Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Am I insatiable or what??

I got back recently from South Africa where the "tiger action" was sub-standard, unfortunately: Rough seas, winds, relatively low water temperatures, very poor visibility, few tigers, and those who showed up didn't stay, were not 'players' as the local shark operators say - it just was not what I expected.

About a week before I arrived in Cape Town, I was informed that six tiger sharks were killed when they got entangled in the infamous shark nets of Scottburgh - not a good foreboding at all...

My very last day at Aliwal Shoal, however, was fantastic: 25 m viz (the best I ever experienced in Aliwal Shoal), four tigers - plus the usual bonus of 30-40 black tips sharks. They are beautiful, 'sharky' sharks, between 1.5 and 2 meters, and their behavior always reminds me that sharks are being called 'pesce cane' (dog fish) in vernacular Italian. The black tips are like a bunch of lovely, completely non-aggressive dogs, especially when they 'infest' the waters!

Yet the underrated black tips pale, indeed become almost irrelevant when the first tiger shark arrives at the scene, attracted by the chum and bait. I am not being a shark racist but that's just the way it is - for me and most other folks. Tigers simply spoil you.

It is impossible to get used to the sensation you feel when the tigers swim by intensely looking at you. I simply refuse to believe that they do so to check you out as potential prey; such observation is sheer non-sense, uttered by people who don't know.

Tiger sharks look at you, and approach you, calmly, because they are just as curious as you are when you see other creatures. No other reason. Or do you perhaps think of a succulent dish when you get to see a pig in a barn or in the wild? No, you most likely don't, even if you weren't Jewish...

Tigers are the most majestic sharks: Gentle, sure of themselves, inquisitive, yet cautious, and if judged by their dark, large eyes they look highly intelligent. All tiger sharks look intelligent which is not what can be said about many (most?) humans... :-)

So, anyway, here I am back in Bolivia, already looking forward to my next tiger shark adventure later this year - not in South Africa but in the incredibly clear waters of the Bahamas, and as if my good friend Der Playbird, aka Paul Spielvogel, could have sensed my joyful anticipation, he sent me some very sharp photographs today, to "brighten my day" as he put it.

"Brighten my day"? Boy, yes, alter Playbird, you could say THAT!!!

When I look at these images that were taken back in 2008, I KNOW what happiness means to me - there is nothing that could make me happier than swimming with tigers, touching them gently, marvelling at them, just being in their realm for hours and hours in a row, not getting tired, let alone bored.

Ohmygosh, I wrote more than I wanted to... Sorry! I tend to babble...Now have a look at the Spielvogel photographs, and enjoy them:

Tigers are just so very responsive - they are simply the coolest sharks x far!

No!! I am not trying to ride her. Just comfortable being so close to her - she must have felt likewise, otherwise she would not have put on that smile on her face!! :-)

I know, I know - some people disapprove of touching wild animals - well, I don't. What can I do?... I love it, and I know I don't hurt them.

Hmmmm - this babe just didn't want me to get too close to her - happens, especially with guys my age.... Hehehehehehe!!

When I lived in the Bahamas (1974 - 1980) the Ministry of Tourism came out with a new catchy slogan: "It's better in the Bahamas" - definitely not an exaggeration as you can see...

Click on images to enlarge


Mark Harding said...

written from the heart wolfo. a nice blog indeed. you should create more long ones...

lyn nelson said...

Sitting in a park in NY a day before returning to work in Jordan I am smiling after reading your Tiger thoughts and seeing you at your happiest in those beautiful photos. I now miss you even more, dear friend, and your magical girls and hope to join you all in November. You were so right- they changed my life. Big statement - completely true. Thank you dear Wolfer.