A whale shark – Up-close and Personal

To encounter a whale shark on a dive, is rare and special. To see two on the same day in two different dive sites is absolutely remarkable. It happened yesterday, on a trip with the students from JESS (Jumeirah English Speaking School – Dubai). Most members of the group of 15 middle and high schoolers were on their first dive after receiving their open water certification. They were bubbling with enthusiasm. The swam with the largest fish in the sea, and did it twice in one day.

The trip to the dive site was on an older, slower and air-condition free dhow. A few people felt sea sick, most were feeling the heat mixed with anxiety. Shortly after we ascended from our first, rather uneventful dive, a group from a distance lets out screams of joy. It was Dawn, the group organizer. She had been swimming since 1991 and never encountered a whale shark.

Immediately, everyone on board, jumped into the water with masks and snorkels and headed in her direction. There it was, what a sight!!! a huge fish, gliding gracefully in large circular patterns a few meters underneath the surface. We swam with it for a few minutes before it took a corner away from Lima Rock.

The second sight was Um-elnatt, a few miles away from the first location. Shortly after descending, Connel, our dive leader points overhead, there it was, accompanied by a dozen Remora fish. It took a turn and came towards me, the view of its mouth open for filter feeding on plankton was brilliant.

The largest fish in the sea does not pose any threat to humans. It is gentle and can be playful with divers. swimming along side it gave me a sense of serenity and peace and a great appreciation for nature and its creator. Yet millions of sharks, whale sharks among them, are being slaughtered by humans annually, some to be consumed, others out of unfounded fear generated from by the media and Hollywood.

It would be sad if the boys and girls from JESS grow up to find they can no longer swim with whale sharks because they are all gone!

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An instant recipe for a happy marriage

marriage POAGPOAG (Promise of a generation) hosted a film preview followed by a panel discussion on “Marriage: The good, The bad and The Ugly”.  The film was excellent, entertaining and thought provoking. The discussion was honest airing pain, frustration, hope, nostalgia and promise.  As a panel member, I was asked questions on my experience, and I shared a recipe I received from my dear friend Hania years back; many people asked to have it, so here it is..

Instant recipe for a Happy Marriage

  • 1 cup of consideration
  • 1 cup of courtesy
  • 2 cupfuls flattery carefully concealed
  • 2 cupfuls milk of human kindness
  • 1 gallon faith in God and each other
  • 2 cupfuls praise
  • 1 small pinch of in-laws
  • 1 reasonable budget
  • A generous dash of cooperation
  • 3 teaspoons pure extract of “I’m Sorry”
  • 1 cupful of confidence and encouragement…..
  • 2 children at least
  • 1 large or several small hobbies
  • 1 cup of blindness to the others faults

Flavor with frequent portions of recreation and a dash of happy memories
stir well and remove any specks of jealousy, temper or criticism.
Sweeten well with generous portions of love and keep warm with a steady flame of devotion.
Never serve with a cold shoulder or hot tongue.

The dialogue was great, I believe an entire series should be built around the topic.. one that late-high-school and collage youth should be included in.  Guidance is essenitial in these matters, very little of it is available. Young people should hear from other young experienced individuals and professionals.  A young lady from the audience suggested mandetory pre-marriage counciling.