Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Worlds Ocean Day 2011

If you were around in 1975 this is the image that struck fear into the hearts of ocean lovers, swimmers, surfers and maybe just people in general.

JAWS was a box office hit and Steven Spielberg brought to life the monster from Peter Benchley's novel that made us all think twice before diving into the ocean.
Heck, I still think a bit before dipping my toes in the water and I live where there is freshwater! :)
However as scary as they may seem and as dangerous as they may be they need our help.
We enter their world, we know that they are there and we know that there
is always a potential that we could be attacked. I believe that it is no different than entering a forest or desert knowing that there are bears, snakes, lions and tigers (on my) that could potentially do as much damage as a shark but yet we have taken it upon ourselves as humans to seek and destroy these amazing creatures.

It is no secret that I love sharks, as does my son.
There is so much beauty and grace, yet power and danger with them.
They are clever hunters and the Great Whites have been known to jump straight out of the water in order to capture their prey.

For World Ocean's Day this year I would like to tell you a bit about the Great White shark and
what is happening to the species, why they are important for our oceans and what it being done to help save these beautiful creatures.

With the release of Jaws decades ago people have sought to destroy the Great White shark for fear of the shark intruding into our waters and attacks that could possibly happen to humans.
I get it, I really do, no one wants to be eaten alive but we also need to be aware that over the recent years there have been an average of 60 GWS attacks a year out of which 15-20% proved fatal.
Yes I know, tell these odds to someone who has been attacked, but perhaps they don't blame the shark for doing what is natural to them?

Great Whites often mistake humans for their natural prey, the seal. Often they will "test bite" their prey but unfortunately their "nibble" is a bit more due to their razor sharp teeth.

They were also overly fished for decades for the use of their fins, jaws and teeth and killed by the thousands just for the sport.

Scientists believe that females sharks will begin to reproduce at about the age of 10 and the average liter size is around 2-11.
A very slow pace as compared to the rate that they were being killed.
As of today, they estimate only a few thousand GWS left in worlds oceans.

Great White sharks are the top of the food chain in the ocean and destroying them would create a great imbalance to the system. They help create that balance and the health of the ecosystem by preying on species that are sick or weak, which helps the fish and marine mammal population stay healthy. If the GWS disappeared from the waters the ecosystem would lose control and over time destroy the delicate balance in the underwater environment.

In recent years scientists, Marine Biologists and those that wanted to know more about these great creatures began to study their behavior, their patterns, and their habitat in order to gain understanding as to what makes them tick.

I love the photo above. I first saw this image/film during The Discovery Channels Shark Week last year and thought that I would share it with you.
This is photographer Thomas P. Peschak
Here is what he had to say about his experience:

"To capture this image I tied myself to the tower of the research boat Lamnidae and leaned into the void, precariously hanging over the ocean while waiting patiently for a white shark to come along. I wanted to shot a photograph that would tell the story of our research efforts to track white sharks using kayaks. When the first shark of the day came across our sea kayak it dove to the seabed and inspected it from below. I quickly trained my camera on the dark shadow which slowly transformed from diffuse shape into the sleek outline of a large great white. When the shark’s dorsal fin broke the surface I thought I had the shot, but hesitated a fraction of a second and was rewarded with marine biologist Trey Snow in the kayak turning around to look behind him. I pressed the shutter and the rest was history. Throughout the day I shot many more images, most showing the kayak following the shark, but all lacked the power of that first image of the great white tracking the kayak."

"White sharks, despite their bad reputation are much more cautious and inquisitive in nature than aggressive and unpredictable. At no time have we ever had a shark show any agression towards our little yum yum yellow craft. So after some more testing we were soon able to make observations safely from up close and with as little interference as possible."

I can't say that this would scare the your know what out of me, but what an amazing experience!!

Right now there is a legislation in California to ban the sale of shark fins. At the same time Washington and Oregon are working towards a similar goal. Guam and Hawaii have also passed their own legislation by banning such sales. This is just a step and their is still so much to do to help preserve the population of GWS.

