Thought bubble for Staniel
Cay nurse sharks --|
“Wonder what a GoPro camera tastes like?”
Ahhhh… taking moonlight skinnydip in the beautiful Bahamas…. Is your life insurance policy intact?
Jaws notwithstanding, a little fear is healthy but at some point, it becomes paralyzing. The best way I know to deal with fear is getting the facts and using them to make more informed decisions.
At Compass Cay, they consider the nurse sharks their pets (click here for that post). My reaction might’ve been less mellow if I’d read the International Shark Attack file (click here for that). One of the relatively few nurse shark attacks occurred there. While it’s hard to say whether or not the victim was teasing the shark, I will be less trusting of “petting zones” going forward.
The odds of a shark attack are relatively low; with only 75 unprovoked shark attacks on humans annually, resulting in about 10 deaths*. These worldwide numbers are small given the millions of us who swim like fish in the ocean. But comparing shark attack stats which include folks who never touch the ocean to a traffic accident when I rarely take a car ride seems as silly as expecting sharks to attack on land. The odds may be low, but simply by swimming in shark territory, my attack odds are up. Nevertheless, I didn’t come to a tropical clear water paradise to never get wet.
My big take-aways?
Sharks are a bit like my experience with rattle snakes; given a preference, they’d rather be left alone by humans. Still, stuff happens. I’ll lower my my risk by taking the following steps
- No swimming in areas where there’s known, recent shark attacks (again, check www.sharkattackfile.net).
- Skipping the tourist temptations… feeding and swimming where my digits are in shark range.
- No swimming in dim light (sharks might mistake us for some tastier prey).
- Wear nothing shiny while swimming; they also attract toothy barracudas.
- If I’ve got shark vittles, fishing, spearfishing etc., beware and willing to share and scoot ASAP.
If the concept of sharks is still worrisome, keep in mind we eat a lot more of them, and we definitely do it on purpose.
* According to George H. Burgess, Director of the International Shark Attack File and Senior Biologist in Ichthyology (the study of fishes) University of Florida’sMuseum of Natural History.
Pre-posted March 14, 2014 from Georgetown, Exumas, Bahamas, Stocking Island roughly N23.31.877 W75.46.377 just off Chat and Chill / VolleyBall Beach. However, by the time you read this, we're not sure if we'll working our way up the Exumas chain with Wayne's folks (who arrived eve March 11th) until we bid Wayne's folks a fond adieu March 19th in Georgetown.