SHARK.jpg

Sharks

Back when a Nantucket vacation was still within the means (and just barely) of a regular family, I spent a few idyllic summer weeks there in the late 70s.

One of the great thrills was being whistled out of the water by the lifeguards who saw bluefish jumping off in the distance. The bluefish often brought sharks, apparently, so swimmers had to come out until the school passed. 

You can be sure, by golly, that Jaws was on everyone’s mind. But there was also something thrilling and adult (I was not yet 10) about collecting along the water’s edge with strangers, ooo-ing and ahh-ing about the danger and, occasionally, squealing about spotting a triangular fin … or fin-like shadow.

My mom, in the same mom-ishness that I employ today at the beach, would say, “Oh, don’t worry about sharks. They’ll never come close to shore. They’re more of a danger in places like California or Australia.”

I use these exact same words with my kids every summer when we visit the coast of Maine.

But then I see this, the story of a great white slipping beneath the feet of a surfer at Rockaway Beach. QUEENS, NY!

As a native New Yorker, I always thought no marine life would make it through the nest of needles, aluminum cans and diapers that I used to see, daily, on my ferry trips into Manhattan from Staten Island, and that I presumed formed a radius of detritus around the entire city of at least 5 miles.

Apparently, I’m wrong.

But, then again, according to Outside Magazine, I don’t have anything to worry about. In answering a reader’s question about how worried she should be about a shark attack, the Adventure Advisor replied:

No need to fear, Anita. You’re almost as likely to be gored by a unicorn as you are to be swallowed by a shark. So why, you’re probably asking, does it seem like the subject gets so much attention? Well, one: sharks are big, scary, and have sharp teeth—and hundreds of millions of them roam the seas. Two: when you’re swimming or surfing, you can’t see them coming. Three: every shark attack gets huge press—no matter where in the world it happens—because sharks are big and scary, and you can’t see them coming. And four: have you ever watched the movie Jaws?

Let’s examine the numbers, though. In 2011, there were 75 recorded shark attacks around the world, resulting in 12 fatalities, according to the International Shark Attack File. About one-third of the attacks occurred in North America, where none resulted in death. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 21 people in the country are killed by cattle each year. Yet no one makes scary movies about cows.

 (Aside: Rob? Bovinaphobia could be a big seller. Whaddya got the works along those lines?)

The response went on to offer some sage advice such as not swimming while bleeding.

I was mulling all this shark info over when I logged onto Twitter and began following, with some absentminded amusement, the trending hashtag “#sixwordfilmplots. There were several fun ones – the best are always from the acerbic conservative pundits – but then I saw this:

Richard Dreyfuss ‏@RichardDreyfuss

Shark kills people, people kill shark #sixwordfilmplots

Even Dreyfuss is still FASCINATED AND FRIGHTENED BY SHARKS!!!!

Well, at least he still remembers when sharks made him famous.

Does anyone here have a good shark story?

  1. Jimmy Carter

    Yeah… sure…. Born and raised in Fort Worth I’ve got hundreds of exciting shark stories…. not, wait….. I’m thinking “loan shark.”

  2. DocJay

    The first time I was surfing I had this fin pop up next to me and I was terrified. Of course it was a dolphin. It seems every year someone is munched in Cali while riding and while I have far more chance of death by cow, it doesn’t feel as negligible as a unicorn spearing.

  3. Boymoose

       

    Sharks are the most impressive creature I have ever seen underwater. Elegant power! Its an awsome thing to stare out into the blue and see a lone shark go by.

    They usually run from divers because exhaling makes allot of noise.  However if you are on there territory they will come to check you out.  On a couple of occasions I have had them go by my fin tips …. very cool!

    Google “Shark fining” and you will find out that they are being killed in larger numbers (hard to know exactly how many).  Lots of lefties pushing their agenda but I can find shark fins six miles from where  I’m standing.  They cut off their fins a push them back in the water to drown.

  4. George Savage

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 21 people in the country are killed by cattle each year. Yet no one makes scary movies about cows.

    Uh oh. Any minute now, Hollywood execs will be deluged by scripts filling this hole in the product line.  My favorite working title:  Hooves.

  5. Trace

    As a teenager I was taken to Club Med in Tahiti by my parents. The GOs (gentils organisateurs) taught us to scuba dive and then took us out on a boat and threw bloody chum into the water, attracting sharks.

    We swam among the sharks, with the sharks occasionally swimming straight for us and then darting right or left at what seemed like the last minute. There are still some ways left to thrill a teenager.

  6. Mama Toad

    Upon graduation from high school, a friend and I went to visit her older brother’s mother-in-law in Florida. She was a great lady, and took us to Key West for several days, where we snorkeled on the coral reefs. 

    We swam with schools of barracuda, saw a turtle, and deep in the reef, maybe 20-30 feet depth and about 20 feet away, I saw a tiger shark that was probably about 3-4 feet long circling around. It definitely gave me a jolt when I spotted it. So not really a tale of exciting danger and thrills, but it was pretty cool for my 17 yo self… No blood, no teeth, no scary cows…

  7. Boymoose
    George Savage

    According to the U.S. Department of Labor, about 21 people in the country are killed by cattle each year. Yet no one makes scary movies about cows.

    Uh oh. Any minute now, Hollywood execs will be deluged by scripts filling this hole in the product line.  My favorite working title:  Hooves.· 45 minutes ago

    Edited 45 minutes ago

    See its thinking like this that makes me believe we could have a great comedy show for conservatives.

