Ambler Isle
V and S
Sun 30 Jan 2011 13:33
Sting Ray
Compass Cay Sharks
More C.C. Sharks
"Aren't you afraid of sharks?" many people ask.  Yes, of course, we fear and respect them.  They are big, wild animals.  But does that stop us from enjoying the sea and all it has to offer.  No!
We love to swim, snorkel, clean the water line, spearfish, and more.  So do 1000s of other boaters here.  We are all in the water everyday, all day.  And despite this, there are no incidents with sharks.  I guess this is where the respect part comes in.  If we are in the water and see a shark, we exit the water.  If we spear a fish, we lift it out of the water to take it back to the boat.  We keep that boat nearby.    If a shark comes to admire our fish before we land it, we give it to him.  Remains from fish cleaning are dinghied to sea, far from anchored boats.  But, in fact, we have had very few shark encounters while in the water at all. We never saw even one when scuba diving.
 At Compass Cay, marina owner Tucker Rolle feeds and protects a family of nurse sharks.  He invites his customers to feed them and to even swim with them.  When we got in the water with those nurse sharks, they were totally disinterested in us.  We wanted to get photos with them, and they kept moving away from us. 
Valt was spear fishing one day.  He was catching grunts, and decided he needed one more for a nice dinner.  He swam upside down into an opening to spear the last grunt.  Suddenly he was face to face with a shark!  He says he didn't know he could swim so fast.  But he also said the shark seemed as shocked as he.
The most frequent sighting of sharks is when we are trolling for fish.  If we do not reel our catch in quickly enough, a shark may steal it.  After all, he is just looking for dinner, the same as us.
The other day, a nurse shark swam over to the boat.  He laid on the bottom, lightly sprinkled himself with a little sand, and fell asleep.  Guess he was looking for a little shady spot? 
Sharks' dinner is fish.  The ocean's janitor, the shark does not mind if the fish dead or alive.  We can thank him for keeping the seas so clean.  And mammals are not on their menu.  
Their cousins, the sting rays are plentiful here.  Yes, we see their long stinger tails and even swim with them. We did not consider them dangerous at all until the accident with the Crocodile Hunter in Australia.   And just maybe he forgot to be respectful of a wild animal when he climbed aboard its back for a ride. 
No, we don't plan to stop enjoying the sea and its bounty.