|Taken With MJ's iPhone|
Shark Week starts tomorrow on the Discovery Channel. We got a jumpstart here in Shangri-La. We went to the beach Wednesday afternoon and we saw something that we had never seen in our combined 100+ years of beach going. There had been a thunderstorm at the beach, which doesn’t happen nearly as often as it does just a few miles inland, and it did something to the tidal pattern – or something. I noticed something was off as soon as LMJ and I cleared the big sea oats covered sand dune and stepped onto the actual beach. There was a group of six or seven people standing just out of the water and staring out into the ocean. What made it weird was that two of the people were teenage surfers. Surfers don’t stand at the edge of the shore and look out into the ocean and they don’t talk to middle aged beach combers, especially teenaged surfers. I knew what was up right away but my brain refused to believe it. The dolphins I saw playing in the surf reinforced my denial. There were schools of little fish flailing around, which I’ve seen before, but I’d never seen a fucken shark (g. fucken s. shark) jump out of a wave and grab a mouthful of them. A minute earlier MJ had commented that the little fishies scattering like somebody had farted indicated that sharks were in there. Silly girl, ‘twas only the dolphins enjoying a playful snack. I already watch too much Discovery Channel, and one of the things I’ve learned is that dolphins “bark” at their prey like a death metal singer to stun them. The little high pitched squeaks that sound like a parakeet who got into Lindsay Lohan’s stash is them saying hello. I decided that the dolphins were “barking” the fish out of the water. I caught the surface breaching shark attack out of the corner of my eye, which allowed my denial to hang on, since I hadn’t seen it directly. It wasn’t a satanic demon beast from the briny depths; it was just a skinny dolphin whose tail had been twisted 90 degrees, and was filled with murderous rage. A few seconds later his buddy did the same thing tap dead center in my field of view. Some of my personal beliefs were destroyed in this instant. First and foremost: dolphins and sharks don’t hang out in the same place at the same time. In the history of stuff that’s wrong, that might be the wrongest. They seemed to be getting along just fine. One of the sharks asked one of the dolphins if he had any crab boil. Second: I thought only small sharks – 3 feet max – came in this far in this part of the Atlantic. The sharks I saw were a minimum of 5 feet, that’s with me factoring in my terror exaggerating the sharks’ perceived size. I had to go through a process of remembering that megalodon is extinct, great whites and tigers max out at about 20 feet, and the sharks I was seeing probably weren’t them. Still, 5 feet of evolutionary killing perfection is enough to give me pause. The worst part was that the water was really calm – Lake Atlantic – and if I had brought my goggles I would have ignored all the clarion warning signs and gone swimming (read: been bait). I would have followed the basic human logic of “It’s Never Happened To Me Before So It’s Not Going To Happen Now”. I’m glad that I saw the whole thing. It was awesome. I don’t know if I’m ever getting in the water again, but it was still awesome.