Call For a Tow

16. Leave the Cartoon Images Ashore

By Tom Neale, 11/18/2004

Leave the Cartoon Images Ashore

In case you’re wondering about the photo: That’s our daughters and a hammerhead. The time was many years ago. The place was a beach in the Bahamas. The story was that the shark had been frequenting a harbour where many people also swam. It was caught, with great effort, by some guys on a large heavy trawler. When hooked, it pulled that trawler around the harbour much of the night. And yes, it was very dead when our daughters approached it on the beach. We had checked it out. Creatures from the sea can fool you in many ways, and much is being said today that, perhaps unwittingly, results in people being insufficiently aware.

It isn’t unusual for sharks and other creatures to appear dead, although they still have enough life in them to react to certain stimuli. Even though the reaction may be non-cognitive, it may be enough to injure a person whose hand, foot, or whatever is too close. I’ve seen this numerous times with fish and shark. Shark can surprise you in other ways.

We once saw a huge hammerhead up in some mangrove shallows. The water was no more than two feet deep. In fact, the water was so shallow that much of the shark was out of the water. It was a place where our daughters and others regularly waded and played. The shark was there, voraciously feeding. Even though his entire back was out of the water, his speed and mobility and power were staggering. He was totally in control; totally in command, totally capable of grabbing a wading person by the leg and taking him down.

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Copyright 2004-2005 Tom Neale