Swimming with sharks

A blue shark appears from the depths.When I lived in London, I never went to the Tower. A Madrileño I met claimed never to have entered the Prado. There are Cairenes, I’m sure, who keep meaning to visit the Pyramids. I know I’m not alone in often ignoring what is in my own backyard. The attractions of faraway always seem more alluring. But with the Covid crisis we have all become aware of how important it is to look for the treasure under our noses. That’s why I’m on a fishing boat heading out of the tiny Pembrokeshire port of Dale with oceanographer Richard Rees and skipper Andy, plus several excited – and slightly apprehensive – photographers and divers. The group is a little diminished to keep social distance.

Andy has been sailing these waters off the Welsh coast all his life, mostly ferrying anglers out to the rich feeding grounds 30 miles offshore. We are on a mission to see, and swim with, marine creatures that most people, including myself, associate with more distant, exotic locations.