How can I compete with the Captain's Log! All those glowing photos from the Indian Ocean. The corals, the feather stars, the fish, the colours...
Has the time come to tell the story of MY first dive? Maurice the Mussel might like to hear it anyway, so here goes.
As the warm turquoise waters of the English Channel close over my head, I adjust my face mask and swim for the coral reef and all its promised glories.
Then - and this is a dream come true for me dear readers - I find myself part of a strange new world, full of colours and shapes I could only dream about before. I swim through a vast herd of kippers and marvel at the glistening golden brown of their smoky bodies, as the hot tropic sun plays on them through the blue water. Then, suddenly, I arrive at the reef itself - that coral castle, a monument to the tireless energy of millions and millions of tiny fish fingers.
Startled, a shoal of whitebait dart away from me like streaks of pale fire, and their attendant lemon slices scatter in panic; while beneath me a shoal of scampi roll majestically by, their orange coats a near perfect camouflage in this sandy underwater world.
Alerted by a panicked wokful of sweet and sour shrimp paddling past, I turn to see a large codfish in hot pursuit. This is wonderful. At last I may be able to solve a marine problem that has baffled the experts for years. Just how do they keep their batter so crispy with all this water down here?
Fearlessly, I move forward to examine the monstrous creature, and also, truth be told, to have a quick read of its newspaper. But - with the sinking of heart and sharp intake of breath that only a fellow diver will understand - I realise that there is something bigger and infinitely more menacing lurking in these coral waters.
OH NO... its my old geography teacher.
Now I am going to have to spend the rest of my day writing out a thousand times that there are no coral reefs in the English Channel.
I hope the nun who taught us biology isn't going to turn up next.