1. What to call it – I just saw a post on Facebook where someone was saying that we should stop calling shark attacks “shark attacks”. His hope would be to stop making sharks out to be villains who plan on hurting and killing humans. At first, I thought this might be a good idea. The sharks are just behaving as they are supposed to. They are hunting in some cases and just curious in others.
And this is when it hit me. It’s the fact that most people are just not educated enough about sharks. No one bats an eye when someone says lion attack. This is probably because it rarely happens near home. Obviously, I am speaking as an American and someone who is fascinated by sharks.
Changing what you call it will not change the perception of the average American. You need to change the perception. People need to realize that a shark attack usually will not be fatal. It is usually a case of mistaken identity. The shark is just curious.
It is still an attack, but the shark is not targeting humans, it is just looking for food in it’s own house.
2. Assumptions – So, I caught a new special on Shark Week this year that made me question some of the assumptions by the producers and researchers in the special. The title of the episode was “Return of the Great White Serial Killer”. And even though the title shows part of the problem with perceptions, it was actually a fairly good episode. Some of the scientific pages I follow even stated that a lot of what they said was actually factual.
The story behind the episode, in short, is that there have been very localized shark attacks in California. The attacks have occurred in 2008, 2010, 2012, and some kayakers were attacked in 2014 while filming the episode was taking place. Some, but not all, of these attacks were fatal. The researcher wanted to find out if it was a single shark and tag the shark so that the authorities can warn the locals in 2016.
Now, if we agree with some of his assumptions, that it was a single shark, that the shark is on a two-year migration (which is very possible), and that the shark if a large female, his final assumption seemed a little far fetched.
After some work in California, he went to Guadeloupe to get a DNA sample of some large female sharks and compare their DNA to the DNA recovered from one of the shark attacks. The problem I have here is the timing. Guadeloupe is thought to be a mating ground for sharks, and in November, there are a lot of large female whites. But with the gestation period of a Great White being about 11 months (ok, got this from Wikipedia so not sure about this), I would assume that she would be in Guadeloupe in an odd number year. Going from the coast of California to Guadeloupe is very doable for these creatures, I am just not sure it would do it in a month.
Think about this, she’s big, she’s pregnant, and she’s probably hungry. That may be why she’s attacking so much in even number years in California. They should try to get DNA from sharks in Guadeloupe in the odd number years. And my theory is just as good as the researcher’s, and just as easily proven. In other words, not easy at all.
3. Another Shark Week – Every year I say that it is going to be the last time I watch shark week. And every year, I find myself watching it again. This year wasn’t as bad as prior years. There were some episodes that were just wrong, but others that were actually factual. One example was the episode that measured the same shark twice, and came up with two significantly different sizes. Another example was when they were talking about a large female shark, then showed footage of a male.
But at least there were no shows like “Submarine” or a show about how the Megladon still lives. Over all, this has been the best Shark Week in years.
I am not going to say that I won’t watch it next year, even I know that I will. I might as well accept it; I am addicted to Shark Week. Plus, is it nice to see the Islander and her crew on specials.
It brings back a lot of great memories. I really enjoy taking those trips to Guadeloupe on the Islander. The food, crew, sharks, and everything else are amazing. If anyone plans on going themselves, use the Islander, it is worth the cost. Hell, I will be back at Guadeloupe in 2016. Even I am on a two-year migration.