Great Mysteries Beginning to be Unraveled

        Normally, a baby is born in a hospital.  That is common knowledge.  You have a baby, you go to the hospital to give birth.  Hundreds of species all over the world have regular birthing grounds that they travel to at least once a year to give birth to their new offspring.  But Great White Sharks aren’t like other species, if you haven’t already noticed.  And I am not just referring to their size, strength, or natural beauty.  I’m talking about the fact that to this day, no one knows where Great Whites give birth to their young.

 

       Somewhere in the deep blue sea, Great Whites travel and give birth to their young.  It is not even certain if they all travel to the same spot, give birth in groups or individually, or give birth at the same time each year. Despite all of the scientific research performed on Great Whites all over the world, their birthing rituals are a complete mystery!  However, there is some information that is known.  According to Unreal Dive (an infamous South African

diving tour that is very knowledgable in Great White Sharks),

“Little is known about great white shark behaviour in the way of mating habits. Birth has never been observed, but pregnant females havebeen examined. Great white sharks are ovoviviparous (eggs develop and hatch in the uterus, and continue to develop until birth)”

With these facts that scientists have, and the great amount of information acquired with each catch and release mission across the 7 seas, an end to this mystery seems so close, yet so very far.

       However, May of 2011 scientists caught and released the biggest male Great White caught on record.  Female Great Whites can grow up to 25 ft long.  There have even been bite marks found on whale carcasses that measure up to 27 ft!  But aside from measuring bite marks and determining sharks of such massive size, 17.9 ft. is the largest male shark caught to date!  (Obviously the scientists aren’t including Bruce from Jaws who lives in the “ocean” next to the Universal Studios tour.)  For me, thats over 3 times my size and completely unfathomable and unbelievable.  And this monstrous creature not only breaks records, but also can help assist in solving the birthing mystery of our Great White friends.

        The Great White that was caught and released in the article was caught in the waters off of the Guadalupe Islands of the coast of Mexico.  Although this is a very popular spot for Great White Sharks to wander during the fall and winter seasons when the water is very cold, it is rather unlikely that one would find a Great White swimming in this area during the warmer months of March through July, when the shark was found.  Because of this unlikely find, the specialists who found the shark think that it might be located there because it is traveling there to give birth, or recently gave birth.  Scientists have assumed that

“…recent research suggests that Pacific great whites gather in specific spots near the coasts—including the Guadalupe Island site—and then travel to a “cafe” in the middle of the ocean to feed. The animals often return to the same aggregation sites after feeding.”

If the sharks are coming and going in a predictable pattern, then hopefully more information can soon be found about where exactly the birthing process takes place.  Can you imagine if they actually filmed and documented a Great White laying its egg?!  That would lead to such a better understanding of the species. National Geographic believes that tagging the sharks in this area would not only lead to the end of a baffling shark mystery, but may also help scientists track and protect the endangered species from fisherman and hunters,

“Overall, tagging sharks to figure out where they migrate and congregate may help conservationists protect the species, Fischer added. Great whites are considered vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.”

By tracking the Great White Sharks in this area, there is a chance that sharks all over the world can be protected due to their newly assumed patterns of their birthing rituals.  So what does that mean? MORE SHARKS IN THE WATER!  And although that doesn’t seem like a good thing to all the spear fishermen and deep water swimmers, it is a great thing for all of the Shark-loving, fintastic friends all over the world!

           Let’s just hope that some new information can be deduced from these taggings off the coasts and that everyone out there Just Keeps Swimming!

Great White Teenager.

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Trespassers Will be Shot, or Eaten…

“SHARK, SHARK!”

        Something that no swimmer wishes to hear while wading along the coast or surfing a swell.  Unfortunately, the ocean is the home of all sharks and assuming that one is not cruising the current near your swimming zone is just like assuming that you could walk along land and not see any humans.  Sharks are everywhere and hopefully, with the help of a lot of activists like myself, their numbers will begin to increase.  However, although the number of sharks in the sea continues to drop, while the number of humans at the beach rapidly rises, it should be no surprise that the number of shark attacks has inevitably increased, as well.  

