By DARREN HANDSCHUh
“When you enter the ocean, you enter the food chain.”
Those words of wisdom came from a buddy of mine who has made several trips to the sunny climes of Mexico and the warm, shark-infested Pacific waters that lap at the sandy beaches.
I thought about it for a second and realized how right he was. Personally, I prefer to be near the top of the food chain rather than another morsel in an ocean smorgasbord.
When you are splashing around in the ocean, you are little more than a fishing lure with life insurance.
The top of the oceanic food chain is the shark, more specifically the great white shark, because the great white is the biggest and baddest the ocean has to offer. If it wasn't, it would be called the pretty good white shark, or the slightly-above-average white shark.
I have splashed in the Pacific Ocean when I was a kid and not once did I think of the food chain scenario. But now that I am older, wiser and more of a fraidy cat, I realize just how true my buddy's words were.
I read a story recently about a swimming competition in Australia that involved some 700 people. It also included a couple of non-competitors in the form of sharks.
One was a hammerhead shark and the story did not say what the other kind was, but I am sure it was not the kind of fish you would want to meet in a dark alley.
One of the competitors had a rather nonchalant view of the whole shark situation, “I was swimming along and a couple of guys put up the shark signal, I figure they had 700 of us to choose from and they couldn't decide by the looks of things.”
My reaction would be slightly different and would likely involve some type of high-pitched squeal followed by a panic attack.
I wonder if urine would act as an effective shark repellent because there would be plenty of that floating around my general location.
If someone had seen a shark in the vicinity, I would not go in the water even if I was on fire.
The last thing I would want to do is provide the shark with not only an easy meal, but a barbecued easy meal at that.
A good friend of mine moved here from Australia where he was a high-level competitive surfer. He would talk about what he said were “big sharks” with little more concern than someone saying they saw a guppy at a dentist's office.
I asked what he did when he saw a shark.
“Oh, you just try to avoid them and get out of the water.”
Well, no duh. I could have figured that out all on my own. I don't know if it is possible to run on top of water, but I am pretty sure I would come close as I hauled out of the Big Blue.
He made a good point that it is kind of like hiking in the woods of B.C. where there are bears and the occasional cougar, both of which can detract from an otherwise good time.
So instead of bears, he had to watch for sharks. I am not sure how you would do that seeing as how sharks attack from below while a bear has to come crashing through the woods.
When a bear attacks you can play dead until it goes away, with a shark no playing is involved.
I would rather attempt to outwit a bear than out swim a shark, but I've always wondered if urine would act as a bear repellent because...