Ian and Maria Real Engagement Story

Ian and I got engaged while on holiday in South Africa in June 2003. We are both keen scuba divers and we were there on a diving holiday along with 20 or so members of our club – a nice intimate gathering you could say! I knew nothing about this until afterwards but apparently Ian had wanted to propose on the flight over in the flight deck but with current security precautions that wasn’t possible. So, on to plan B in a shark cage!

One of our trips was to watch Great White sharks from the safety of cages dangled on the sides of the boats. Ian had planned to propose in the shark cage while we were submerged – he had written ‘will you marry me?’ on a wrist slate used for communicating and making notes under water. When I think back now, perhaps he was just trying to drown me as I’d have surely taken a gulp of water if I’d read that underwater!

As things turned out the sharks weren’t very interested in us and the weather was turning bad so, before we managed to get into the cage, the skipper turned the boat around and headed back for shore. I was quite pleased as several of us were getting a bit green round the gills!

I was then invited up on to the upper deck by someone else on the boat (they were all in on it, the swines!) to ‘look at the pretty seals’. There was an island nearby (Dyer Island for anyone who knows where I was) that is inhabited solely by seals. I was looking at the seals, trying to look all windswept and interesting in my wet suit and all of a sudden I was aware of Ian going down on one knee holding his wrist up to my face where I could read what was written on the slate. I looked at the others and saw about ten pairs of eyes staring at me as the penny dropped!

I was shocked to say the least – it was the LAST thing on my mind – Ian presented me with a beautiful ring and I was gob smacked! I finally accepted and had to sit down for the rest of the journey – it was like a dream!

Someone had got a mobile on the boat and unbeknown to me had made a sneaky call back to shore to say I had accepted. We got back to our hotel and the others in our group met us in the bar and we celebrated with champagne. We finally got back to our room a couple of hours later only to find that someone had sneaked into our room, decorated the bed with loads of foil confetti, left us a dozen red roses and more champagne. I just burst into tears then – it all became too much!

It was a wonderful moment to top off a wonderful day in a wonderful holiday and I look forward to becoming Mrs James next September!

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