        Many people blame shark attacks on wetsuits that resemble seals, shark’s ultimate thirst

for blood, clouded conditions, or even just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  The truth? YOU ARE TRESPASSING!  I would never enjoy the luxuries of someone’s home while they are not around and then act surprised, angry, and resentful when they take out a baseball bat and clock me in the face with it.  So why are people still surprised that sharks attack humans when they are in the ocean?  

I personally think that people would rather pass the blame than take responsibility for that fact that the shark attack could have been prevented had they not been in the water in the first place.  But here are some hard facts for all the non believers.  According to an article written in Feb 2008 about the rise in attacks that year

“The number of worldwide shark attacks overall increased from 63 in 2006 to 71 in 2007, continuing a gradual upswing over the past four years”

        This rapid increase in a year is nothing compared to 2009, where 112 shark attacks occured!  Luckily, for both humans and the reputations of sharks, the number of fatalities has remained about the same with an average of 6-10 deaths a year.  However, with numbers skyrocketing as they are, you can only wonder whether you are safe in the ocean.  Ichthyologist George Burgess, director of the shark attack file maintained at the Florida Museum of Natural History explains humans level of safety and comfort in the water very clearly and simply,

“The reality is, going into the sea is a wilderness experience,” Burgess said. “You’re visiting a foreign environment — it’s not a situation where you’re guaranteed success.”

        Just as more people in the woods would result in more bear attacks, more people in the ocean =  more shark attacks.  However, rather than considering there being greater odds of getting attacked, remember that the odds are the same, but the population increase really makes the difference. Burgess continues to address this saying,

“Based on odds, you should have more attacks than the previous year,” Burgess said. “But the rate of attacks is not necessarily going up — population is rising and the interest in aquatic recreation grows. That will continue as population rises.”

 BUT this does not mean that you are doomed and if you swim in the ocean you will get attacked and will die.  I love the ocean and really enjoy long swims along the coast.  If I couldn’t optimize its array of uses, I would go crazy!  But there are a lot of ways to lower your chances of an attack.  Here are a few easy tips to follow:

       1. Do no swim in “Sharky” water.  Sharky – conditions at the beach that are common for shark attacks. Grey, murky water, cold weather and water temperatures, and bigger swells.

       2. Do not swim in areas that are used for fisheries.  The remnants left in the waters attract a great deal of sharks and when you are wading in fish waste, a shark cannot tell the difference between you and a little fishy.  

        3. “Surfers were the victims of slightly more than half of the incidents reported in 2010, nearly 51 percent of the cases. An economic downturn will usually influence tourists but not necessarily surfers, whose sport is relatively low-cost, Burgess said.” Surfers are much more likely to go out in conditions that are sharky, which makes a big difference in the likely hood of being attacked.

        4. Sharks are attracted to blood.  This is not an old wives tale or an urban legend.  Sharks have sensory organs that allow them to sniff out one drop of blood in an olympic sized swimming pool.  So if you are bleeding, I do not recommend diving in the deep.

         5. DO NOT SPEAR FISH.  I find this to be common knowledge that swimming around with a struggling, bleeding fish would attract some bad consequences – sharks.  This is one of the most dangerous water sports because of the dangerous predators attracted to what is dangling off the stick in your right hand.

     So there are some helpful tips!  Avoid all of these things and you are LESS likely to be attacked by a fintastic friend of mine.  However, as you can tell, jumping in the ocean is not completely safe because it is not YOUR ocean.  It is THEIR ocean.  So be safe, take care of their home that people around the world like to use for extended vacations, and just keep swimming.

Great White Teenager

Great White Scaredy Shark

         If you were to provoke a murderer, say, jump on his back for a few seconds while screaming hysterically, you would assume that he would throw you off and try to kill you, wouldn’t you?  As he squirmed to get loose from your grip you would see your life flash before your eyes thinking that it would all be over as soon as he was free.  If you physically jumped on a murderer, you would be a goner.

         So if sharks are “murderers”, “human-hunters”, and “cold-blooded killers” (as they are often called by ignorant people and hollywood movies), then why did a massive Great White Shark simply swim away after a surfer mistakenly stood on his back and had a three or four second ride of his life?

