Katie sees sharks

Our own private Idaho, Katie, driving our boat to nowhere. Photo by Christopher Southwick.

I’ve told you about Katie, the young girl from Idaho who was homeschooled and not allowed to listen to music or watch TV when she was growing up. We kid her endlessly but she’s really one of my favorite people on this trip. She’s such a dichotomy: so naïve yet so bold. She hasn’t done anything in her life, really, yet I don’t think there’s anything she’s not willing to try.

So yesterday we’re out on one of the resort boats, me and Marguarite and Katie, just tooling around, enjoying the amazing water and the warm day and the tropical beauty of the place. Like a little kid, every time Katie gets near water, she just has to stick a hand or a foot in it. So here she is, leaning over the side of the boat as we zip along, stretching her body out as far as she can so that her feet skim the water.

“God, she’s cute,” says Marguarite, watching her. We’re sitting in the bow of the boat, keeping an eye on her like parents over a young child playing in the resort pool. Just then, Katie looks up at us with concern in her face and says, “Uhmmm…I think there are sharks.”

“What?” says Marguarite, jumping up.

Both of us hurry over, concerned that some sort of great white is about to pull our little Katie into the deep blue sea.

There are indeed gray fins cutting through the water just inches away from where Katie’s pale feet still dangle. Dolphins. A pod of them. Darting in and out of our white water wake.

“Haven’t you ever seen dolphins before?” I ask Katie. She shakes her long dark hair. “Never?”

“Well, not in the wild,” she says.

Marguarite looks at me and I look at Marguarite. Of course Katie has seen dolphins before. In books and maybe in a movie. But never in the wild. Like here in Fiji. So of course she thought they were sharks. Who wouldn’t?

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