(July 9, 2021) Sharks have probably been a fascination to mankind since time immemorial.
The National Geographic Channel will often feature shows on sharks. Plenty of books have been written on the subject and you can be sure that an abundance of information can be found on the internet.
I’ve often been asked what I know of sharks or what information is available regarding them in the local area.
They are certainly thought of as denizens of the deep and the not so deep. Though they are not at the very top of the ocean food chain, sharks are close to it. As the proverbial sea monster they can absolutely qualify.
I can remember surfing alone across the Ocean City inlet at the northern most point of Assateague Island, when out of the corner of my eye I saw a fin break the water’s surface. It didn’t freak me out, but did give me a start and, as you can imagine, grabbed my attention.
The quick realization was that it was a mother dolphin with a youngster by its side. A shark attack would not be good anywhere, never mind at the Wedge as it was, and still is, known. I’m sure my sigh of relief could be heard all the way across the inlet.
As far as local knowledge goes, what I hear from people that boat out to sea is that there are plenty of sharks out there. They tend to not venture into shore though because they are well fed, once again, out there.
This is key I think because sharks as well as other animals of the land and sea are always looking for something to eat.
Shark stories abound. Most have heard of punching one in the snout, if during an encounter one would have the presence of mind to do so to ward off the beast.
The most amazing story I have heard was told just a few weeks ago.
While doing ding repair duty on the front porch of the shop an acquaintance of mine told me of a friend of his who was bumped by a tiger shark while surfing in Hawaii.
The surfer ended up jumping on the sharks back, “riding” it for almost 10 yards! Apparently the shark felt enough resistance it didn’t want any part of the surfer. The surfer finally let go and the shark swam away.
The guy happened to be from Texas. I don’t know if the “Texan” had any experience busting broncos or if it would even matter but it served to enhance the story. The teller of the tale swore up and down that the story was true.
Tiger sharks are abundant in Hawaii and are known to be aggressive. This too enhanced what was probably the biggest “fish tale” I have ever heard.
Here’s the bottom line for you. Years ago I had the privilege of taking a Scuba course and became certified. During the course there was a segment on sharks. This perked up the few of us in the class, as we paid strict attention.
All the instructor had to say was, “The only thing we know about sharks is that we don’t know anything about them.” That was it! This didn’t satisfy me but it did illustrate a very good point.
Sharks are anything but predictable. It’s best to stay away if there is any notion of one or more lurking around, but unless that’s the case, enjoy your water activities.
Sure, they live there and we are just visiting but statistics show that a lot of other situations are much more dangerous.
– Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop