Extraordinary “Shark Week” Countdown

I’m a weird duck.  I have an irrational fear of sharks (not so irrational considering the fact that they are giant predatory sea monsters, but somewhat irrational because I live thousands of miles from the nearest ocean) and yet they fascinate me.  I love Shark Week on the Discovery Channel.  My adrenaline rushes as I watch those giant silver killing machines doing what they do.   In fact, I’m so intrigued by sharks that I’ve actually written a fair amount of posts about them.

Since I’ve missed out on most of this year’s Shark Week on television, I’m going to present you with the next best option.  Welcome to the Extraordinary Intelligence Sharkapalooza Countdown of Carnage!  Also known as the Extraordinary Shark Week Countdown.

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5.   The Shark Whisperer

Last year I presented a video about a woman who not only gets up close and personal with the demons of the deep… she actually hand feeds them.  And I’m not talking about those docile whale sharks that sort of lumber along and embarrass the other sharks with their lack of ferocity.  I’m talking GREAT WHITES.  Don’t believe me??  Click here:  http://www.onirik.com.au/a-written-will/

4.  375 Pound Shark Jumps Into Man’s Boat

Jason Kreese of Freeport, Texas was out with a fellow crew members in the early morning hours,  when out of nowhere a 375 pound Mako Shark leapt out of the water and landed in their 25 foot boat.   Read more:  https://www.runningtime.net/

3.  Great Whites of Santa Barbara

In very recent news, there is heightened concern at the beaches near Santa Barbara, California.  On July 24, signs went up at eight beaches alerting swimmers and surfers that there may be a Great White in the area.  The alert was due to a number of animals washing ashore that showed injuries consistent with those that would be created by the terrifying teeth of a Great White.  Also, on July 8, a 15- to 17-foot shark was seen swimming near the surface some three miles north of Santa Cruz Island in the waters of the Santa Barbara Channel.

And now, literally JUST TODAY, new signs are going up at 14 locations near Santa Barbara beaches and on the lifeguard towers between Leadbetter Point and East Beach.  The ominous message on the warning signs reads: Swim at your own risk.  No thanks!  It seems that a credible report has come in by a local surfer who claims that he witnessed a Great White just 5 FEET AWAY while he was out enjoying the water.  His report says:

At 5:20 p.m. yesterday, a surfer off Leadbetter Point spotted a shark five feet away whose dorsal fin and tail fin were both out of the water. Judging by the reported 6′-7′ “spread” between the shark’s fins, plus its reported color and girth, this is being treated as a credible sighting of a great white shark. The City’s Waterfront and Parks and Recreation departments have posted warning signs at 14 locations near City beaches, and one on each of five lifeguard towers between Leadbetter Point and East Beach. This action reflects standard protocols developed for this type of event and is warranted not only by yesterday’s sighting, but in light of recent, confirmed white-shark attacks on marine mammals in local waters. If there are no other shark sightings or evidence of shark attacks on marine life, the signs will be removed in 72 hours (Friday at sunset).

The moral of the story is, if you live anywhere near Santa Barbara and are eager to catch some waves, perhaps it would be best to stick to water that is kept neatly inside the friendly confines of concrete until further notice.

Great White Shark Spotted Off Leadbetter Beach

2.  Paddleboard Surfer Films Great White Shark While It Circles Him

This is quite possibly the most terrifying video I’ve ever seen.

1. MEGALODON

If you think that the Great White is a harbinger of all that is doom, let’s just hope you never run into his prehistoric great-grandpappy, Megaladon.

This long extinct colossal shark could reach lengths of 20 meters, which would dwarf the largest sharks that we see today.  He was the apex predator of the prehistoric sea, and made mighty meals of whales and other large marine mammals.

But what if I told you that there are some marine researchers who think it may be possible that a breeding population of megalodon may actually still lurk in the dark depths to this very day?  Need to change your pants? I’ll wait.

It is said that we know more about the surface of the moon than about the deep ocean realm, and it isn’t a huge stretch to imagine that a giant predator MIGHT survive undetected in those places where humans dare not tread, and only the bravest of marine animals venture to roam.

There are a number of intriguing items of evidence that encourage researchers to pursue the possibility that megalodon may still be on patrol.  Here are  a few tidbits:

a.  In 1975, two Megalodon teeth dredged up during a deep-sea expedition by HMS Challenger were carbon dated and revealed that they were thousands, not millions, of years old.  This means that megalodon could have been swimming much more recently than we’d previously assumed.  If the dating was correct, it leads scholars to contemplate just how recently megalodon died out… or did he?

b.  In 1918, Australian naturalist David Stead examined reports of a possible surviving megalodon population.  He documented reports of local fishing communities that claimed to have witnessed such creatures.  He notes that these fisherman were very familiar with sea creatures and could easily identify a whale or a large white shark.  Here is one such report:

In the year 1918 I recorded the sensation that had been caused among the “outside” crayfish men at Port Stephens, when, for several days, they refused to go to sea to their regular fishing grounds in the vicinity of Broughton Island. The men had been at work on the fishing grounds—which lie in deep water—when an immense shark of almost unbelievable proportions put in an appearance, lifting pot after pot containing many crayfishes, and taking, as the men said, “pots, mooring lines and all”. These crayfish pots, it should be mentioned, were about 3 feet 6 inches [1.06 m] in diameter and frequently contained from two to three dozen good-sized crayfish each weighing several pounds.

