2.12.2010

Iguanas, Starfish, Turtles…. SHARKS

We have been fortunate by having so many opportunities to see many great animals. It is a fantastic chance to sit back and watch the animals in their natural habitat. I have watched frisky Iguanas chase the Captain, ocean turtles and stingrays move smoothly through the water with hitchhikers on their backs, I watched starfish slowly inch their way across a white sand bottom with destinations unknown, graciously one afternoon a flying fish hitched a ride with us, I have swam with dolphins and dove for conch. I have even seen a nurse shark up close and personal but all of this falls short to a couple of days ago when the Capt and I were snorkeling around a nice secluded bay searching for the days dinner, conch. The sun was shining, the water clear blue as a swimming pool just shocked with chlorine, the weather warm with a nice sea breeze blowing. We were approximately 50 yards from the beach, gliding through the calm waters, each in our own little worlds with our own private thoughts going through our minds. Suddenly the Capt came to a screeching stop and I noticed this sudden change out of the corner of my eye. I turned back to see what had caught his attention. As I did he calmly waved for me to come back towards him, as I began getting closer to him he pointed and there in the distance approximately 30-40 feet was a indistinct outline that looked quite intimidating. As this object began sliding closer to us we saw that it was a black tip shark. The Captain grabbed me just about the time I grabbed him and one way or the other I ended up behind him. The shark was pacing the waters, gliding back and forth, his eyes on us and our eyes on him. Even though the water was clear blue there was a murkiness lurking about him. He did not appear to be frightened or intimidated by our presence. He was slowly creeping his way closer and closer. The Captain motioned for me to start swimming to shore. Which I did without argument! I did my best to keep down my thrashing as well as make head way towards my optimal destination in one piece all the while keeping a close eye on my Captain. During one of my glances back I noticed the shark’s relentless curiosity as he attempted to approach the Captain too close for comfort. I saw him swing our conch bag, which was empty, at the shark in his attempt to spook him off. No luck, this shark was determined to check us out. The shark continued to approach the Captain, this time the Capt made a fearless sprint at the shark. The sudden movement caused the shark to have a fleeting second guess of his motives as he retreated. But, this withdraw only lasted a moment as the shark resumed his exploration of us. At this point the Captain decided to join me on my swim to the beach all the while swimming backwards keeping a close eye on this magnificent creature. We stood on the beach together as I fought off a nervous breakdown and we re-evaluated the situation. What did this shark want with us? Why was he not intimidated by our presence? Lesson we did learn … we learned that our ignorance of not only cultures but creatures can remove a blessing that may have been. What if this shark had become accustomed to the local fisherman and divers feeding him and he just wanted to see if we had any food for him? What a blessing it may have been to have had a close personal encounter with this muscular, sleek creature? How wonderful it could have been to see God’s creature up close? What a rare pleasure that may have been, people pay hundreds of dollars to go on shark dives. Can they be that dangerous? Instead of enjoying the blessing before us we let our man made fears and our own imagination fill our minds. We have decided to learn more about sharks and their behavior so if we ever have this unusual opportunity again we will be more knowledgeable on how to handle the situation.

2 comments:

Shane Montgomery said...

This is a great story. Hopefully you will safely learn more about those fellas, the black tips. The story posted twice.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your blog a great deal. You are doing what the wife and I had planned on doing for years. Thirty years as a RN (25 for my wife) we were through raising the kids and we were leaving on Satori. Unfortunately I had three heart attacks in three years and those plans had to change. But I can at least go along with Mary Rose and you two. Means a lot to me. Ken (formerly of Satori)