I absolutely love the ocean. The smell of salty air and the feel of sand just puts me in a trance.
As for swimming in that great big body of water with creatures that lurk beneath, that’s another story. Well, it has become a different story for [me] this summer. Every summer season there is Shark Week. Confession; I have been known to tune in and watch Discovery Channels Shark Week. I don’t recall the exact year when Discovery began the now famous and competitive Shark Week, but I can remember my older two watching with excitement and a little horror. And then there is Jaws. I’ll never forget watching Jaws in a crowded movie theater with my father. He too appreciates the ocean. In 1975, Jaws put my own father into a state of “movie goer panic” during that New Jersey beach season. It eventually wore off, and he continued to enjoy swimming laps against the waves. My husband loved the movie Jaws, and his favorite line is “you’re gonna need a bigger boat“. Football Superstar never looked over his shoulder for the dorsal fin of the almighty sea creature that could pull you down in one…..well….gulp. He said he never heard the music, that’s why. [shaking my head]
Now it seems as if sharks have been in the news more than politics. The TV is limited in our home, but as I fire up my lap top, I see news briefs and advertisements. Sharknado, Shark attack, Shark this, Shark that! My heart goes out to the families that have lost loved ones in these attacks. As well as the survivors of the latest shark attacks just within hours and days of each other. The area where we plan to retire is among the top 5 states where sharks return and feed each season. This I learned while watching one episode of Shark Week. Apple asked if she could watch the week-long program, stating she can’t understand why people dislike sharks so much. She continued telling me what she knows about these large and misunderstood sea creatures. Without choking on my iced tea, I told her maybe we can watch a few episodes, but I wanted to make sure it was appropriate, and wouldn’t create a fear of the ocean. As Apple continued with her facts, I got caught up in the moment when she said….”they are kind of cute“. What!? Oh, you mean cute as in Finding Nemo, and Sharks Tale?
That was the longest discussion on sharks that I ever had with any pint size person. And honestly, I enjoyed listening to her fascinating facts and theory on why sharks are misunderstood. So, we made Shark Week a family adventure.
After watching Discovery Channels Shark Week, I’ve come to appreciate [I think] sharks. Maybe I don’t really appreciate them, but I respect them. [how’s that?] I learned for the most part, they are loners. So they don’t make friends easily. [that was a joke]
I already knew their diet, so I had NO interest watching while the shark decided to snack. There are over 400 species of sharks. I was amazed [I think] on the sharks ability to leap out of the water. As the narrator informed viewers – 10 feet is recorded for a great white leaping out of the water near seal island. I silently sneered….oh, yippy.
I respect and appreciate biologist and oceanographers who film and study sharks. But I still don’t get why there are those who load up the boat with the family dog, refreshments and fishing gear to only find themselves in a messy situation. Let us appreciate and view these creatures from a safe distance. Why chase down something with a mouth the size of Delaware, and has a higher vertical jump than any NBA player. Lets just watch them on Discovery Channel. [that’s a plug for a Piranha parent who works for DC] And then there are Piranhas!
Are we safe swimming in any body of water? A lake has bacteria. What’s in a river? Saltwater lakes? Alligators and crocodiles. Swimming pools? Was that really a Baby Ruth?!
My family will continue to vacation by the ocean. But now, this Momma is not as eager to have my children, my husband, our future pup or myself jump into crashing waves. Maybe this beach home will need a pool after all.
For those who enjoy your ocean swim…… be safe and enjoy!