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Damn Shark Week!

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give me gills!
Jun 18, 2003
I don't know if I'm the only freediver that's been freaked out by discovery channel's shark week but I sure have been afraid of the water since the show started.

It all started last sunday night. I turn on TV after dinner, go to channel 14. I see two white guys in Bahama's surrounded by good 30 sharks. And most of them are at least 5 ft long. All of the sudden one shark gently noses this guys leg and BAMN! the shark takes a chunk off the dude's leg! :waterwork AHHHHH!!

Then a few days later I see the crazy long haired freediver feeding a huge mako, I think.., about 10 feet long right from his hand. And he tells me that nurse sharks are actually bad tempered!

And ofcourse while all this is going on they play that music. Like someting horrible is waiting in the water for you!:waterwork

Why can't they portray the sharks as innocent and brave nature controling fish that they are? They always have to call it the nature's biggest killing machine or something. Where is the respect??

I wish I could tell you I only saw sharks on TV this week. No, no no. :naughty I belive there is a bigger force playing an important role around sharks. Let me explain.

Couple of days ago me and my brother found a busted up windsurf bord washed up on the shore. So we got a truck and hauled it back to our house. I nailed a couple of paddles togather and soon found out it's a free sea kayak!:D

I live inside of a sound that's proteced by coral reef about 1/4 miles out from the shore. (You can see the sound and my kayak in the picture below.) Yesterday I grabbed my mask and snorkel and got on the kayak and paddled out to the edge of reefs. It gets rough out there at times but there's nothing like feeling the sunset with the rocking of the light blue ocean below you. And that sweet sound of the board banging against the waves.

I put on my mask, exhale deeply in slipped down to the world below. After a few empty lung dives my relex kicks in strong. I float effortless ly in the light blue world that's only 8 feet tall, untouch coral reefs and sea fans. But there's something odd. I can sense it with my being. I look around. I see an odd swarm of grunts around me. I also see fish I seldom see, and they are bigger than how I usally see them. I've felt this way before and I have come to accept this odd feeling of alert. I keep alert and do a full 360 degree check. That's when I saw it. It must of been a nurse shark. He was over 5 feet long. Coming up a couple of feet under my kayak merly 8 feet away from me.

I can calmly and proudly tell you what went though my mind then. SHARK WEEK! The shark swam away as soon as I saw him. I tried not to be scared and avoided fast movements. I was so scared because only a few days ago my buddy and I were stalked by this strange turpin on a night dive. The turpin would come close, then turn side ways and dissaper, only to turn up a few feet way from us all the sudden. I didn't know if the shark was stalking me so I got on my board and hurried my ass back to the dock with no body parts exposed underwater. :eek: I couldn't belive I saw a shark right out side of my house. Let me tell you, I don't think I'm going to be doing any dives there during the sunset.

This afternoon I got on the Kayak again. But this time with weight belt, wet suit, mask with snorkel, and my Matrix #3 fins. My intention was to paddle over the reef, which I've never done before, attached to a bouey I saw way out there and freedive. The waves were mild today so I slowly made my way to the bouey and I roped my kayak. The waves were much rouffer than I thought and it scared me a bit. After seeing a 5 foot shark INSIDE the reef I wondered what the heck I was going to see OUTSIDE the reef.

The feeling came back again. That feeling where something serious is nearby. I told my self it's not really there, i'm just scared of the waves and shark week. Shark week tells the truth in a way that's meant to scare you. Sharks don't bite people and if it does the shark made a mistake. I was still pretty sacred. But I knew I had to go down and see what's down there. So I swallowed my fear, put on my gear and slipped into the blue world below.

The visability up to 8 feet was horrible(Prabably really good compared to anywhere else in the world:D) . You could barely make out the bottom which I figured was about 65ft. I do an empty lung dive to kick in the reflex. But I'm so scared I keep looking around for sharks.

On my second empty lung dive I saw somthing wonderful. It filled my heart with love for the way things work. There was this turtle coming swimming toward me. He gently came around to 30 ft infront of me and started to circle. I couldn't belive it. In the really really big ocean there was this 3 foot turtle freediving with me. I felt really watched over and my fear disapeared. I just glided gently around him, went to the bottom and slowly swam up. But when I took a breath and realized how strong the current was I got a bit nervous. I did a few more dives with the turtle before he swam away. I followed him a bit and when he led me too far from my kayak I said bye to him and swam back.

On my swim back I saw a fairly large creature swiming at the bottom. Neat! Must be a turpin. Wait.. That's too tall for a turpin. Ohhh.. Could it be??

It was the biggest shark I've ever seen. It looked about 7 feet long at least but that's from 60ft above. I couldn't recognize what kind of shark but it didn't look like no nurse shark to me. It's head was more taller like bull shark.

But this time I wasn't scared. I mean I wasn't going to go back down there and say hi to him but I didn't freak out like I did yesterday. I remained in the water for a few sec and slowly unroped my kayak. I said bye to the deep blue and I told her I would come back.

