Saturday, March 07, 2009

Not much diving lately

Since we last ventured underwater, the weather has been awful. Rain, rain, and more rain. So instead, I've been reading the book Shark Trouble by Peter Benchley. He’s the author of Jaws amongst many other books. Shark Trouble is a book about his underwater experiences with sharks and other scary sea creatures. It’s a fascinating read – Peter reflects on many years of underwater experience in the quest of (mostly) documentary footage of sharks’ behaviour. He makes a very valid observation:

“None of us would stroll casually into the Amazon jungle, wearing nothing but a bathing suit and carrying for protection a tube of sun cream and a can of bug spray. We know that the jungle is not our natural habitat; we realize we’re intruders in the jungle, and that in the jungle there are creatures that regard us as a threat or as prey, and will use every mechanism nature has given them – sting, bite, poison, whatever – to ward us off or attack us. We know that large predators live in the jungle and that, through ignorance or intent, they might regard us as food. In short, we accord the jungle the respect it deserves.”

Peter’s point is that we DON’T do the same for the ocean and we should. Essentially, its never the shark's fault! Peter is an engaging writer about this subject that he has become such an expert about. I’m quite keen to read Jaws and some of his other work now, but remember that the movie was very frightening when I saw it as a child. I have intentionally avoided watching it again since I began scuba diving. But perhaps the time has come to face those fears...

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