Two feet of water covered the actual reef. I stood there in my flippers and looked at my arm, which was literally swollen like a balloon with lesions across the top of the skin like burn blisters.
It was as though I’d burnt it on a stove, right across where the tentacles had been dragged.
As I was looking at it, my friend Simon came walking across the reef in his flippers towards me.
He was wearing a full wetsuit, as they all did because they were brought up in the tropics and the water felt cold to them.
He looked at my arm, and then he looked at me. He asked breathlessly, “How many?...... How many times have you been stung?”
I answered, “Four I think.” He said, “Invisible?..... Was it transparent?”
I replied, “Yeah, it looks invisible.”
Simon hung his head down and swore. He said “One sting and you’re finished, just one!”
He put his flashlight up to his face and I could see written there the seriousness of the situation.
I said “Well, what am I doing with four of them on my arm then?”
Simon was panicking,..... and I was panicking, because he had been diving for more than so many years and knew about these jellyfish.
“You’ve got to go to the hospital.” He said, “Aller, aller, vite.”
The main hospital was 15 miles away...... it was the middle of the night..... and I was half a mile out to sea on a reef.
I could hear him say “go”..... but I felt paralysed standing there......
He was trying to get me back into the boat. As he dragged me in, I realised that my right arm was literally paralysed and I couldn’t lift it up out of the water.
At that point, as I was trying to drag my arm up out of the water into the boat a fifth jellyfish swam across it and added another lesion to my already disfigured forearm.
In my heart I thought, “What have I done to deserve this?”
Then I got a flashback of my sin..... I knew instantly what I’d done wrong...... There were plenty of things I had done to deserve this...... You don’t get away with anything.
My two friends lifted the boat over the reef with me in it. It was ripping the bottom. It was a wooden boat, and the boat was their livelihood, so I knew the situation was very serious for them to be doing that. They lifted the boat over into the lagoon and were swimming, trying to push the boat to get it going. I said, “Come with me!” But they replied, “No, it’s too heavy, get the young boy to take you ashore”. So this young kid was pushing the boat to shore with a pole.