SCUBA diver Hayley Short was stunned when her boyfriend Ollie Meaden proposed – 100ft beneath the waves.
Ollie struggled to one knee onboard the sunken ferry Zenobia, off Larnaca in Cyprus, and presented Hayley with a message drawn on a slate professing his undying love for her.
He then pulled out a banner asking if she would marry him and a diamond ring, which was attached to his suit with a necklace to stop it floating off into the ocean.
Hayley answered his question by nodding and told him ‘yes’ as soon as they resurfaced.
‘I had no idea what was going on, I was looking for fish,’ said Hayley, 27.
‘Then when I realised, I was overjoyed. I couldn’t say anything to him but I was nodding profusely.
‘It was such a romantic proposal, and so well thought out – I was really touched by the whole thing.’
The couple, who live together in Eastney, met 12 months ago at the University of Portsmouth’s branch of the British Sub Aqua Club.
Hayley, a Masters student in forensic psychology, took up the sport around two years ago to tackle her fear of open water.
Ollie, 30, is a BSAC instructor for the university club.
Having been on many dives together, they grew close after becoming ‘dive buddies’ – partners who keep each other safe in the water. Ollie was waiting for the perfect moment to take the plunge.
He said: ‘I’d been planning the proposal since Christmas. Hayley’s dad lives out of the country so I waited until I could ask his permission – the old fashioned way. Then I asked her mum and told my mum what I was planning and she helped me pick out the engagement ring.’
The couple plan to marry in spring of 2014. The proposal follows the trend of recent figures which show that almost 40 per cent of scuba divers found love underwater and that more than half of those went on to establish a serious relationship.