Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Stoned Beach Bum Places His Leg into a Shark’s Mouth:

Important to note: Sharks can no longer compensate the losses suffered in all of their habitats. Many shark species are endangered - some are even on the verge of EXTINCTION !

One of my first jobs ever was setting up and tearing down umbrellas and chairs at the beach. Some of the beach hotels I worked were next to a place called Wayside Park. Wayside Park is the beach area surrounding the Okaloosa Island Pier. Local government officials decided to clean up Wayside Park’s drug related history and image by creating the Emerald Coast and the Okaloosa Island Boardwalk.

One early morning, as I was setting up chairs and umbrellas on the beach I noticed a few bull sharks beached up on the sand. The waves would occasionally wash over them as they lay still and lifeless. Unfortunately, the fishermen on the pier would often hunt shark all night long. Usually, the only part removed or used from the shark would be the teeth. Fortunately, it is now illegal to shark fish from the pier and there are limits on the number of sharks caught commercially.

Being a surfer, I don’t enjoy thinking about sharks, let alone seeing them first hand parked on the beach break I surf regularly. In a way, surfers pretend that sharks don’t exist every time we get in the water. Although, sharks definitely get the adrenaline flowing. What other X-Game sport has a predator to contend with?

Anyway, back to the story. I see this stoned (intoxicated with something) individual walking down the beach toward the bull sharks. He stands wobbling in front of the sharks, pointing and laughing. I see this individual get down on the ground and begin touching one of the sharks. To my amazement, he opens the mouth of this six foot bull shark and inserts his left leg. With his leg in the sharks mouth, the man begins to shake violently and slab the sand screaming at the top of his lungs. I am watching in horror. The stoned individual stops and laughs, before doing this a few more times. When the man gets bored with the shark and drama, he removes his leg. Within seconds of removing his leg the six foot shark begins to shake back and forth as if trying to get back into the water. The stoned individual falls straight back into the sand and lays there for what seemed an eternity. The shark was beached and still, but alive. The giant fish looked as though it was trying to get back into the water to swim away.

Thinking about it, would you want a nasty, filthy, beach bums foot in your mouth? Yuck!

Hard to believe: It was once believed that all sharks had to swim constantly in order to breathe and could not sleep for more than a few minutes at a time. For example, oxygen-rich water flows through the gills during a shark’s movement allowing the shark to breathe. Some sharks have to swim all the time in order to breathe, but bull sharks can lie motionless on the bottom. Bull sharks have active and restful periods.

Check out all the recent shark activity on the Emerald Coast which includes a June 26, 2006 attack resulting in the regrettable death of a 14 year old girl.


~Kathi said...

Yuck chow for Mr. Shark! What a 'bummer'? (arghh...)

Can I put up yer blog as part of my 're-entry' onto my blogs soon, Mike?

I have spent many endless summers on rural Kauai, and snorkled off Maui and the Big Island...but I much prefer colored fish and monk seals to sharks, m'self!

By the way, do you know Ruth Sylte, too!?! I spotted the Scholar Ship banner ad...My old NAFSA conference roomie Ruth is working for them now, and it sure sounds mighty intriguing!

Maiden voyage, or Jan '08!?!?! Time will tell!

Cheers, ~Kathi

Anonymous said...

I guess the moral of the story is, if you have a beached fish that you want back in the water, find an inebriated beach bum to put his leg in the fishes' mouth to wake it up. Just make sure you sign a wavier disclaiming yourself of responsibility for the suggestion!

Daniel F

Good posting, Mike.

Beach Bum said...

That's what I call a Beach Bum! Since you're into sharks - check out this.