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The Secret Shark Wedding

The Secret Shark Wedding

Sonja Walker

Where do I start? 
I received a phone call from a very excited lady asking me to photograph a wedding. Before I could ask any questions.
All these interesting facts came up. 
It’s a surprise! (for the bride)
It’s on a boat! 
It’s tomorrow! 

Well, I nearly died when I heard all three of the above, as I don’t do boats! What if the surprise is not welcome?
What? Tomorrow? geez.. I just said ye! Why not? 
I had no sleep what so ever that night! The little sleep I got lead to nightmares. 

Masha & Jonathon went out to work volunteering at the International Marine Volunteers, a Great White Shark Conservation Programme in Gansbaai, South Africa. Jonathon arranged everything so that Masha believed it was just another trip on Slash Fin, taking guests out to go cage diving. On board it was the crew of Marine Dynamics. The Zimbabwean gospel choir who has a dear place in Jonathon’s heart, Pastor Frikkie Zeelie and Myself. Masha got told that this a a trip for  prisoners on a rehab cage-diving trip. Pastor Frikkie and Myself was there to guide them as leaders…… hahaha 

On the boat… I got bruised on 8 different places within 5 min of leaving shore. I was so scared of getting motion sickness, I prayed very hard. I imagined hanging over board since Meredith’s phone call. On board I had no idea who my clients were!!!! Freaking out, Jonathon showed me a thumbs up and seconds after he started feigned motion-sickness. Masha then tried taking Jonathon to the front of the boat then he was alone with her. He then collapsed to the floor. In the perfect position on one knee he grabbed that diamond out of his pocket. 

He proposed to the love of his life.
She was shocked!!! Everyone was staring and she realized very soon everyone on board knew. 
Knew what? 
He started hinting that they have everything on board to do the ceremony, He even asked her. What else do we need. Masha then shouted. 
“Shaaaaarks!”

Jan,  our boat’s skipper, ex-diamond diver and an absolute dude said he has a wedding dress and suit tucked away in the cabin. Jonathon got dressed and waited outside on the boat for Masha while she was getting ready to marry him. 
While she was getting dressed myself had to take a moment…. I went to pastor Frikkie, told him to please pray for me as  I was worried there will not be any wedding pictures. I then realized… sho….. He needs prayers himself!!! In minutes the sea got rough!!! Chaos over chaos! I did everything in my power to stay afloat and keep on breathing. Pastor Frikkie went for it first! Jonathon thought this was really funny and giggled,  asking me to take pictures of this sight in front of me. The sense of humor he had, had me laughing. The boat was rocking and waves were splashing all over!!!! Choir members went for it one after the other. The voices became less and less. I could see in the crews faces they look worried about me. Jonathon shouting. Go Sonja… Go if you should go. 
I just couldn’t! I have never prayed this hard in my life! I believe my faith was stronger that day than yours Pastor Frikkie. 

During this Perfect Storm, there was a beautiful 30 minute period when Pastor Frikkie (who was vomiting up until 5 minutes before the ceremony) pulled together a beautiful marriage ceremony for Masha and Jonathon.  As soon as the ceremony was done, Pastor Frikkie rushed for his sick bag again. 
When the I do’s were done, Jonathon sang to Masha accompanied by the gospel choir. The rest of us got ready to go home. The motion sickness was running wild that even Masha had to beg for a medical mint and water. 

When we reached the shore. I was wet from head to toe. (Camera included.) It was very close to dark and i quickly took a shot or 2 of Masha and Jonathon on land. We headed to the Great White House in Kleinbaai. There we had a quick reception and with no doubt was i the happiest girl to be back on solid ground. 

Congrats Mr & Mrs Hogg. 
Hope to see you soon again! This time i’ll gladly choose the location please! 

The Secret Shark Wedding

Sonja Walker

Proffesional Photographers (Husband and Wife team) specialising in: Weddings Births - home or hospitals (International registered) and all lifestyle shoots. Video and still services.

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