It was a good thing I left when I did. The waves were much stronger and after I got inside of the reef I experienced the strongest wind I've ever felt out there. After a hard paddle I've finally made it home.

And as I sit here and type away at my computer I wonder about shark week. How it has made me feel and how it took my comfort away. I'm going to have to research into shark attacks here on the island. Where, when, and how it occured. I have to clear this fog in my mind about what is safe and what isn't.

I'm not sure what made me sit here and write this long story. I wanted to share that wonders are happening constanly. Weather I realize it or not.

I don't think my encounterments with sharks are over. I feel a strong connection inside with them. Like we are related.

I want to be the one who lives with respect towards the sharks. I wish to learn the secrets of the sharks.


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Is that the view from your home!?! Not bad. I must admit shark week can give you the jitters.
I try to reassure myself that the water is more likely to kill me than a big fish, but when I am diving in murky, deep sealion infested water it's hard not to think about a big tooth filled mouth.
as a Spearfisherman I get a kick out of hearing divers pontificate about how unlikely it is to get attacked by a shark, and that humans are not on the menu, attacks are probably mistaken for seals, etc....while I am sure we are not on the main menu, we no doubt appear on the special of the month:"Fresh human flesh, marinated in seawater, pluck and serve" for the occaisional apex predator that wants to try a little strange, after all, besides the anchors, boots, and turtles found in the sacs of large toothed stealth predators one will find the occasional human head......
Nice diving, fellow spearos! (kinda makes you want to reconsider taking that .357 ph next dive, eh?) :) ( zeN
zeN, I totally agree! In the show the other day they kept saying how the Great White was not really a "man-eating killing machine" because they didn't attack the wooden dummy right away.... yet they were taking little nips at it and I can guarantee you if that dummy stays in that water longer they will eventually shred it to pieces. Which is basically what would happen if a diver swimming offshore with no easy way out of the water encountered one of these sharks.

That said, I have never been too worried about sharks when diving (from a boat) in clear water although I always keep my eyes scanning my surroundings. What really gives me the jitters is swimming in murky sandy beaches...hate it....would never do it...
Merlin said:
zeN, I totally agree! In the show the other day they kept saying how the Great White was not really a "man-eating killing machine" because they didn't attack the wooden dummy right away.... .

I think it’s a reaction to the hate wave to Sharks that spread out in the 60's and 70's and the mass killing which followed. Back then there was Jaws and the man eating machine. Today they are the wrongly understood species that attack humans only because they appear as seals. I believe they would attack humans because they appear as pray. I don’t think lions in Africa attack villagers because they are mistaken for Zibras. They just look like a good source for protein, and it really doesn’t make any difference what good intentions the shark had, when a victim is attacked. I think sharks – like any wild animal- should be treated with great respect, not love nor hate.
While it is true in the past the pendulum swung the way of characterizing sharks as evil menaces to be destroyed at every chance, it is also true that today we see the touchy-feely environmentally pc attitude of the "Walt Disney" generation that would have us believe sharks would never intentionally hunt humans, which I believe is rooted in the subconscious fear of being eaten alive, an experience that is burned deep in our subconscious memories from times past when this fear was a reality; who knows, sharks may in the future become more accustomed to human flesh, esp. as worldwide ocean pollution causes a dwindling in their normal food supply.
Anyway, as soon as you enter the ocean, you are entering a plasma environment that is a true wilderness, everything eats everything, and going into this or any other wilderness environment unarmed is foolish. But DO keep snapping those lovely pictures, after all,
"Blue Seas, sunshine, what a day to take a dive in the ocean.
Ice Cream, daydream til the sea becomes a blanket of stars
What a day for picking daisies and lots of red balloons
And what a day for holdin' hands and being with you."
:cool: signing off, zeN
had an experience beginning of the month, I was diving (scuba/solo, I know, I know) a small drop off in 100-120' off Jupiter FL, got to the bottom, through a huge school of bonita, and at the bottom were bull sharks every where, all 6 to 9 feet and very close. I drift away from that pack and drift right into another, but this time even more bulls. All about same size except for one that looked the size of a station wagon! As I am watching him (or her) swim by a six footer takes a liking to me, right at me, so I figure the prudent thing to do is get out of the water. short safety stop and as I pop to ther surface I glance down to see my 6 foot friend swimming quickly up to me in a very erratic motion. He gets within about 8 feet of me, does a jack knife and heads back down. Never been so happy to get back into a boat.

