A Fish Story

When it’s raining fish, get out of the water! – Note to Traveler

On a hot September day several years ago, we headed to the Greek Island of Kythira to hang out with a few of my husband’s lifelong friends. After a long drive from Athens, followed by a one-hour ferryboat ride to the island, we finally arrived at our friend’s home near the village of Avlemonas. We were more than ready for a dip in the sea.

Our good friend, Vangelis, an adventurous explorer, was eager to take us to a secluded cove he had recently discovered off a rocky islet not far from the shore of Kythira. After we got settled, he whisked us away in his inflatable motorboat for a swim at the cove. I still remember how calm and crystal clear the water was that day. It looked as though you could reach into the water and touch the sandy seabed twenty-some feet below.

Eager to cool off, we wasted no time jumping into the sea. We floated in companionable silence in the secluded waters, savoring our private slice of paradise. It was the kind of experience that makes you believe to your core that life is good.

Then, out of nowhere, a school of small, silver-colored fish sailed over our heads in perfect unison. Wave after wave of what could have been a thousand fish total jumped over us. We were left speechless, caught in a heavy rain of flying fish.

After a few moments passed, I asked Vangelis if the reason he had brought us there was to see the flying fish. He hesitated, creased his brow, and said, “No. Let’s get back on the boat.”

Without further discussion, we quickly made our way back to the boat while fish continued to rain down on us. Plenty of the flying wonders had landed inside the boat. Once back onboard, we got busy trying to catch and release the slippery creatures flopping around on the bottom of the boat. It was a crazy, chaotic, and at the same time, quite humorous display.

As I tossed fish into the sea, I began to notice pieces of fish floating beneath the surface of the water. A sobering thought hit me. We had been swimming amid a predator’s attack on the school of fish. The poor fish had been flying out of the water to save their lives.

Was the predator a shark, a barracuda, or a grouper? If I wanted to make this a big fish story, I’d fib and say it was a shark. Maybe it was, but in reality, we will never know. We were just happy to get out of there in one piece.

After that day, what I do know for sure, when it’s raining fish, get out of the water!