The men were all unanimous that this shark was something the like of which they had never dreamed of. In company with the local Fisheries Inspector I questioned many of the men very closely and they all agreed as to the gigantic stature of the beast. But the lengths they gave were, on the whole, absurd. I mention them, however, as a indication of the state of mind which this unusual giant had thrown them into. And bear in mind that these were men who were used to the sea and all sorts of weather, and all sorts of sharks as well. One of the crew said the shark was “three hundred feet [90 m] long at least”! Others said it was as long as the wharf on which we stood—about 115 feet [35 m]! They affirmed that the water “boiled” over a large space when the fish swam past. They were all familiar with whales, which they had often seen passing at sea, but this was a vast shark. They had seen its terrible head which was “at least as long as the roof on the wharf shed at Nelson Bay.” Impossible, of course! But these were prosaic and rather stolid men, not given to ‘fish stories’ nor even to talking about their catches. Further, they knew that the person they were talking to (myself) had heard all the fish stories years before! One of the things that impressed me was that they all agreed as to the ghostly whitish color of the vast fish. The local Fisheries Inspector of the time, Mr Paton, agreed with me that it must have been something really gigantic to put these experienced men into such a state of fear and panic.”

YIKES!

Other “sighting” reports can be found all over the net, including those listed on this site:  Eyewitness Accounts Of Megalodon Sighting

c.  Many marine creatures thought to be long extinct or not to exist at all have “surfaced” over the years, forcing marine biologists to admit that in the vastness of the deep, there is ample room, food, and opportunity for an incredible variety of unknown animals to dwell.  What’s more, it is very possible for a giant animal to live in the deepest parts of the blackest areas of the world’s oceans undetected.  And the sea would simply claim her dead, leaving no evidence behind.    What follows is a short list of creatures that existed only in rumor, until they were proven to exist in reality.

 1.  The Coelacanth:  Researchers believed that this prehistoric fish died out 65 million years ago, until a fisherman reeled one in and proved to the stunned scientific community that truth is stranger than fiction.

2.  The colossal squid:  These gigantic sons of guns were long thought to be the stuff of sea shanties and legend.   Then in 1925 two enormous squid arms were removed from the belly of  a sperm whale, proving that squid far larger than the largest KNOWN squid, the Giant Squid, indeed existed.

Below, watch video footage taken by the crew aboard the fishing vessel off the coast of New Zealand thatcaptured the world-record holding colossal squid. The 1,000 lb. invertebrate was still alive when they captured this video footage, but it died soon after.

3.  Megamouth Shark:  Discovered in 1976, the Megamouth Shark is truly a fascinating creature that eluded mankind until the swingin’ seventies.  Only a handful of sightings have ever been reported, and it has only been filmed three times.  Here is one of those videos:

Soooooo… Megalodon?  Maybe.  I hope I never find out the hard way.

A few years ago I read a novel about a Megalodon by Steve Alten called MEG: A Novel of Deep Terror.  Click the title to purchase.  It was fun and entertaining to read.  Here’s the description:

Seven years ago, and seven miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean, Dr. Jonas Taylor encountered something that changed the course of his life. Once a Navy deep-sea submersible pilot, now a marine paleontologist, Taylor is convinced that a remnant population of Carcharodon megalodon — prehistoric sharks growing up to 70 feet long, that subsisted on whales — lurks at the bottom of the Mariana Trench. When offered the opportunity to return to those crushing depths in search of the Megs, Taylor leaps at the chance… but the quest for scientific knowledge (and personal vindication) becomes a desperate fight for survival, when the most vicious predator that the earth has ever known is freed to once-again hunt the surface.

Also, if you have a sense of humor like that of myself and my husband, you might enjoy the movie Megalodon, which prompted one Amazon.com reviewer to write:  “The acting is bad and there is no reason to watch this movie.”  I agree with the first part of the review but the part about no reason to watch it is just wrong.  My husband and I to this day chuckle about that movie, which was brilliantly campy and cheesy in comparison to the lazy efforts put forth by the SyFy Channel these days.  We even made up lyrics to the repetitive “Here comes the Megalodon” music.  Five stars.

If, however, you are interested in a truly terrifying and all too realisitc movie about shark attacks, may I direct you to the film The Reef (not the stupid animated one) from 2010.  This Australian film “Based on a true story” was so disturbing that I found myself white knuckled almost the whole way through.  There are no silly special effects and the acting is great.  The sharks are real and they are horrifying.   Purchase it here if you dare:  

 

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