“Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear, / And he shows them pearly white. / Just a jack-knife has Macheath / And he keeps it out of sight.” Bertolt Brecht
I live with water ~ lots & lots of water & in that water live certain things I can certainly live without ~like sharks.
We all have our shark stories. Mine start early because my folks were boaties & I am not a good traveller. The only thing I know for sure I won't get sick on is a train. Unfortunately for me three out of 5 members of my family were prone to sea sickness & the only way to put of the evil moment when my stomach finally rebelled was to travel as far away from the rest of my family as possible ~ which meant I rode the bowsprit. If you have long legs & ride the bowsprit your feet are prone to trail in the bow wave. Trust me. A shark's sense of smell is not over exaggerated. Within an hour you would be guaranteed to see the first fin break the water. At which point I removed my feet.
I hate sharks. I really really do.
Oh, I think they are amazing but cute & cuddly they are not.
When Star was really little we once watched quite a small shark separate a baby dugong from it's mother & make a meal of it. The ferocity of the attack is something neither of us has ever forgotten & for a long time, years in fact, Star wouldn't even put her big toe in the water of our bay because she knew what lived out there & it wasn't nice.
The boys, naturally, have had more than their fair share of encounters. They shot home one time, white faced & shaken because a monster was rubbing the bottom of the dingy & trying to rock it. Another time they thought one was going to actually land in the dingy with them as it shot over their bow because sharks, like dolphins & whales, leap & jump & play in the water. Can't say any of my sons were impressed at the time. Sharing dinghy space with a live shark was not something any of them wished to experience in a hurry.
And Theo once met one at close quarters while out surfing. He didn't hang round to get better acquainted.
However the best tale goes to Dearest who has dived & been an oyster farmer ~ two occupations likely to bring you into contact with sharks ~ but his story occurred while doing neither of these things. Rather he was on holidays at Blacks Beach up Mackay way standing on a sand spit & casting into the break for whiting on a receding tide.
I had just waded out to see how he was doing & was on my way back to the beach when Dearest noticed a shadow in the water. Dearest is a bit of a crock these days but he used to be something of a daredevil back in the day & keeping a cool head when disaster & unexpected drama erupts is something Dearest does rather well. Keeping a wary eye on the long shape starting to zig~zag towards him he placed his mesh fish basket against his shins ~ though really any shark worth it's salt would have swallowed that in one gulp! Then tucking his brand new & rather expensive fishing rod under one arm he armed himself with the yabbie pump & waited.
It's a good thing I was well on my way back to the beach by then because I swear I would have been sitting on Dearest's head gibbering at this point. Even knowing a shark's weakest point is it's nose does not comfort me.
Dearest is brave. He stood there with the water breaking around him & this long dark shape zig~zagging towards him & he waited till it rolled, which is what a shark does as it prepares to attack, then stabbed at it's nose with the yabbie pump. He missed.
He had another shot.This time he smacky~doo~dahed that shark right on it's nose. Dearest says there was the most almighty splash & the shark was gone. Just the same Dearest stood there anxiously scanning the water & too terrified to move until the tide receded & he could step onto dry land but any time you ask him about this he points out he still had a firm grip on his rod when the dust finally settled.
The thing is I don't like sharks & being a boatie I've heard some horror stories from people whose boat had gurgled into the murky depths leaving them to fend for themselves in water where they couldn't *touch bottom* ~ so I was inordinately pleased to learn that something could take a shark on & win. There aren't too many of those in the ocean. Most things that encounter a shark are on the losing end. However there are killer whales out there that have learnt how to turn shark into dinner. In N.Z they herd them onto the beach. In California they attack from underneath, flip them & this renders the sharks helpless & an easy meal. So cool Dontcha think?