Wow John, that sounds scarey, I can't imagine scuba solo without a powerhead (which I also do), sounds like you lost one of your 9 lives :hmm zeN
A powehead is a device that is designed to hold a cartridge, that screws on your spear shaft, upon striking the target the round is fired, resulting in the bullet and gases violently striking the prey; often used for large or dangerous prey, e.g., sharks, alligators, etc. :) hope that helps:) zeN
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zeN i have watched your posts on the DP forum and all seem to advocate the use of powerheads on sharks or anything else you can hit with one.You even said they are cool.This is not a personal attack just a question as to whats up with this.Shark week is there to prove they do not eat humans as first choice.If sharks preyed on humans then noone would ever come out of the water alive.Even a powerhead would be useless against a 3M+ shark as it still relys on the human holding it,which is not top of the food chain in the water.I am pleased to be able to share stories and advise with spearo's from all over the world on this forum but you haven't posted any as of yet.If you have managed to take on a large shark and managed to land it and EAT it i would love to here the story as it would be an amazing feat.
No I have not been attacked by a large shark, nor have I had an opportunity to ph one. Along the Ca. coast you don't see many large sharks, and if you do they are often GWs which are protected. If you are looking for stories along that line there are lots of threads on the board about personal experiences.
This thread involved (at some point) a discussion on the use of phs as defense against marauding sharks while diving, and the use of phs in spearfishing in general.
I think a better question would be-where did you ever get the idea that powerheads were bad? or were unethical to use to hunt fish? or for that matter, weren't cool? They are very cool, if you like to spearfish, to hunt, if you enjoy firearms, reloading, weaponry in general, etc. I would agree they are not 'sporting' in the same way that fighting a fish on a line is, but you still have to hunt your prey, get the shot, still diving, still fighting the elements, etc.; you are not harvesting any more fish than you would with a spear point (one can poach and overharvest with any method), and as far as safety to meet a threat you can't beat them cheers zeN:)
I was under the impression powerheads were only used in dire circumstances of self defence - or to finish off a large fish speared conventionally under difficult circumstances. I hadn't realized some people regard them as appropriate for normal hunting.

My own experience has been you really have to develop a sense of the overall context in which you are participating - then it becomes possible to recognize cause and effect. otherwise you are essentially just dinkin around -
which is accomodated up to a point.

Good Luck

PS - those bulls seem to be chunk feeders - kind of undermines the whole 'size matters' thing - once you've got their attention you probably have to make yourself inconvenient - on the other hand - maybe it just liked you...you know; as a friend :).
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FYI, in Florida, the use of a power head to collect any fish is prohibited. You may use them in self defense, but, you may not possess the fish afterward. You may not possess any fish in FL state waters taken with a PH.

So, if you go into federal waters off Florida and blast away, you better bring an appetite!

GOD I CANT TAKE THAT SHARK WEEK!!!!!!!!!! :vangry :vangry

i just want to let everybody know that i met Frank Mundus the greatest shark fisherman in the world in Montauk. if you all want i can prove it to you... i bought a copy of his book Monster Man, and in the book he says that he was the only shark fisherman out of montauk and then after Jaws everybody suddenly was a huge expert on sharks and wanted to become a shark fisherman. well Shark Week is like Jaws. all of a sudden everybody thinks theyre going to be attacked by sharks every minute and end up like that guy that had the chunk taken out of his leg. i saw that show about that guy. there were 3 guys that got attacked on that show. now they only showed 3 people but i think that around 100 shark attacks each year. 100 attacked people out of how many people on the beaches? like oh say 2 million? think about the odds now. but if a shark attacks you, stick your fingers into his gill slit and pull. that would be all.
I take issue with those odds, if you are a spearo in the water with wiggling bloody fish on your belt you are in one of the highest categories of risk, you will CERTAINLY have sharks investigating you closely, whereas the average person never ever sees one in the wild
If your worried about sharks buy a Shark Sheild they work really well at keeping the curious ones away.
I use one and havnt had a shark come within 4-5 meters of me but i know if one really wanted me i would have to jam the electrode down its throught to keep it away.
They would be more likely to go after someone else.

Keeping fish one your dive belt is a bit of a No Brainer use a float.

In Australia keeping ammo is illegal unless you own a gun and guns are allmost impossable to own so i would rather take my chances with not having a power head than have the law/fisheries find on one me.

Seeing sharks depends on where you live, in the north of W.A if you swim or snorkle you will see one from time to time it may only be a black tip reefy but you just have to get used to it or get out.

It's not about worrying about sharks it is about preparation, weather your catch is on your belt or on a float you are still chumming (that's a no brainer), and that put's you in a high risk category.
In the USA we haven't allowed our goverment to confiscate our weaponry so carrying a powerhead is a matter of personal choice -zeN
In the USA we haven't allowed our goverment to confiscate our weaponry so carrying a powerhead is a matter of personal choice -zeN[/QUOTE]

We supported Our Government taking guns away, its hard to shoot someone when you havnt got a gun and thats not a bad thing.
Gun deaths in Australia last year about 30 gun deaths in the USA ???
Go Figure

Well freedom does pose certain risks and responsibilities, we Americans would no more allow our goverment to emasculate us by confiscating our right to firearms than we would give up our freedoms, but this doesn't have anything to do with spearfishing so I will abstain from further comment, no offense to the Australian spearos in here:) zeN
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