    Very Funny…  Doc Savage at the improv.
  8. E35852

    This woman was a family friend:

    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Shark-kills-woman-in-Central-Coast-attack-2560673.php

    It was quite shocking.  My husband works near Avila Beach and called to tell me there was a shark attack.  I turned on the local news and almost fell out of my chair when I realized it was our friend.

     

  9. Paul Dougherty

    Wake Island is actually a series of three small islands surrounding an atoll. A wooden bridge connects two islands over a water passage from inner to outer lagoon. As chance would have it, this bridge is located about 150 yards from the only bar on the island(s). Late one night, a group of us figured “Why not”. If you jump off of one side of the bridge, you stand a good opportunity to impale yourself on a submerged, abandoned piling. I had wits enough to jump off “the right” side into about five feet of equatorially temperate ocean, from a drop of about ten feet. I have made this innocuous jump many times, during the day light. At night, the bridge is not well lit, or lit at all. When I hit the water, there has a large splash, followed by a large splash directly to my starboard at about two feet. I believe I was able to “get up on step” as I scrambled to the near bank. I looked back, first at the waterline, where there was a dark something mildly churning the surface. According to my wide-eyed, inebriated compatriots, it was 15 ft. Probably, just_nine.

  10. Wordcooper
    George Savage

     My favorite working title:  Hooves.· 1 hour ago

    That is udderly appalling!

  11. Skyler

    I watched “Jaws” when it came out in 1975 during my family’s annual trip to Nantucket to visit our relatives.  I think I’m related to about half the people who live there.  We were shocked that it cost a whopping $4.

  12. Ross C

    This sounds like a Rob Long opening but….

    I was in the thousand islands about 4 hours by boat from Jakarta Indonesia and I was out water skiing early in the day getting set up for a run and people in the boat see dark fins behind me “encourage me” to swim for the boat.  (Think the scene in Jaws where the men waste the Sunday Roast trying to catch the shark…..”Don’t look back just swim”).  Anyway after a terrifying but short swim back to the boat I was delightfully relieved that they were dolphins.  Not a shark story after all but I can tell you when you are floating at water level it seems very very scary and real.

  13. Boymoose
    Ross Conatser: This sounds like a Rob Long opening but….

    I was in the thousand islands about 4 hours by boat from Jakarta Indonesia and I was out water skiing early in the day getting set up for a run and people in the boat see dark fins behind me “encourage me” to swim for the boat.  (Think the scene in Jaws where the men waste the Sunday Roast trying to catch the shark…..”Don’t look back just swim”).  Anyway after a terrifying but short swim back to the boat I was delightfully relieved that they were dolphins.  Not a shark story after all but I can tell you when you are floating at water level it seems very very scary and real. · 0 minutes ago

    Great Story ….. sorry I think its very funny ( I could see it happening to me).  Come up to spring and will tech you to dive with those guys. 

    We have seen pods of 25 spinner dolphins in Ambon.  Indo would be a great place to eatin by a  ….. dolphin or shark! ;-)

  14. Boymoose

    Iam told the best way to get hit by a shark is to show up at dinner time, looking and sounding like, well dinner.  Do this in brackish water and you improve your odds!

  15. DocJay
    Paul Dougherty: Wake Island is actually a series of three small islands surrounding an atoll. A wooden bridge connects two islands over a water passage from inner to outer lagoon. As chance would have it, this bridge is located about 150 yards from the only bar on the island(s). Late one night, a group of us figured “Why not”. If you jump off of one side of the bridge, you stand a good opportunity to impale yourself on a submerged, abandoned piling. I had wits enough to jump off “the right” side into about five feet of equatorially temperate ocean, from a drop of about ten feet. 

    My fishing buddy was the first human born on Wake.  He fishes Guadalupe Island for tuna and has had many great white’s take his catch.

     In a month I’ll be on the equator and the mako sharks often steal your yellowfin, especially if you take your time.

  16. Foxfier

    *cough* Folks may not make scary movies “about” cows, but there are very very VERY many songs about it, and even comedy movies will take a herd of cows seriously.  (What was that Billy Crystal movie about the dude ride?  My parents still adore it.)

    Large, individual predators in  are scarier than getting gored by several, and sharks don’t have as many defenders as wolves or wild dogs.

  17. Paul Dougherty
    DocJay

    My fishing buddy was the first human born on Wake.  He fishes Guadalupe Island for tuna and has had many great white’s take his catch.

     In a month I’ll be on the equator and the mako sharks often steal your yellowfin, especially if you take your time. · 21 minutes ago

    Very cool, I have visions of this being in the era of the Pan-Am clipper and the posh hotel that once stood to service boat/plane.

      We had heard of large sharks in the area, but were confident that the reef barrier was enough to keep the lagoon shark-free.

      Enjoy your trip and live large.

  18. Boymoose
    Stephen Dawson: Dunno about mad cow movies, but our cousins in New Zealand made a fine flick about murderous … sheep! · 6 hours ago

    LOL …… Nice

  19. Stephen Dawson

    Dunno about mad cow movies, but our cousins in New Zealand made a fine flick about murderous … sheep!

  20. DocJay

    Paul, remember Jersey 1916. That bad boy swam way up river. No where is safe, not even your living room(land shark).

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