Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shark Stories

I have always had an obsession with sharks...being the apex predators of the sea, which I am also fascinated with...I can't live without the ocean, the majesty and beauty of it, the mysteries of the deep, the folklore and the truly amazing nonfiction that is associated with it, is just a source of endless fascination.

I think of the story of the woman who was kayaking off of Catalina island, while her husband and two sons fished off of their boat.  Apparently, when this family would take weekend excursions out to sea, the woman would untie her kayak and take some time to kayak in the open ocean while the men fished.  She said the peacefulness of the sea was breathtaking, and she enjoyed the time alone very much. 

On this particular occasion, she was violently "bumped" by a large object that forced her kayak forward...when she looked, she saw an enormous grey mass, and she assumed it was a whale, until she saw the towering dorsal fin break from the water.  Realizing she was having an encounter with a great white shark, she began to paddle away in a panic.  The beast then slipped below the waves, and attacked the kayak from below, launching her ten feet into the air, while nearby fishermen watched in disbelief.  She then landed in ankle deep water, in the middle of the ocean.  The reason:  she was standing on the back of the giant creature. 

There, in front of an audience of horrified fishermen who were on their way to rescue her, they watched as she rode the enormous creature, who was now going out even further to sea with her.  Her last chance was to jump from it's back and take a chance swimming to them, which she did successfully.  This story has completely fascinated me by the sheer enormity of it--how many people on earth can say they rode on the back of a 20 foot great white shark?  Perhaps only her?  We know Jonah rode *in* the belly of the beast, but not on it's back.  Amazing.  She should've played the lottery when she got home!

There are so many other stories, many that do not have the same happy ending, but are fascinating none-the-less.   Maybe one day I will write a compilation of my favorites....for other shark admirers.

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