There is so much to be learned about the Great White Shark as well as other sharks that inhabit the oceans and while I think about the potential danger that awaits as I step into the ocean I also know that we are entering THEIR world and the more knowledge that we can gain the better we can not only protect ourselves, but the creatures that inhabit the great ecosystem that make up our oceans.

Information came from links below, please check them out if you are interested in learning a bit more.

If you are interested in helping out you can visit the World Wildlife Federation to find out how.


I am linking up with
Shell Belles Tiki Hut today, come see what others are doing to help preserve the oceans and the amazing creatures that inhabit them.

And please visit Simone at Doberman's by the Sea for some more information and giveaways.



Cassie @ Primitive & Proper said...

hi michelle! thanks for sharing this... i am totally in agreement with you. while sharks frighten me for obvious reasons, i agree with the natural and ecological standpoint. i researched sharks when i was in 8th grade (for fun one summer, not even for a project!!!) and was amazed by the information i found. thank you for bringing it to light!

Shellbelle said...

Oh Michelle, this post is fantastic and so informative! You're absolutely correct; any break in the food chain can wreak havoc on our environment and protecting the Great White Shark is vitally important. We all need to learn to respect and work to save Earth's critters and environment. I'll take tomato soup over Shark's Fin soup any day!

I love the Monterey Bay Aquarium and have Sea Notes in my blogroll, but I'm going to check out the other links you provided — I LOVE learning all I can about our ocean and sea life.

Thank you SO much and Happy World Oceans Day!

Hugs to you and the ocean today!

tinajo said...

I think they are beautiful but they do scare me..! I prefer dolphins, but I agree that we have to take care of these magnificent creatures (as long as they stay away from my feet, haha)! :-D

Val said...

What a great post...I had no idea how endangered they are and the last pic is incredible!

erin said...

michelle, this is a terrific post.....i love that you have pointed out that it is "there world". i fear, our world is a delicate balance that only humans have put a kilter.
p.s. the movie Jaws scared the you know what out of me and whenever we swim in the ocean, hubby and i kiddingly hum the theme know..."da dum, da dum, da dum........"

simone said...

Hey Michelle, very informative post. Thanks for the shout out. Cheers

Rayanne said...

Wow...really neat post and yes I remember 1975,and the movie Jaws. They are amazing, I like the photo that looks like he's smiling at you.hehehe.Good info!

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

This is so interesting! I'm learning a lot today! Please visit me, too...I have a post up! ♥ Happy Oceans day! ♥

Tonya said...

Wow...that pic of the shark approaching the man in the kayak is pretty amazing!! I would have been scared to death!! Very informative post my friend!! Although they do scare me, I understand the importance of protecting this species & think we should do what it takes to protect them!

Tanya said...

Great post Michelle! Though I would be scared to death to come face to face with a Shark, they are amazing creatures. What a great cause. (one of the scariest movie moments ever...the opening scene of Jaws, the girl swimming YIKES)

Lindsay-ann said...

Hi Michelle
I really enjoyed your post about sharks. I learnt so much so thank you:) The pictures are amazing.
Happy Oceans Day!
Thanks for visiting my blog too.

Tammy@Beatrice Banks said...

So informative! I learned a lot today. Great photos. This is why I never swim in water I can't see through! lol

Maya @ Completely Coastal said...

Spielberg has definitely helped making the shark into a monster. If we enter the kingdom of animals we have to be cautious. Period. And understanding helps a big deal, of course.
Happy Oceans Day, Michelle!!!!

Anonymous said...

I love the respect you have for nature. This was such an enjoyable read. It is well-thought out. I appreciate your research. Thank you for visiting me.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am also a happy new follower.

Jane said...

THis is a wonderful post! Yes, I am still leery of stepping going deep into the ocean or gulf. When you fly over FL, have you ever noticed the sharks in the water? It's amazing there are only a few attacks each year.