        On Monday, October 10th, surfer Doug Niblack paddled out for what he thought would be a great day of surfing in Seaside, Oregon.  As the waves grew bigger and the line-up grew smaller, Niblack paddled into a wave only to have his board hit something large and solid.  In an attempt to stand up on the hard surface in order to gain his footing before being pummeled by another wave, Niblack realized that he was not standing on a rock, a reef, or any other piece of land.  Rather, the young surfer was standing on a 10 – 12 ft Great White Shark!

Niblack recalls the initial realization of his new surf board to the Associated Press stating,

“It was pretty terrifying just seeing the shape emerge out of nothing and just being under me … And the fin coming out of the water. It was just like the movies.”

He continues to recall the experience saying,

“When I put my hands down on it, it felt rubbery like Neoprene, like a wetsuit,” he continued. “There was a moment there when everything was going on, I just kind of made my peace. I honestly thought I was going to die. Then paddling back in, I was praying the whole time. Like, ‘Don’t let it be following me.'”

Like many others would in this situation, Niblack assumed that his life would be over as soon as he hit the water because such a natural killer would not pass up the opportunity to take a bite out of the idiot now riding him instead of his surfboard.  But when Niblack landed back into the ocean, the shark immediately swam back out to sea, while he paddled for his life into the shore.  Why would a human hunting murderer let this kind of human behavior slide? There are two possible reasons that come to mind:

1. Sharks are afraid of humans

      I already know what you’re thinking – “Why would a 12 foot Great white with over 230 teeth be afraid of a measly land dweller?”  The answer is simple: humans, especially in the case of Doug Niblack, can imitate the only creature in the ocean that Great Whites DO fear.  The Orca.  Also known as the Killer Whale, the Orca uses tactics similar to those of Niblack’s accidental run-in (or should I say swim-in) to attack the Great White.  The Orca uses its tail to create a current that brings the shark to the surface.  Once at the surface, the Killer Whale performs what is called “The Karate Chop” on the shark as it hits the shark with its powerful tail right across the Great White’s back.  When Niblack landed on the sharks back as it rose to surface, the Great White Shark could have easily confused the surfers body with the tail of its greatest predator.  In that case, it is not surprising that the shark swam away rather than attacking.

Can you believe the size difference?!

2. Sharks are not murderers

        When Great White Sharks attack humans, they are doing so because they are hungry and in search for a large meal to fill them up.  Instead of considering sharks as killers, you may think of them as carnivores, similar to most humans.  If you came across a cow, you would not decide to kill it just for fun.  However, if you were starving and in desperate need for a meal, you might decide to sit down for a nice dinner in a green pasture.  (I do not condone eating any animal or fish, being a vegetarian.  Yet, I understand the basic need for food.  And if I can, you should be able to, as well.)

       As Niblack waded on the surface, his silloutte could have led the shark to use its ariel attack and hit Doug from below with such force that he would have been thrown from his board and his escape without a scratch would have been very unlikely.  However, Niblack was completely unaware of the sharks presence until his board hit the gentle giant swimming below the surface.  Had the shark wanted to attack Niblack, it most likely would have.  But it did not!  And I find this to be a great debunker of the theory that Great Whites attack humans and creatures even when they are not in need for a tasty meal.

       

     So if I were swimming along side Doug Niblack as he surfed a shark would I be scared? Are you kidding      me? I would need to purchase myself a new wetsuit after an experience like that!  However, as terrified as I  would be, I recognize the threat that humans play to sharks, not only in imitating whales, but also in the  hunting and slaughtering of millions of sharks throughout the years and I would use this knowledge to hide  away my fear and respect the Great sharks in their natural habitat.  Luckily for all of the shark supporters out  there, Niblack agrees and plans to not be overcome by fear and head back into the sea with a new respect for  the shark that “spared” his life.

 Thanks Doug! Hope lots of others follow your example and don’t hate my finned friends! (If I find out about anyone else as accepting as Doug, or if any of my readers know of someone who has survived an attack and does not blame the shark, shoot me a link in my comments section, I’ll be sure to mention them in one of my upcoming posts!)

 But for now, Just Keep Swimming,

Great White Teenager!

Surfers Shorely “WOW” Me Sometimes!

