I defeated a shark.
Albeit, a baby one. But a shark nonetheless.
As a diver and avid water enthusiast, I’ve always been fascinated with sharks. Sure, I’m terrified as much as the next guy, but I’ve always been strangely obsessed with things that terrify me (hence my all-consuming obsession with horror, gore and all things Halloween).
And when it comes to sharks, the more up-close-and-personal I can get with them, the better (unless they’re sneaking up on me to have me as dinner). Now, I’ve been diving around sharks before, and I’m sure there have been plenty of times they have been lurking below me as I frolicked at the surface, but there’s nothing more exciting than coming into contact with one (in a good way, not a “my-leg-just-got-ripped-off-by-a-shark” kind of way).
Catching the six-footer off the coast of Key West two years ago was awesome. I wish I could find the pictures to show them off to you now, but you’ll just have to trust me. But we cut the line before I even had a chance to say goodbye, let alone touch it. So catching Sharkie (as I’ve dubbed him) last week was quite exhilarating; here was a baby shark that was big and strong enough to put up a good fit but small enough to come on board for a quick photo op. As terrifyingly awesome as it was to hold the thrashing beast in my bare hands, there are still several other sea-beasts I’d like to encounter before I croak. In no particular order:
A whale. They may be gentle-ish creatures (to us, not plankton), but they are so massive and hard to come across it would be a shame never to meet one. Plus I could probably even have a conversation with one if I channel Dory from Finding Nemo.
Dolphins. I swam with dolphins on several occasions (thank you travel & tourism), and it’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever done. But I want to get cozy with a wild dolphin. I’ve tried to no avail, but I know one day it will happen. And when it does, they will push me out of the water with just their nose. I’m sure of it.
Sharks. I know I’ve already encountered several sharks, both above the ocean and below it. But until I encounter every species (okay, maybe not every species of shark, but at least all the really cool ones), this one will still be on my list. With a giant, man-eating great white at the top of the list.
The Loch Ness Monster. I know this one doesn’t technically reside in the sea (if it resides at all, which I believe it does), but it’s too noteworthy not to include. I want to dive Loch Ness and come face to face with the elusive monster and hope it doesn’t swallow me whole.
A giant squid. I’m not talking a tiny little blob of a creature that is smaller than a boat or one of those dinky ones that you see at the aquarium. I’m talking legendary Kraken-size, like, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea proportions. I want to go down in my little submarine with Jules Verne and be overtaken by a giant squid whose eyeball alone could swallow the city of New York. And then I will write the best-selling, Nobel-prize-winning novel 21,000 Leagues Under the Sea and retire with (most) of my body parts still intact.