Saturday, January 10, 2009

To touch or not to touch - THAT is not the question, not for me.

Photograph: Paul Spielvogel

Some folks think I shouldn't touch sharks because one has to "respect" wild creatures. Sure, but why would I show "disrespect" while hugging them? Look at the image - see the smile on "Olga's" face? :-)

Others think that man-shark interactions in baited situations make sharks more aggressive toward people as they associate humans with food. That is
complete non-sense; instead, what I have been able to observe was that prolonged exposure to humans sort of domesticates sharks. I can say with some certainty that the effect of being accustomed to humans makes sharks feel less threatened in their presence.

Then there are those who truly believe that I act 'irresponsibly' trying to demonstrate that tiger sharks are as harmless as pussy cats (which they are
not - of course), and that I would encourage others to mimic me and thus put them at risk of getting bitten.

This misconception compels me to make an unequivocal statement: Interacting with sharks the way I do requires a lot of practical experience, an intimate knowledge of shark behavior, and proficiency in the foreign language that is their body language. So, unless you feel very comfortable swimming around sharks, and remain unfazed even when they are agitated, don't do what I do - OK?

Ah, something else: People who know next to nothing about sharks except that they are indiscriminate killers might think that I am a macho dare-devil. Me, a dare-devil and a macho?? Yeah, I wish. Let me tell you - I ain't no Sylvester Stallone, and if you'd invite me to do a bungee jump, I'd frigging chicken out.

I believe I already said it before in one of my blogs, but I'll say it again: I just love to touch, or kiss, what I like which I guess is an innate drive for any human being.

I love the sea, and I love tiger sharks. So, every time I dive, I touch the sea, in a poetic sense; and when I see my beloved tiger sharks I feel the urge of caressing them gently and with all the respect they deserve.


the One called "Bitey".... said...

Didn't your grandmother teach to you to look with your eyes, not your hands?


Also, I take issue with the whole concept of "harmless as a pussy cat" - whoever made up that phrase hasn't spent enough quality time with pussy cats.....



Wolf Leander said...

Bitey - you are right!!! I was once bitten by a pussy cat - out of the blue.

Just as sharks "touch" (test) with their teeth, I use my hands to get a close "look".

If I see dogs in the street, I often stop the car and caress them.

Don't ask me what I would LOVE to do if I old fart see a beautiful girl somewhere.... :-)

DaShark said...

Good Post - and thanks for the caveat!