Great White Shark Bite

Hear ye! Here Ye! Step right up! Thanks to my awesome brother, we have our discounted tickets via membership passes in hand and won’t have to wait in any lines. Come one, Come all! We’re off to see, the first great white shark held in captivity, for all to bear witness. 198 days (longest in recorded history, 2005) to be exact, in the Monterrey Bay Aquarium. Until she attacked two other sharks (I heard big tuna’s) and started running into the glass, becoming listless. That’s how rumors get started. She was later released without bait, on her own recognizance.

“The Great White Shark (Carcharodon Carcharias) is regarded as one of the most fearsome marine creatures on the face of the earth”. “This is a specie that can weigh between 1,800 and 2,700 kg (4,000 to 6,000 lbs.) at maturity.” “Some of the largest specimens are as long as 20 feet”. “This fish swims up to 25 mph (40 km/h) and maybe even reach 35 mph (56 km/h) when in pursuit of prey”. “Also, they are a highly migratory species often crossing whole oceans as part of their normal routine”. Difficult to put all of that, in one tank.

The fear/obsession or I should say, deep research and extreme fascination with marine biology (not just your friendly dolphin trainer) and all oceanic studies stemmed from watching/enduring my very first movie (Jaws), “sand wedged” between my brother (whispering dun dun dun duuunnnnnnnn), and my sister (pretending to have jagged teeth and biting at me). I still love Richard Dreyfuss, whether acting with “three mechanical sharks all named “Bruce,” after director Steven Spielberg’s lawyer, Bruce Ramer, played the Great White in “Jaws” or Bill Murray (same thing). Jaws was actually made in California of polyurethane and steel.

“It measured approximately 25 feet long and weighed thousands of pounds.” However, the real McCoy can detect one drop of blood in 25 gallons of water; and I’m pretty positive, my sister can as well. Great White’s roll their eyes (and sully teenagers in general) right before an attack to protect them against damage, because they don’t have eyelids. Most hail supreme, from California, Australia, and South Africa (behemoths).

“A marine biologist, or someone who studies marine biology, can learn about a variety of organisms during their education from tiny plankton only visible under a microscope to the largest whales that are over 100 feet long”. Saw a humpback (she waved) at Fort Ross on the cliffs, standing atop the edge of Earth. Sadly, mistook a beached whale for a rock. Only to discover that it wasn’t indeed a rock, when the “rock” in question, I was standing upon, slowly started sinking. My brother yelled for me, “Jump, that’s not a rock!” My “Moby Dick” moment turned mopey. Who else do you know, besides me, that’s stood on a whale?

“Marine biology can also include the study of different aspects of these organisms, including the behavior of animals in the ocean environment, adaptations to living in salt water and interactions between organisms”. “As a marine biologist, one would also look at how marine life interacts with different ecosystems such as salt marshes, bays, reefs, estuaries, and sand bars”. “With the oceans covering over 70 percent of the Earth’s surface and providing habitat for thousands of species, marine biology is a very broad field”. “It involves a strong knowledge of all science along with principles of economics, legal matters, and conservation”.

Our culprit, for today’s matter; a teenage female great white shark was caught up in nets used for catching halibut. This area (considered a hot spot), off the coast of California, known for being a nursery and where the new mom’s chose to give birth. They like to eat the plentiful supply of stingrays. “Both adult and juvenile white sharks are ambush predators, which means they rapidly attack their prey from a concealed position”. “Juveniles typically feed on fishes, small sharks, and rays”. “Adults have a broader menu, which includes fishes, seals, sea lions, dolphins, whale blubber (scavenged), seabirds, sea turtles, rays, and other sharks”. Didn’t see your name on the list? Believe it or not, they’re just not that into us.

I’ve seen several sharks in person over the years. First experience, I was actually in the water at dusk, up to my waist. It had been an exceptional family vacation all shared. I was watching the glorious sunset with my friend, splashing in the ocean. I realized, oh wow, it’s just us out here in the ginormous ocean. Picturesque and heavenly, I looked about trying to absorb every second to permanent memory.

It got quiet, and my spidey senses, “just knew”, something’s (something something dark side) presence was coming my way. I side-eyed the biggest fin, I’d ever seen, and it was only 20 feet away! Everything in me, screamed, GET OUT OF THE WATER, NOW! Instead of pile driving in reverse over my cohort, I calmly said to my sea bestie, “let’s get back to the beach”. We slowly and methodically swam to shore, but if I could have levitated three hours home; would have. My adrenaline was pumping! At shore, we saw the fin once more, slowly descend into the unknown depths of the dark abyss. Whew, another close call! How many lives (nine), do I get?

Next encounter of the outer limits (third kind), appeared right out of Hellraiser’s she-shed, hanging from an ominous and grotesque looking meat hook. Over 13 feet long hung a dead great white shark, but not before coming back to life after days, presumed dead, and biting the arm off a fisherman/passerby. That’s what the drunk sea captain told us, as he smacked the dead carcass, making it swing from the chain, back and forth. Kind of feel sorry for the beast. “There were only five shark-related human deaths in 2018 compared to tens of millions of sharks killed annually by people”. “Sharks are in all the world’s oceans, but shark attacks are extremely rare”.

If we are speaking “loan sharks”, now that’s a different species. “Research by the government and other agencies estimates that 165,000 to 200,000 people are indebted to loan sharks in just the United Kingdom”. “Illicit loan sharking is treated as a high-level crime by law enforcement, due to its links to organized crime and the serious violence involved”. Now don’t go “feed the fishes” with this bite of awareness; better to stay out of the water. Problems solved. Really, my math has improved and I’m showing my work!

“Humans have never been able to tame or keep a great white shark in captivity and they probably never will”. They’re not pets, and not everything wants to be. I believe them to be majestic in a ferocious prehistoric way. When I saw, Miss Teen Shark (USA), she looked svelte, and fast. She calculated her moves, looked like a kid in the candy store. She didn’t want to stay in circles day after day. Her kind, meant for the road less travelled, out in the mysterious, wonderous, vast blue sea. Wave to her, as she goes “bye”.

A quote from Vera Lynn: “We’ll meet again, don’t know where, don’t know when, but I know we’ll meet again, some sunny day.” 

Thank you for sailing along with me this fine day! In conclusion to this Great White Shark Bite, I appreciate you reading a nibble. This is a disclaimer for anyone who needs one, all characters and references, people and places, a figment of my salty imagination. Ahoy Matey’s and return safely! So, “oh, the rhythm of my heart is beating like a drum and with the words, “I love you” rolling off my tongue. No, never will I roam for I know my place is home, where the ocean meets the sky, let’s go sailing” …. (oooh oooh oooh)

Come Sail Away With Me

Published by SiriusSea

Many moons ago and in a faraway land, I used to write about all things wonderous to the world and I am back to stir the seven seas of wonderment once more. As the storms pass through, I set my compass and my sights upon and beyond Sirius Sea! Welcome aboard!

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