Thats not a dolphin

June 16, 2014 0 Comments

Thats not a dolphin

Not a phrase most people want to hear. Usually followed by some choice swear words and occasionally very frantic paddling/swimming/movement landward.

In a personal record, this has been a phrase I have heard 3 times in the last fortnight and this isn’t counting, the hoax viral great white in the harbor video. Twice over the long weekend while surfing at Boomerang Beach and once in the south corner of Manly. In the first case, for what appeared to be 2m dusky sharks feeding on the bait fish corralled throughout the bay and the last, a not so well sighted but large hammerhead just beyond the backline.

For each, there was definitely a heightened sense of awareness but on no occasion was it threatening. It did however get me thinking on our experiences with these and other ocean creatures. After all, we are the proverbial Goldilocks in this environment, nipping in for a bit of enjoyment and then returning to terra firma. It’s simply an occasion of when, not if you will meet the home owners.

After all, we are the proverbial Goldilocks in this environment, nipping in for a bit of enjoyment and then returning to terra firma. It’s simply an occasion of when, not if you will meet the home owners.

In most experiences, where we get to interact with dolphins, whales, seals, penguins, turtles etc we are left feeling elated at the opportunity to share space with these creatures and observe them in the wild. Not so many ‘ahhhhhhs’ when our more toothy friends make an unwelcome appearance. Joining the food chain is an unsettling feeling. Just imagine the life of a baitfish, entirely dedicated to terrified darts and dwindling friend base!

The thing is that sharks themselves, are actually a fairly persistent presence at most locales. If you pay enough attention, you will notice them in the periphery, going about their business and making a point of being in the shadows and unnoticed. Generally the way most of us like it! The actual number of times you have had experiences with sharks far outweighs the times you were a knowing participant. So should we not be joyful when we do notice? After all, these are one of nature’s most exquisite creations moving with grace in their natural environment. Should this rare moment not also be treasured?

Having had some truly amazing experiences diving with sharks balanced out by some not so comfortable moments surfing , I would say the answer is “assuming everyone keeps their limbs/fins” an unequivocal yes.

For the record, after 30 years in the ocean, the creature that has come closest to seriously injuring me was …………. ironically, a dolphin aiming for a shot on ‘dolphins funniest home videos’ with a barely missed ‘surfer landing’ jump.

What do you think? Have you had any interesting or close encounters?



Russel P
Russel P

Author

Has spent over 30 years of his middle aged life trying to spend more time in the ocean. Likes to surf, bodysurf, free dive and pretend he enjoys chasing big waves.


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