The Trickster Appears
Facing My Inner Shark
The very word SHARK may have piqued your curiosity. Maybe you reacted with visceral anxiety shooting through your very veins. Maybe one of the multitude of cinematic Jaws' scenes flashed your memory banks. Maybe you scurried to the lifelines to view the demon. Maybe you rocket-jettisoned from the watery depths back into the relative safety of your nearby dinghy. Or maybe you imagined swimming Michael Phelps Olympic speed to some protective beach umbrella waiting for you upon a nearby sandy shore.
Maybe you paid a sixpence to view the notorious omnipresent predator like those gawkers did aboard Joshua Slocum's Spray (below) in 1900 when he stopped in South Africa during his sail around the world alone.
Maybe the idea of a shark suggests mystery and intrigue and simply hooked your imagination. Maybe your imagination and eyesight were just playing with you. They tricked you! Maybe it wasn't a shark, after all.
Could it have been a cloud's shadow? Maybe a shoal's surfacing as the tide ebbed? Might it have been some other fish? Could it be a basking sting ray or skate? How about a piece of black plastic flotsam lodged on coral head during last night's squall? How about some black fan coral outcropping at low tide? How come I didn't notice it 5 days ago? Hum? Could it be
a figment of my imagination, a mirage possibly?
During the first year of three sailing alone around the world, Joshua Slocum described in detail discovering more than once during nightfall a Portuguese crew member from Columbus'
on his boat
. The sailor spoke in his native tongue reassuring Joshua he was safe, secure and true on course as he slept. Joshua described this phantom in graphic detail; his appearance, confidence and assurance that he meant no harm. Joshua's imagination all felt starkly vivid and real.
Flamingo Bay, Rum Cay
imagination started to conspire with the sea and the sky to play tricks on me.