My husband actually hooked a huge hammerhead shark while fishing off the coast of Dunedin, a kayak. He had to cut the line!!!

Love your blog...will be following...
Jane (Artfully graced)

Sizzle and Zoom said...

Thank-you so much for the informative post about sharks and the images were amazing!

NanaDiana said...

Great post.I feel bad that they are becoming endangered but must say I would not want to meet one with only a kayak between me and him/her! What a wonderful photo! WOW-Amazing~ xo Diana

Brandi said...

hi Michelle! wonderful pictures. thanks for sharing this informative post.

Kirsty said...

Oh wonderful wonderful post Michelle! I love sharks too! Being in Australia there's always some Jaws like stories but we are in their ocean.

Denise at PinkPostcard. said...

yay for Oregon! I'm proud to live in a state that cares about these things :) great post. (love your desk project too!!! fab! you should link it up to my party!)

Beach House Living said...

Thank you for this post. It's a horrific business what happens to sharks for their fins, or dolphins caught in nets by the hundreds and slaughtered or whales being killed for alleged research.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Good evening beautiful friend,

I remember the movie, I remember the fear. I lived in L.A. at the time and we were in high school and big-time beach bums at Santa Monica beach. But these are one of many of God's gorgeous creations and it is a shame that they are EN PERIL as I say in French; like other species that just need to be in existence to not only give glory to their maker, but to keep things in balance. What a disaster if the top of the food chain were to die off....thank you for this post. I hope you are enjoying your week my friend. Our heat wave is over and temps are back to normal for this time. YEAH!


Love of the Sea said...

Love this post. It was so informative. I remember being a young teen during Jaws. It scared the heck out of me. It bothers me when people catch and kill sharks for no reason. I had a good friend of mine who was almost killed by a bull shark while he was spear fishing in The Bahamas. He only survived because they were able to get him airlifted to Miami and he lost a big part of his leg. But he said from the beginning - he was the one that was not where he belonged. Not the shark...the shark was only doing what came naturally.

CalypsoInTheCountry said...

Your post was very informative! I remember being a kid when Jaws came out and we were forbidden to see it - but who in this world doesn't think of that movie when they here that theme song? I loved reading your post. Happy World Oceans Day to you. Thanks also for stopping by - isn't Grand Cayman beautiful? I haven't been to Cozumel yet but it is definitely on the list!

Rose West said...

Sharks are pretty cool, even though they are scary. When I swim in the ocean here, I know they're out there, but I never really think about them. Shark attacks are very rare in Hawaii, and incidents (like the one with Bethany Hamilton) are the exception, not the rule. Thanks for the great post!

Jenni said...

Hi Michelle!

I didn't know that that species of sharks were endangered. That is really sad. I have to admit, I am not a shark person, but I adore whales and dolphins. {Remember "Flipper"? I LOVED that show growing up! I think it might have been just reruns by the time I was watching it, though.)

I hope you are having a great week so far!


A Cottage Muse said...

Michelle this is an awesome post!! I can't wait to share it with my kids...they've always loved watching shark week on discover so I know they'll love this!!

As for Jaws...knowing it was filmed on Martha's Vineyard, so close to me...still have a fear of the ocean...ssshhh don't tell anyone!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the fabulous "Great White" info and links. I LOVE the shot of the shark tracking the kayak.
Thanks for caring enough to post on World Oceans Day and thanks for dropping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment.
Ocean Hugs!!

Cynthia@Beach Coast Style said...

Thanks for posting about the great whites and yes I remember that poster from the Jaws movie I was in high school...oops giving away age.

Deborah said...

What an amazing photograph Michelle!
I could only imagine what it would be like sitting in that kayak!!!
And yes, that is their territory and we all need to respect that.
And Jaws...well thats another story...Ill send you that story in an email
Have a great evening sweetie xoxo

Deborah xoxo said...

