Sunday, August 10, 2008

Swimming with Sharks

I don't like to swim alone in the ocean. My logic works like this: if a shark came with the intention of eating a human and I am swimming alone, there is a nearly 100% chance I will be eaten. If I am swimming with another person, that drops to 50%. The more people the better.

The other day I was at the beach. No one else wanted to swim, and I hate sitting on a towel and frying. So in I went, snorkel gear in hand. Normally, I don't stray far from the shore. There's plenty of crabs, fish, and other things to make it interesting. I figured I would casually move myself to the fringe of another group for safety and have a look around. But this day there was another snorkler a ways off, swimming in rocky patch where I imagined there would be even cooler sights to see.

Calculating my shark-odds, I approached him and asked if there were fish to be seen. He nodded in the affirmative and waved me closer. As I got closer, a 2 foot long harpoon-gun materialized in his hand. This possibility I had not calculated. Fortunately, it was not pointed at me. Turns out he was fishing, and he already had three purple fish the size of my hand strung on a wire. Las Terrenas is full of people carrying all manner of fish, crab, or shrimp through the street looking to sell them to whoever is interested. He wanted me to help, and asked me to carry his fish.

I tagged along, trailing behind me a string of dead fish, scanning the briny deep for any predators larger than myself. My new partner swam and dove, peeking under rock outcroppings for his particular pray, and meanced all sea life in general with his harpoon. We were a good team.

But then the following train of thought ran through my mind: Sharks eat fish. People chum the water with dead fish to attract sharks. I am holding a lot of dead fish. I am chum.

With that I bid a hasty good-bye, and beat a retreat to the shallow waters. Below I've listed two of my other ocean phobia. On another note, so far my faithful blog readers have raised ZERO dollars for the very worthy cause I wrote about here. Go check it out, please, and donate something, even if it's 5$. Every little bit helps.

Other Things to be Scared of in the Ocean:
  1. Giant Squid/Octopus
    I saw a giant squid once at the Smithsonian. It was big. Its tentacles long. Death by octopus would be extremly unpleasant. A big purply arm reaching out of the deep, encircling you, drawing you towards its gaping maw. It might ink you if you struggle hard enough, but eventually you wind up in its mouth where it gums you until you are no more. Fortunately they are rare and as of today no one has died by octopus.

  2. Sting Rays
    Sting rays, I heard, have the most painful, non-fatal sting of anything on the planet. They hide under the sand until you step on one and WHAM! You're down for the count. My friend Joe once got stung by a sting ray in Ecuador and they had to call a doctor.

  3. Put Your Own Here
    What else should I fear in the ocean? Leave a comment. Let me know!

1 comment:

Meghan said...
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