As expected I've been getting a lot of shark questions. I understand why the Discovery Channel devotes a whole week to them. Popular topic.
I did say a few posts back that if I do see one while escorting Bill across the , I still have no idea what I'm going to do. That prompted a few comments. Mostly variations on 'You're kidding!' and 'Don't you think that's an important thing to figure out?'
I'm working on it.
Let's all remember that any shark encounter is extremely rare. I don't expect to see one. But if I do . . .
The Bang Stick is an option. Bill had a conversation with the captain of the escort boat and that was his suggestion. OK, sounds good but think it through. No way you can swim with one. Me have it on the paddleboard? I don't like that idea. Lots of bouncing. Might it accidentally go off? I don't know, never used one. That alone should be reason enough for me not to carry it. Then there's the boat captain. Imagine Bill swimming and me paddling alongside him when we hear a yell from the boat and see the the bang stick flying through the air towards us. Do I keep my eyes on it so I make sure to catch it or check to see just how close the shark is? Or maybe just have heart failure right there?
I'm leaning toward constant vigilance and getting Bill out of the water FAST if I spot an aggressive shark.
Check out this from topkayaker.net:
It is true shark attacks are rare. Even shark sightings are rare by swimmers and divers let alone kayakers; but when it happens organizations like The United State Lifesaving Association take note. Advisories are in place to train lifeguards on rescue procedures and offer guidance to local authorities on panic and beach closings. Statistics compiled by them for the year 2000 - the most recent data- from 68 ocean lifeguard agencies show:
Beach Attendance = 264,156,728
Medical Care Administered = 236,642
Drowning Rescues = 70,771
Drowning Deaths = 74
For the same areas in 2000: Unprovoked Shark Attacks = 54 Shark Deaths = 1
I remember watching some of those shark shows on the Discovery Channel Shark Week. When asked what color swim shorts would he recommend swimmers wear to deter sharks, one researcher suggested Zebra stripes. If Bill can find some Zebra stripped jammers I'm sure the sharks will be too busy laughing to hassle anyone. I'll be sure to get some photos.