Reader Mondays: Great White Sharks, People & Scooby Snacks
Today’s idea is brought to you by my reader Marc. We’ve all seen Jaws. In fact when I was little, I had a Jaws birthday party complete with watching the movie and eating a cake with a shark on it. One of the interesting tidbits about living in the Bay Area is that our waters are Great White Central for the months of August – December. Though the sharks are usually out in the ocean, snacking on sea lions, yes they do snack on the occasional surfer and make trips into the Bay in search of better tasting tidbits. Face it, humans don’t taste very good but a monkey in a wet suit on a surfboard looks a lot like a yummy sea lion!
Researchers from Stanford, UC Davis, the Point Reyes Bird Observatory and the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation have tagged 179 great whites along the Northern California coast. In 2007 and 2008 five Great Whites were recorded inside the bay. So is San Francisco destined to become the new Amity? Nope. The sharks have been with us for longer than we have been here. They don’t chomp many people and quite honestly, I’ve never seen the allure of swimming in our frigid waters anyway. I know there are surfers and wave boarders and other cold water freaks who have no problem with the bone-chilling cold of the Bay but I hope they are also smart enough to understand that when you enter the water, you enter the food chain so try to be aware of your surroundings.
Now if ten – twenty-foot long sharks don’t freak you out, think about this: Carcharocles Megalodon. These prehistoric sharks, “Megs” for short were at least fifty-two feet long and were the second largest predator ever to exist on this planet. Megs were larger than a T Rex, which is pretty damn big. Scientists estimate their dorsal fin was as tall as me (5’5″) and their tail was over twelve feet tall. Their open mouth resembled the size of your average garage door. Now THAT is a shark you should be concerned about. Good thing they are extinct or are they? While there has been speculation of remnants of this predator surviving in deep waters due to the find by the HMS Challenger of a Meg tooth alleged to be 10,000 years old and not the 1.5 million years (since the shark became extinct), later testing determined the age could not be verified.
If you want a good Meg yarn and San Francisco Bay eye opener, I recommend Steve Altens Meg books. I especially enjoyed the one scene where the giant shark chomps on some uber douches parking in McCovey Cove during a Giants game in hopes of catching a ball. Personally I prefer to stay on dry land, watch Jaws, read my Steve Alten Meg books and appreciate sharks from a distance. If you prefer to keep your sharks in the realm of shlock fantasy, there is always Sharktopus – coming soon to the SciFi Channel!