then the next day the group was back to 10 people and the opportunity for close encounters had completely gone. Johannes was treating me just as any other member of the group. I was heart-broken.
For the rest of the week, the diving was still fantastic but nothing would ever equal that day in the wreck. And now, two months later, here I am back in my horrible office again. The only thing I want to do is take up a new career as a diving instructor.
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