The aquarium at which I used to work was often used as a fancy private party venue, and there were a lot of ways to spend cash beyond renting the space, including ordering up a dive show. As the dive program coordinator, I was often involved in the production of these shows.
It was pretty cute. We'd wear costumes over our wetsuits and hold signs welcoming partygoers. During the show we'd feed the fish and wave at the guests, blow bubbles, do tricks and generally be entertaining.
For whatever reason, during one of the largest parties the aquarium ever threw (I think it was for some giant tech company, and there were 30,000+ guests), we didn't put aside a decent amount of fish for the dive show, though we had krill and veggies on hand. We also didn't see the note in the feeding log that the eels, which have slow metabolisms and sometimes don't eat for days at a time, hadn't fed recently.
Everything started out just fine. There were two of us in the exhibit, me and a volunteer I'll call Frank. The aquarium was packed, people seemed to really be enjoying themselves and we were having fun vamping for the crowds.
I was hand feeding some broccoli to an angelfish when out of the corner of my eye, I saw an eel moving toward me at eel warp speed, and he seemed bound and determined to be right in my face.
I panicked, because eels are really the only marine creature I cannot stand, so I flipped around and put my fins out to ward it off. As I was scooting backwards, reaching for some food, I remembered--darn it!-- we had no fish for the eel to eat.
It was around that time that my dive hood came off, and my hair floated free.
The reason I was wearing a hood was because our resident green turtle, a massive 400-pound male I'll call Bruiser, was obsessed with biting hair. Additionally, Bruiser was very...amorous. He had no lady turtle upon whom he could lavish his attentions, so he would hump whatever was in the vicinity; rocks, nurse sharks, plumbing, and of course, divers.
Frank came to help and, also realizing there were no fish to be had, tried to distract the eel by throwing bits of krill in front of it, to zero effect. I had just enough bandwidth to notice that the crowds watching us were loving this very, very special show.
It was then that a shadow passed over me and I knew Bruiser had discovered my hair was free. Somehow the turtle ended up perpendicular in the water column and as I was frantically trying to get away from the eel, I bumped into him mid-plastron, in the perfect position for Bruiser's erection to poke me in the armpit.
Frank was trying his best to help me, and thanks to the superior acoustic conductivity of water, I could hear him laughing uproariously.
I was up against the immovable object of Bruiser, who was slowly rotating in order to have a better shot at getting to my hair, and there was no more room to run from the eel. Frank decided that the best way to stop the eel was to grab it.
Did you know that eels are coated in mucus and are basically just a flesh tube with teeth? Needless to say, Frank's attempt failed and the eel kept on keeping on. It beelined for my face and wrapped itself around my head, getting tangled in my regulator hose (the piece of equipment responsible for bringing air from my scuba tank to my mouth so I could breathe). I was convinced I was about to lose an ear to the hungry eel.
Because I was wearing eel eyeshades and Frank was laughing too hard to see, I'm not quite sure in which order the next few things happened. Bruiser had finally lined himself up with my hair, and I felt a tug as he took a bite of my ponytail, but, because of the eel's position, Bruiser must have also gotten a mouthful of eel.
For all that they're flesh tubes with teeth, eels are shockingly strong and can move quickly when they want to. The eel's departure was so abrupt that it unseated my mask and everything went blurry. Thankfully, my regulator stayed in my mouth, so I was only blind, not drowning. Frank later told me that the eel turned around and swam directly into him, where he was hovering a couple feet away ready to pull me away from Bruiser. Frank then abandoned me in favor of not being bitten by the eel, and Bruiser continued chewing down my ponytail like it was a fresh ear of corn.
Turtles bite very ponderously (nom.......nom.........nom.......), so in between chomps I managed to free part of my hair and push him away, trying to reseat my mask, but in the end, I just lined my face up with Bruiser's manhood and made it impossible for me to properly fit my goggles.
The eel bit Frank and he screeched.
I gave Bruiser a mighty shove in his unmentionables and he briefly stopped his assault.
Frank and I popped up at the same time, scrambling to get onto the dive platform and away from our attackers. Twenty feet below us, separated by several inches of glass and a few hundred thousand gallons of water, we could hear the partiers screaming, hooting, and pounding on the glass in appreciation for our theatrics.
Cheering followed us all the way to the first aid station, where I had to fill out an incident report and wrap Frank's bleeding hand.
The next week, we were booked for a party and dive show, with a special request to include "the turtle and eel segment."