Welcome back web surfers! 😉

      Today I have a story that will blow you away!  Thanks to some of my followers who were nice enough to email me stories that might catch my interests, I stumbled across a post about a group of surfers who saved a baby great white shark! That’s right, I said it: SAVED A SHARK’S LIFE!

      A few days ago, a 7-foot baby shark was found washed ashore on Venice Beach, Los Angelos, California.  The not-so-Great White shark had a hook gauged in its mouth – the unfortunate results of fishing in these highly populated areas of the California coast.   Luckily, the surfers who found the shark weren’t as ignorant as some people, like this man, and dove into the action head first.  The men unhooked the baby and safely dragged it back into the ocean where it was able to make its way back into deeper water and out of harms way.  It is still unknown, and will remain unknown, whether or not the baby survived.  However, this brave act did not go unnoticed and was greatly appreciated by all who wish to improve the reputation of the human-shark relationship!

     This clip shows you what actually happened that day and the live rescue of the baby!  As the previous website advised me, I shall do the same for you!  Turn down the sound because the woman narrating the events might make you want to put a hook through your lip by the end of it…

The surfers’ bravery was summarized as such by the article:

“Great Whites have become legendary for their size — some have grown as large as 20 feet in length and weigh more than 5,000 pounds. Despite what you might have read in Peter Benchley’s best-selling novel “Jaws” and Steven Spielberg’s hit 1975 movie, the Great White would rather not eat humans.

While it’s not yet known if the baby great shark survived, the fearsome fish was certainly helped by these kind humans.”

Fear is not uncommon for these amazing creatures.  And I am sure that if I were paddling out for a midday surf by Venice pier and came across a shark (even though that are my favorite fintastic friends) I would be terrified just because of the omnipotent ways and occasional tendency to accidentally nibble on humans.  However, these surfers realized that life is more important than revenge, and no life is more important than another.  So tip your hats to the men who set the shark standard! I applaud you!

      Luckily, these fellow fin lovers are not the only soul surfers out there who care about sharks.  In fact, today I also want to advise all of my followers to watch easily the most incredible shark documentary I have ever seen: Sharkwater! (A link to this website can also be found in my favorite links, because that’s what it is! My FAVORITE LINK!)  This 2007 documentary follows the path of destruction that humans have created in relevance to the innocent lives of sharks all over the world.  

      Filmmaker Rob Stewart takes a journey into the deep to attempt to put a stop to shark stereotypes by confronting those who create them head on!  

“In an effort to protect sharks, Stewart teams up with renegade conservationist Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. Their unbelievable adventure together starts with a battle between the Sea Shepherd and shark poachers in Guatemala, resulting in pirate boat rammings, gunboat chases, mafia espionage, corrupt court systems and attempted murder charges, forcing them to flee for their lives.”

Not only is this film action packed, but it also uses incredible video to capture the beauty that lies beneath the surface all to well.  I would fins down say that this film has the most incredible shark footage that I have ever seen (and I watch A LOT of Shark Week)!  I do warn you though, this is a documentary and I could not help but shed a few tears as I watched real sharks being mangled and mutilated by men who could not have cared less.  But I also think that that is part of the beauty and brilliance behind it.  It shows what truly happens to these creatures and how terrible it is!  So there, you’ve heard it o-fish-ally from me!  

      People everywhere are trying to help out my friends! Now it’s your turn! For some super swell links to how you can help out you can visit the SharkWater page, or check out some the awesome links that I have favorited for you! I know that you won’t regret helping out! The surfers’ in Venice didn’t seem to mind too much! 🙂

    Just keep Swimming,

Great White Teenager!

An Old Shark Makes a New Name for Itself!

       There are a few sharks that most everyone is familiar with. Whether they recognize the infamous Great White in Jaws or the hairy Hammerhead in Pirates of the Carribean, people know these sharks because of the threat they serve to any innocent swimmer floundering about in the water.  But what about the sharks that are never seen?  And I don’t mean the meek Leopard sharks that glide along the sandy floor.  I mean the sharks that are hiding beneath sheets of ice!  That’s right, I said it!  There is a an actual species of shark that lives beneath the Arctic ice!

