So on my recent expedition, I finally had an open sea encounter with a Great Hammerhead shark. Technically, I had one at Protea Banks in South Africa, but it was VERY fast and mostly fleeting – all I saw was it’s caudal fin speeding it away from our group of divers.
In Florida, to quote erstwhile shark fisherman Quint, I got the head, tail, the whole damn thing. Unfortunately, Great Hammerheads are a speedy fish and this one was on a mission (my camera battery also died, so I didn’t get a shot), so it was similarly fleeting. But I saw it – and now, when it comes to the big sharks – I’ve only got three left I need to tally in the wild: a tiger, a basking, and a megamouth.
Sadly – this was not the only thing I would see on this dive. I witnessed a man die. The news article I’ve linked to glosses over what happened, but it was a fairly grisly way to die. As a spectator to it, I’ve been trying to make sense of it – and gosh, let’s see how my brain reacts the next time I do a big step off a dive deck or try to get up on a ladder out of the ocean. This poem is an attempt to reconcile what I know and what I don’t know about death. Continue reading “Death at Sea (New Poem)”
What’s it like to Scuba Dive with sharks? Most of the time, it is a calm, ethereal experience. But some of the time, especially when the sharks know there is food to be had, the energy in the water changes. The sharks are still indifferent to us, but they can definitely let their presence be known!
This dive was at Beqa Lagoon in Fiji, where the sharks help support the communities of Beqa, Yanuca Island, and Korovisilou.
While the sharks are given incentive to show up, the dives are regulated amongst the local community dive shops to not stress the sharks – a strictly no-touch policy among the guest divers, and non-lethal, non-invasive deterrents are used when the sharks (here, the bull sharks) get a overly aggressive (you’ll see the shepherd staffs used once or twice).
I hope you enjoy this dive, and I encourage you look up the ways sharks enrich Fijian life, from the opportunities they give communities, to their place in traditional Fijian beliefs, art, and music!
My favorite thing about shark pups is how they are more or less the same from the moment they are born to the day they die. There are, of course, important physiological and behavioral differences, but from an aesthetic point of view, they’re just… smaller (and dare I say, cute?).
This is how I do NOT like to see sharks (from the website BNQT, apparently associated with USA Today – and used under the Fair Use Doctrine):
Hi everyone who stopped by my booth at Phoenix Comic Fest this weekend! I hope I was able to teach you a little bit about sharks, and I hope if you walked away with poetry, a tiki mug, a t-shirt, a poster, or even a little shark of your very own, that you will appreciate these magnificent animals as much as I do. Plus, the profits from this weekend’s sales will go directly to Fins Attached Marine Research and Conservation.
If you came to either of my panels, I hope you learned some cool facts about megalodon and modern sharks, and I’m sorry that the Nerd Slam was cancelled (but watch this space – we are rescheduling!).
I’ll have my store more functional and with more items by Sunday, so if you ran out of Con-Cash, keep an eye out, and we’ll have everything I have quickly out to you.
And in the meantime, please check out my short film of some of my adventures with sharks around the globe! And please bookmark my site, as I add new shark-y or poetry content.