I wanted to share this section from one of my practice GCSE English Language papers – the prompt having been ‘describe what you see and experience as you dive downwards to explore under the sea’. This question was probably my favourite part of the paper, as it let me set my creative side free a little more than the rest of the questions did. Enjoy!
As your body breaks through the clear sapphire waves, you sink downwards, towards the golden sand. The first things that catch your eye are fish – fish in every colour of the rainbow – and more! Some float lazily by: others disappear with the flick of a bright fin. Then, your attention turns to the expanse of a coral reef that stretches as far as you can see. Underwater, everything is full of colour – just… colour tinted with a green-blue light, as the sun struggles to force its way through. Here, though, it manages to reach, bathing everything in a soft light that gently shifts with the water above. One ray of light rests for a moment on the closest section of the reef, highlighting a formation of corals. Fragile corals – the longer you look, the more the intricacy of each precious piece reveals itself. Each section of coral is beautifully formed, but none is quite like any other.
An octopus reveals itself for a moment as you float over it, before shrinking back into a crevasse. A hidden gem amongst corals – one of many. Even if you looked forever, you could not reveal all the secrets of the sea. Other gems bury themselves under the sand – various creatures, concealed by minute grains of gold. The entire sea is like a treasure chest, enclosing unfathomable treasures in ever the smallest sliver.
The silence is broken by a sudden chittering noise, as three dolphins skim by. With water all around them, they almost seem to fly, moving effortlessly. Propelling their sleek bodies swiftly forwards with a flick of a grey tail. Following their movement, your attention is drawn to the wreck of a ship. Bare bones – not hiding treasure, but hidden by a sea-full of it. And suddenly, your view is obscured – by a huge shark that drifts lazily by, pushing you aside with the water it displaces. A whale shark, mouth stretched wide to gather food.
A swarm of shining silver fish coil and wind their way past, the weak sun that breaks through the water sending glints of light bouncing in every direction. One breaks away from the shoal, nosing at an oyster before deciding that it will proffer no food. Oysters may hold potential riches to humans, but to a fish, this sealed oyster is a waste of precious time. Oysters and colourful shells are scattered everywhere – a living explosion of beauty. Limpets glue themselves to rocks, setting themselves in like jewels in a necklace. But even as more jewel-like fish stream by, you know that your time here is over. You scoop up a shell from the sand, and take one of the sea’s treasures back to the surface with you.