If anybody heard a thunk about 8:30 or so Pacific Time last night, it was my jaw hitting the floor. We were watching the PBS special on sharks that Jean-Michel Cousteau produced and part of the program was on the great white shark. They were working with a South African who runs a tour boat and has been interacting with the sharks since the late ‘70’s. Here was a group of divers swimming (very, very carefully) with the shark with the big, sharp teeth and the horrid reputation. It seems that if you do it right, you can deflect them with a tap on the nose with a metal rod. The divers were very careful to stay below the shark and move very carefully. That is, don’t act like dinner and with luck you won’t become dinner. But they got along very nicely, thank you. If you’re really, really careful you can even hold onto the dorsal fin and take a short ride. And I’m happy to watch the professionals, thanks all the same. It’s good to know that someone has learned enough about these magnificent creatures to do this, doesn’t mean I want to try it myself.
But, the really big thunk came just a little later. The sharks hunt the local penguins. The shark is very big and the penguins are very small. You’d think the little feather balls wouldn’t stand an ice bergs chance in the tropics. The penguins have also learned that a bonk on the nose with something hard and pointy, a beak for example, may also deflect the shark. And they got it on film. Shark is swimming. Penguins are swimming, One bird swims over the shark, bonks it on the nose with its beak and the shark quietly swam away. It’s a good thing there were no flies in the room, ‘cause I was sitting there with my mouth hanging open, going “did I just see what I think I did?’ It would be worth it to buy the DVD just to see that one shot again.