Friday, July 20, 2012

Shark Week - The Australian Version

The deadly Wobbegong. And by "deadly" I mean "lazy". Look at it just laying on the ground.

As a child I was really into sharks. I had a cool shark book with pictures which I read about twice a week and a National Geographic video on sharks which also got a lot of play time, although that's probably because every other movie in the house was from Disney so options were limited.

When I was 8 my parents announced they were taking the family on a short cruise around the Florida Keys and the Bahamas. I was 100% certain there were no sharks in Pittsburgh, but goddamn if there wouldn't be a lot swimming around in the ocean. In particular, I was interested in the Wobbegong Shark, which tends to lie in shallow waters and blends in with rocks. All the better to attack it during shore excursions, I thought, given that I didn't have a boat (never mind that it doesn't actually live anywhere near Caribbean).

In preparation for this adventure I judiciously took all the plastic tent poles out of the basement and filed the ends down to a sharpened point on our cement driveway. I was crushed when my mom said I couldn't take my collection of spears on the plane. I had made like 20 spears, and now could neither hunt nor go camping again. I still blame her for ending my shark hunting career before it started. I could have been huge in Japan.

While my obsession with sharks has passed, I still do have a fascination with them. They're such mysterious creatures and are only in the news under dramatic circumstances: someone lost an arm, a surfer got bitten in half, a shark is dating a Kardashian, and so on. This is particularly true in Australia where Great White attacks are rare but still bring back memories of Jaws and the idea that sharks are out to hunt us. (Interesting aside: shark attacks used to be referred to as "shark accidents" since they're not intentionally trying to eat humans). It's no wonder the Discovery Channel's Shark Week consistently gets high ratings.

As it happens, Sharon's parents are in town for a visit and we'll be taking a short trip up to Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef next week. Guess who inhabits the waters around Queensland? My little friend the Wobbegong. Shark-tooth necklace or bust, baby!

*I don't actually condone killing sharks. Animals are awesome.


  1. Come swim with us in Manly and you can see some Port Jacksons and Dusky Whalers yourself (Wobbegongs are so passe'...ha).

  2. Interesting piece.
    The the Wobbegong shark is the one we have to worry about?

  3. We didn't get to see the Wobbegong Shark during our visit to the great barrier reef.