       The Greenland shark is one of over 400 different species of sharks around the world.  However, this shark is extremely unique because it is very rarely seen.  And trust me, it’s not due to its size, seeing as on record, they can grow on average to about 6 meters (around 20 feet), weighing 2,000 kilograms (about 4,409 lbs!).  Rather, it is because it swims casually in the freezing waters that rest below the miles of ice across the arctic!  As expected with such a great barrier between our world and theirs, very little is known and documented about this gentle giant.  But with new research being updated as often as possible, these old sharks are starting to become as renown as those who are commonly spotted on the tropical coasts.

       According to The University of British Columbia’s article,very little is known about the feeding habits, life-span, average size, migration patterns, or hunting techniques of these creatures.  One specialist, Harvey Clark, goes as far as to say that “All the papers published on the species, including magazine articles, can barely fill two shoeboxes.”  The article continues on to say that this new species has been around for ages, literally!

“The only age analysis to date, by Norwegian researchers, pegs them growing about half a centimetre a year, which would put a seven metre adult at several hundred years old, easily beating the giant tortoise by decades, even centuries.”

I think all can agree that science still has a very long way to go if they are just recently starting to discover information on sea creatures that can possibly live to hundreds of years old.  Three cheers science for trying to step up its game!

         Ironically, one of the only things that was considered common knowledge about these sharks was just defied!  When I first heard of the Greenland shark I was informed by an old article online that they are so incredibly hard to study because they swim in jaw-dropping depths below the ice and therefore cannot be documented. But recently, Greenland sharks have been spotted in shallow waters of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec!  The author comments,

“In 2003, after tracking the enigmatic animal for five years, Harvey-Clark and fellow diving enthusiast Jeffrey Gallant followed leads to Baie-Comeau, a small town about 400 kilometres northeast of Québec City. There, the pair documented — for the first time under natural conditions — Greenland sharks reveling in shallow water.”

         Specialists do not know why this phenomenon is occurring. But rather than stand around and ogle at the Greenland group, they are doing what every scientist does best, observing and recording!  They hope that by recording information on these trends that are occurring, along with other trends like swimming towards the surface during the early morning and dusk hours, they will be able to find out some definite facts about the sharks, tag them, and hopefully be able to put a stop of all the mystery revolving around these giant sea monsters.  

This is a video of a REAL LIFE GREENLAND SHARK swimming in an estuary in St. Lawrence!  This gives you a great picture of what the shark looks like wading around in its murky habitat!  After all of this research, we only hope that people start to take notice of these slow moving superstars and reevaluate their opinions on my favorite fins! 

       Spread the word my shark loving sisters and brothers! and remember, just keep swimming!

Great White Teenager

The Terrifying Tigers

Welcome back my fin-loving friends!

     Get ready to dive into another terrifying shark adventure! When I say “terrifying” I’m not referring to a scary 3D experience that leaves movie goers fearing the ocean for months like the newest shark film “Shark Night 3D” (please don’t get me started on all of the negative implications this movie creates about my seal biting buddies).  Rather I am referring to an absolutely appalling article that I found while perusing the internet earlier this week.

     The article entitled “Has Shark that Killed Ian Now Been Caught?” refers to a tragic shark attack that left honeymooner Ian Redmond, 30 a casuality of what was expected to be a wonderful vacation off the shores of a local beach in the Seychelles. (To read the full article visit http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/3778329/Fishermen-think-one-of-two-caught-sharks-is-the-monster-that-killed-British-honeymooner.html)  Unfortunately, the fatal bites cut short the life of an innocent swimmer trying to enjoy the beautiful beach. And although this does seem quite “terrifying”, bad news was only followed by more bad news as locals decided to hunt down and kill two tiger sharks that could have possibly caused the accident.  As the article states, “Experts who inspected a tooth left in tragic Ian’s leg have said it belonged to either a tiger shark or a Great White.”  Apparently, this was sufficient information for fisherman to brutally murder and gut two large tiger sharks swimming near the area that the attack occurred.  After the sharks were brought in, killed, and strung up like piñatas on the shore for passers-by to gawk at, experts were brought in only to find no remains within the shark’s stomach.

“Shark experts brought in after the attack off Anse Lazio beach on Praslin island in the Seychelles gutted the captured fish yesterday. No human remains were found.”

