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 It's shark week!  Discovery has done well in answering the question "How do we keep this interesting after 20 years?" with Craig Ferguson as host!  Yay!

Today I was asked 'you dive - do you have any good shark stories?'

Well, I have 2 tales that amuse me.  As to if they are good or not, the listener can be the judge.

1.  If it is torpedo shaped, stay away from it.
The first major dive I took was at the far Western edge of the Great Barrier Reef.  My companion of the time was desperate to have a Great White experience (don't ask - this man had lots of questionable ideas).  He was devastated when I informed him that Great Whites migrate, and we were not in the right place at the right time.  I'm not sure he took in the information that there are many many many other sharks.  So off we go.  The dive was astonishing - we were 'bommie diving' which is where you visit these great towers in the ocean and as you slowly swim up them the flora and fauna change every 10 feet.  As we got about half way, a pair of 2-3 foot sharks appeared near the floor.  I noticed them, but they were too far away for my interest.  Then I came around the side of the bommie and saw, much closer, a school of barracuda.  THAT worried me, so I quickly went back to the other side.  Back on the boat, companion started to tease me about being scared of 2 "little sharks", and I commented that the sharks were the least of my worries when I saw the barracuda who are considerably nastier.  "What barracuda?" was the response - to which the dive master chimed in "and it's attitudes like that that make people loose fingers, mate".  LOL.  Next dive we saw about 15 or so 1.5 foot sharks at about 10 feet - they were amazing and could have cared less about the divers, but I went slow & held my arms in and gave them no reason to bite.  They were very beautiful and yes, all sound - even the constant drone of the air - goes away when they get that close.

2.  Know your Sharky Companions
A few years later, again in Australia, I was snorkeling with my parents and some family friends off of Lizard Island - again right by the Great Barrier Reef.  We were about 50 yards off shore puttering lazily and oohing at the giant clam beds, when I noticed a lone fish up near the surface with us.  I got very excited when I realized it was a ramora, and waved down my mum, who also gave a happy thumbs up.  The lamprey decided to come closer to us which got everyone's attention.  We surfaced, and the 'What was That?" question came up.  I excitedly explained it was a ramora - and my dad and his business partner took off for the shore at record speed.  And proceeded to yell at the rest of us to GET OUT OF THE WATER! Ramoras, for those unfamilar, are fish that have a special plate on their head that they use to latch onto larger animals, and then they get a free ride and feed off of the bits thrown off from the larger animal eating.  #1 choice of larger animal is - big sharks.  My father was convinced that a 30 foot great white had sent out the ramora as a decoy and was about to eat us.  He did not appreciate the mocking of the women.  So, while no shark was actually *witnessed* that time, it is my favourite Shark Tale to date.  At least until I go shark caging.

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January 2013

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