Love sharks year round, not just during Sharkweek

     So after all of my months of preaching about helping sharks and “saving my fin-tastic friends”, it’s about time I show you some great ways to donate money to shark protection that reward you in some pretty awesome shark paraphernalia! And for those days when you just want to shout your love for sharks on the rooftop, there are plenty of awesome shark things out there to buy! LET’S GET STARTED:

1. sharkwater – is an INCREDIBLE, life changing movie and each purchase of the DVD goes to supporting and protecting sharks all over the world from finning and murder.  This purchase is definitely worth it!

2. adopt a shark here, or here, or even here! – Donate money to help a specific shark (i.e. adopting a shark).  Some places let you name your shark and others give you a nice “glossy photo” of your new adopted pet!

And for those days that you just want to enjoy sharks without having to save the planet, here are quite a few of my favorite shark items for sale:

3.  Shark mug – this mug is great for any finatic that loves the thrill of seeing a great white in his empty mug every morning.

4.  Chumbuddy – I received this 7 foot bad boy for my 19th birthday and could not have been happier!  He is huge, the life of every party, and amazingly comfortable!  This plush companion is great for any bedroom, warm enough to sleep in each night, and cool enough to show off to everyone you know!

My Brother in the best birthday present I've ever received at my Shark themed dinner!

5. Shark backpack – Carry around your books in style with this awesome shark backpack!  It can make even the most terrifying classes seem tame in comparison to its sharp teeth.

6. Shark bean bag chair cover – One of my personal favorites, this bean bag cover allows any seat to become fin-tastic!

7. Shark ring – Shark rings are an awesome reminder of those amazing swimmers that need all of the help that they can get!  I personally love shark jewelry and have a gorgeous ring, and a necklace that I wear every day!

8. Shark Nails – If I was talented enough, I would rock these nails on every occassion!  Give it a shot and copy this nail art to give show that you are a true fin-atic!

9. Shark Infested Jello – This is a simple recipe that include blue jello, some cool whip to add the white waves on the top, and some gummy sharks that you can find at any Sweet Factory or candy dispensary to add in throughout the jello! Fun, easy, and great for a sharkweek party or just a normal, shark-filled day!

10. Shark Cake – Yes, I did make this cake!  Yes, it was for my own birthday!  Surprisingly, this wasn’t as difficult as it looks.  Just layers of cake with some fondant bought at Michaels made my birthday one that I will never forget! (To check out all of the steps that went into making my cake, take a look at my first blog post ever!

        So now you know ten awesome things that can help support the incredible creatures that I love and care about most!  And if these aren’t satisfying enough for such an extreme shark lover like you, feel free to check out some of the things that I personally own!  Best bet, search shark____ on google or amazon and you can find ANYTHING you’re looking for.  I have a shark blanket, a huge Jaws poster that I bought on Hollywood Blvd., shark ice cube trays that are super cheap and can be found easily on amazon, shark lighters (awesome and found on amazon), and a small, stuffed, blacktip shark named  Kevin who sits on my bed. Go out and find shark things that are right for you and help support my amazing friends!

And remember, Just Keep Swimming!

Great White Teenager

The Most Sel-fish Species of All

“A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor’s.” – Richard Whately

“A selfish man is a thief. ” – Jose Marti

 I’m not introducing this week’s post with the word “selfish” to be punny.  (Although, the fact that it is sel-fish does seem to fit in well the rest of the ridiculous words I like to create and hyphenate for the sake of being witty)  Rather, the word “selfish” is the only word that I can find for humans today that seems to classify the majority of them at once.  Humans care more about making themselves happy and comfortable than about most other things.  Their indifference is frustrating and their gluttony shames the human race time and time again.  So why am I ranting on about how selfish humans can be?  Because it is their destructively selfish ways that are quickly killing off sharks.  Each time a person decides to benefit themselves instead of another creature, for example, ordering a bowl of shark-fin-soup, they increase the suffering of another.  

