With all the shark attacks I have been reading about lately…
Sharks are scary to most people, they are huge, they swim at lightning speed, they have huge mouths with tons of teeth, and they appear out of what seems like thin air (but the water version…)
Most of the time that I have been in and around the ocean I never even thought about these creatures to be honest. The locals don’t worry about the sharks, and some will even tell you that they have sharks that don’t eat people.. I believe them ! Or else I would be sitting on the beach, scared to get my toes wet.
My first encounter with a shark was in Thailand, at Koh Lipe. This was near the end of our trip and I had heard numerous times that Thailand doesn’t have sharks, or they are not a threat there. We were on this beautiful little island called Koh Lipe, with an amazing beach. The locals had offered to take us out in a long tail boat so we could go snorkeling further from the shore, of course we agreed! The local we had driving the boat didn’t speak much English, so when he started yelling and laughing and pointing to the water when we were about to jump in, I was a little nervous.
We looked down and saw this shark, longer than our boat, swim right underneath us.
We later had it explained that this was most likely a whale shark and that they don’t eat people. All I could think was that shark could have easily eaten our boat, he could have accidentally eaten a little old tourist snorkeling by accident!
We still jumped off the boat and snorkeled around for a bit, not getting attacked, or even seeing another shark for that matter. I still stayed close to the boat, thinking I could out swim and jump on faster than any shark could swim to me…. wishful thinking.
When we were in the Philippines we also saw many thrasher sharks. We had been told, especially around Malapascua, that there were many thrasher sharks around. I wasn’t one to go scuba diving at the time so I did not see any sharks until we were taking a boat out to a smaller island for a day trip, having our feet hanging off the edge of the boat, when we saw a huge fin sticking out of the water quite a ways away from us. I lifted my feet faster than the speed of light, but he didn’t bother us.
I don’t know the answer to the shark question… I have lived on a pirate ship for a few days sailing the Mediterranean Sea, jumping off the boat in the morning and night to swim around. I have snorkeled, swam, gone cliff jumping, in many oceans and have never seen or heard of an attack. I think it’s like anything, something COULD happen to you, but will you let that scare you from enjoying yourself?
If there is a shark warning sign… my advise is to not enjoy yourself that day.. not in the water at least.
Maybe one day I will brave the Great White shark cage diving in South Africa.