Thanks for making us all a little more aware of God's glorious creations. Hugs

Cozy Little House said...

I find them amazingly beautiful creatures. But scary!

Debbie said...

What a neat post Michelle! I'm still afraid of sharks tho. We saw a couple when we were on Sanibel Island. They came right up next to shore. A couple came really close to my husband.
That picture of the kayak and the shark is awesome! I'm glad I kayak on fresh water...eeeek.

Desire Empire said...

A teenager was bitten by a shark on our beach about two years ago now. I knew within minutes that something was wrong as there were choppers coming from every direction. He was saved by his quick thinking father who pulled the undamamged part of his wetsuit over his thigh to stop him bleeding to death.

My rule is no swimming at dawn or dusk. These guys were surfing at dawn.... a great time to get eaten.

There are certainly more attacks these days than when I was growing up. The water is cleaner and a generation has grown up without shark attacks. They are there you just have to be wary of these beautiful creatures and realise you are entering their home.
Have a great weekend
Best Carolyn

Martina said...

Happy oceans day and happy weekend Michelle! Although i wouldn't want to meet a shark in person, i do want to protect them - and all the beautiful variety of creatures in the ocean. It's scary to think about all the pollution caused by the nuclear catastrophe in Japan and the oil spill last year - so important to make people more aware!

Nancy said...

This was an absolutely fantastic post! I almost did one on shark-finning (I've signed a petition to ban it as well as calling my representative), but settled on dolphins instead. This is a very important post. Thank you for educating us.

Marie said...

Beautiful post as always Michelle! Hey, I just saw Jaws 2 last Sunday, they showed it on TV. Never saw it so me and mon cheri watched it. Have you seen the movie Soul Surfer? Amazing touching story about this girl who lost her arm from a shark attack. It's not gruesome, it's really how she bounced back after the attack.

Happy World Ocean Day to you too! It's kinda gray and gloomy here today, but doesn't stop me from enjoying the ocean.

Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal said...

Great post Michelle. The are amazing creatures. They do scare the bejesus out of me though! But I'm a big shark week fan and love watching it. Happy World Ocean Day!

Laura said...

My lovely friend..I love this post,I (we...)adore the way you care of our planet!

Low Tide High Style said...

Wow Michelle, such a wonderful and informative post! I have to admit that the movie Jaws scared the heck out of me, even though I know the facts about sharks and how they really almost never attack human! That photograph is truly amazing, and thank you for this great post!

Kat :)

Julie@beingRUBY said...

Hi Michelle
Sorry I'm so late to visit.. I finally succumbed to the winter flu making it's rounds this way..

Fabulousl post.. and well I have to admit sharks scare me!! although I probably would tie myself to something to get a shot.. hehehe... We've had more and more shark attacks in recent years.. I could be wrong but I believe the shark population is increasing our way.. which Is a good thing.. unless you're swimming with them. hehehe

Have a lovely weekend my friend.. ciao xxx Julie said...

Hey Michelle, we are a bit obsessed with sharks in this house too. Especially my littlest one, he actually rewinds the scary jaws scenes over ad over on netflix, lol. He just LOVES watching them, and I can say they fascinate me as well.

I hate seeing any species go extinct, and I know the implications of this magnificent creature being gone would be detrimental to our oceans.

Thanks for sharing this wonderful post with us.

HUGS, Bella :)

Sandy said...

Thanks Bella for bringing this subject to light. I didn't know some of the things you mentioned about the great whites.

Among other news, one of my favorite eco groups is celebrating Oceans Day at the Monterey Bay aquarium. Members of The 5 Gyres, a non-profit group researching about oceanic debris was also there to educate folks on what's happening to our world's oceans. Check out this video.

Pam said...

Such a great post. I did not know a lot about sharks, so it was a great read. BTW, my first ever date was at the Jaws movie. Not a real romantic movie.

BABI said...

nice post! thanks for sharing!


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