Monday 19 August 2013

What's in a name?

Ever get a nickname you couldn't outrun? Well it happened to me about 3 years ago and now all my paddling buddies call me "sharkbait".  Not a name to inspire beginners to push their boundaries and come off-shore with me.

I should state that sharks are inquisitive creatures and don't usually need to give your gel-coat a touch-up to determine that you are not food (i.e. repeat after me: Kayakers are friends, not food....).  I blame the skeg on my brand new Nordkapp flapping around like a wounded fish and not my paddling imitating a wounded seal!

In defense of the shark, it was prime feeding time, the water was murky and the shark may have been vision impaired.  What you are looking at in the picture above is where two rows of the said sharks teeth broke through the gel-coat and embedded themselves in the fibreglass.

The shark attacked from underneath the boat, hitting behind the cockpit and lifting the boat and myself out of the water.  It held the boat firmly for a few seconds before allowing me to paddle out of its mouth (had a nice set of scratches down both sides of the kayak).  I didn't get a look at the shark as I was making sure that I was going to stay upright and all my paddling buddy saw was the large swirl of the shark disappearing back to the depths.

So what can you take from this experience?  It was a mistaken hit and the shark let me go after realising this, the likelihood of this happening again is very rare, and a name...

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