Growing up in Hawai'i I swam with a lot of sharks - probably a lot more than I was aware of! I remember swimming out to the piers in Kawaihae Harbor with my snacks and sunscreen in a ziplock baggie, silently praying that the old hammer head shark was sound asleep. I was part of the canoe paddling club that met there after school and before beginning our session we chanted to the sea, to it's life force. Every evening before finishing our route, we would have to quietly wait outside the Pu'ukohola heiau while the sharks finished their feeding. We could often see the shark fins cutting through the water in the distance. Sharks weren't something to feared; rather they were to be given the utmost respect.
Still, tragedy happens. I'll never forget when a local student was attacked while surfing in the evening in Kona (a big no) in 1999. It shook the community. We students rallied our support raising funds for hospital bills, and doing our best to raise awareness. Perhaps the biggest testament was that Jesse didn't stay out of the ocean for long. None of the students did: attendance at school was always the lowest when the waves were the highest.
I miss those days. I learned anceint Hawaiian chants, and learned to respect a culture that while not my own, embraced me. It seems that the sensationalism of Shark Week has worked to instill fear in us, instead of teaching us to respect the unknown. Nevertheless Shark Week has it's thrills with it's fun facts about sharks! Have you been watching this any of the shows that have been on this week? If so, share your favorite ones with me below!
Happy Sunday everyone!