For those of you who know little about Tiger sharks, assuming that this accident (I use this rather than attack because sharks do not knowingly attack humans) was actually caused by a Tiger and not a Great White, let me fill you in a few quick details:

1. Tiger sharks are found in tropical and temperate waters all over the world. (enchantedlearning.com)

      What does this mean? Finding one tiger shark in a warm tropical area that is abundant in fish and other sea creatures is not an unlikely thing.  Therefore, assuming that catching two tiger sharks in the Seychelles will result in one of them being the one that killed Ian Redmond is a little ridiculous. 

2. Tiger sharks travel from the surface to depths of 1200 ft below the sea. (enchantedlearning.com)

      What does this mean? The sought after shark could be 1200 ft below the sea right now, leaving two innocent sharks to be murdered by humans.  That seems all to similar to what happens when sharks attack humans except that sharks do it by accident or as a means of food, while humans do it selfishly to serve as retribution.

3. Tiger sharks are known to regurgitate some of their food after they eat it because unlike Great Whites, they swallow whatever they bite into.  This can sometimes be trash and other inedible things floating around the ocean floor. (enchantedlearning.com)

      What does this mean?  If the fishermen were actually looking for the shark that killed Ian, the chances of them finding it were extremely slim because the remains would no longer be in the shark’s stomach because contrary to common belief, humans aren’t part of a normal Tiger sharks diet.

     So, what happened in the Seychelles? Two innocent creatures were murdered and put on display because another one of their species accidentally killed an innocent honeymooner.  If all of these facts don’t persuade you to try to put a stop to these disgusting and truly terrifying acts of murder and massacre, let me leave you with one final scenario.  A man and his wife were on their honeymoon when a white man accidentally killed, or even purposely killed one of the honeymooners.  Because there was no evidence left at the scene aside from someone who saw that it was a white man, police went out and murdered two random white men who lived in the area and left them out for everyone to see.  Does this seem right or just or fair?  If you are the fintastic people who I think you are, you don’t quite think so. Everyday innocent sharks are killed for trying to eat, or simply just being sharks.  It’s up to us to say “STOP!” to all of the shark killers out there and to speak up for those who cannot speak themselves!

Well folks, that’s all from me today!  Subscribe to my blog to get updates on any new things that I post and feel free to comment!  I love your feedback!  Stay Great, sharp, and just keep swimming! 

Great White Teenager

Diving in Head First!

WELCOME to my blog!  I’m Great White Teenager and here to introduce you to the fin-tastic world of sharks! (pardon my overused and cheesy puns)  For my first post I’m not going to dive in too deep to anything in particular.  Instead, I’m going to give you a little incite on the thing that I love most, the topic I will talk about every post, sharks.  You may ask yourself, why is there a blog about sharks that is being updated during any week other than Shark Week?  The answer is: My interest in sharks extends far into the other 51 weeks of the year and I am here to try to convince others to care about these creatures during the other 358 days that sharks swim along our coasts!

Now a little about me!  Sharks are a huge part of my life.  My collection of shark paraphernalia includes a ring, necklace, stuffed animal named Kevin, blanket made by my wonderful mother, two hilarious hats, a charm for my camera, and a 7 foot long stuffed Great White shark that doubles as a sleeping bag because you can fit right into his mouth to cuddle up! (sounds like a pleasant experience, right?)  I even made myself a shark cake for my birthday last July! Check out the picture below to see the finished product because I’m pretty proud of all my hard work!

^^^ If you can’t tell I’m a little obsessed with sharks…

But this blog has nothing to do with my interests, how to make shark cakes, or anything like that.  (Even though I’ll post plenty of fun things on here to feed your interests) Rather, this blog is going to throw you into the shark infested waters of the world to tell you all sorts of information about new discoveries, recent attacks, and anything that relates to the safety of these amazing creatures.  Sharks all over the world and hunted and massacred each day because people want to make some fancy shark-fin-soup, or because they want retribution for a recent attack.  Because of this, shark populations are dropping and the biodiversity of the ocean is quickly being altered.  My goal is to tell you enough finteresting ( :P) facts about sharks to get each reader to join the cause and dive in head first!

Hope that you enjoyed my FIRST POST EVER!!! And that you follow me for some more great facts and attacks that you can really sink your teeth into!

Great White Teenager