Don’t feed the Sharks

It’s summer and who doesn’t like a good shark tale?

When Peter Benchley wrote the book Jaws, he happened to live down the street from my parents. I babysat for his family a couple of times and his kids even rode one of my ponies. After his book came out, they moved from our small town to Princeton. Thanks to him, no one wanted to go in the water in the summer of 1975.

Racing outrigger canoes in Maui

Years later, I was living on Maui and spent as much time as possible in the ocean. My girlfriends and I raced outrigger canoes and the local boys took us night fishing. We oohed and aahed at the site of Humpback whales but when the fishermen spotted barracuda in the water, we decided to get out of the water. My diver friends saw manta rays, Moray eels and the occasional sea turtle (they were still being hunted at that time, however, now they are showing a resurgence). The only time I ever thought about sharks was after hearing about a surfboard being bitten. The joke was not to wear a swimsuit that was the color of yum-yum yellow.

On our last visit to Maui, we went to Olowalu reef. My friend had suggested it because the water is shallow and the waves tend to be flat. Jessie and I stayed near the shore and my husband snorkeled out a bit farther.

Later that night, as we were sharing our day with my friend, she turned to another guest and asked, “how long ago was that shark attack?”.  I don’t recall if the answer had been five or ten years, it was a detail that didn’t seem very important. All I could think of why did she send us there? cue music.

With July 4th weekend nearly upon us, they are showing movie trailers for Jaws. I don’t believe Jessie has seen that movie. I’m not sure if it is a good idea or not. We just got her comfortable swimming in the ocean and I don’t want to alarm her. She freaks at the sound of E.T. and I’m sure theme music for Jaws will haunt her too, just like it does everyone who has seen the movie.

Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about sharks in the pool, at least not until we hear the music.

And one more thing, don’t feed sharks. This woman just learned this lesson the hard way.

Stay cool.

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