        Every order of shark-fin-soup leads to the malicious murder of hundreds of sharks.  (And who is doing this killing? Surprisingly enough, HUMANS! )  And as these sharks are being massacred, nearly 100 of the 400 species of sharks have become endangered.   According to Shark Foundation, a well-known site among us shark fiends that allows the reader to search all endangered shark species, the severity of their endangerment, and the region or reason responsible for their rapid decrease, 

“The “International Action Plan for Sharks” initiated by CITES and the FAO (Food and Agricultural Organization) have established that:

  1. more than 100 out of 400 shark species are being commercially exploited
  2. many of these shark species are so overexploited that even their long-term survival can no longer be guaranteed
  3. a serious monitoring and control program is lacking for international shark trade.”

I’m sure a lot of readers did not even know that there were 400 shark species, nonetheless that 100 different kinds of sharks were being killed everyday for the production a brothey soup.  As they are hunted and killed, it is near impossible for these sharks to give birth to enough offspring to maintain a great enough number to regenerate the species because most do not live long enough to mate and give birth.  Yes, that does mean that fisherman are not waiting until the sharks are fully grown to barbarically butcher them (which would be the most logical way to obtain the greatest amount of fin).  Rather, humans are being their normal, selfish selves and demanding shark-fin-soup at such a consistent rate that young, and even baby sharks, are carved to bits.  

Now I understand that there are a lot of people in this world who are thinking, “Why would I ever care about sharks?  They can go extinct for all I care!” WRONG!  I cannot put enough emphasis on this as I say it: IF PEOPLE CONTINUE TO MURDER SHARKS, THEY WILL GO EXTINCT AND SO WILL HUMANS!  

  I’m not saying that the last shark dies and immediately all humans keel over.  But let’s consider what would happen if we really did cause the extinction of all sharks, or at least the major players in the ocean like the Great White shark.  

1. Great Whites go extinct.

2. All of the Great Whites food (fish, seals, ect) are not being killed.

3. Fish populations rise.

4. The amount of smaller feeder fish decreases drastically.

5. The fish that eat plants slowly devour the entire ocean floor.

6. The earth’s massive source of oxygen is depleted, killing all living creatures in the ocean and all air breathing creatures like ourselves.

7. All species are extinct, including humans.

I realize that this would take hundreds of years to happen and seems a little drastic.  But I failed to mention the immense amount of suffering that would occur all over the world as food resources decrease and the ocean’s entire ecosystem collapses.  SharkFriends.com gives a quick and effective summary of shark finning in relevance to the survival of humans,

“Mankind cannot continue to abuse nature or nature will strike back… and with brutal fury! …mankind will become extinct next if sharks disappear.  Without sharks the oceans will team with fish and other ocean animals that live off the plant life in the sea.  When this plant matter disappears so will the vital oxygen that the ocean produces…then what happens?  Think about it.”

Humans need to think about the consequences of their actions.  The amount that the ocean is used for recreation greatly effects the number of shark attacks as I have talked about in previous posts because the more people in the ocean increases the likely hood of an attack.  However, with no sharks in the water, the ocean would ironically lose its appeal – trillions of fish, few plants and beautiful reefs and patties to explore, less attraction for scuba diving and other water activities.  

                                                                                                                                                                                                             Moral of my (very preachy) story, if you kill sharks you will die, and until then, you will have no fun!  There, obviously,  is a reason that states and countries all over the world are fighting for my fishy friends by    attempting (some successfully) to ban shark finning and the sale of shark-fin-soup.  Consider this the only post I will ever publish as a direct plea to all of my readers.  If I have not scared you into following my example through my declaration of certain death, I hope that knowing that amazingly beautiful species all over the world are dying for no justifiable reason will sway your decision to help.  Great White sharks are on the red list of endangered species with less than 3,500 left in the ocean today.  I am asking you from the depths of heart to help fight for those in the depths of the ocean. It is the least that you could do for your fintastic, favorite blogger 😉 

Do your part and Just keep swimming,

Great White Teenager

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!