Saturday, December 16, 2006

Saving a Great White Shark

    A typicalGreat_white_shark_rescue_121606_012 day in my life.... saving a Great White Shark.  Anna and I decided we wanted to get out of Corvallis today and head to the Coast to check out the ocean.  We're friggin' oceanographers and haven't seen the ocean in months.  Anna had a bit
of a hangover from a very rough night prior so we stopped at a restaurant named "Mo's"to get her some fries and a coke to kill it.  By the time we left the restaurant it was about 2pm so we decided to go for the short hike down the beach at South Beach State Park.

    According to our book on coastal hikes it was a 2 mile round trip down the beach.  P1010010
When we first hit the sand we discovered really long kelp that had been washed ashore.  I had not seen anything like it on the beaches of the Atlantic so I had a fun time swingin' it around.  They look like really long whips and would also be painful if one was to hit you.  They are also hollow inside and would make great beer bongs if so inclined... haha.  As usual with things I find from the ocean I gave them a bite.... didn't taste so good but they did smell like pumpkins oddly enough.
    We continued down the beach to where we could see two objects up ahead - a seagull staring at some sort of flopping animal.  I instantly could tell by the way the Great_white_shark_rescue_121606_003
animal was flopping around that it was a shark.  Sharks are more muscular and thus can't flip around as violently as normal fish when on dry land.  They simply have too much muscle and can't flex as far or as fast.  The Gull obviously didn't know what to make of the thing and was bright enough to stand 10 feet back to avoid it.  When we got closer I amazed to see that it was a baby GREAT WHITE SHARK!  It was very much still alive (despite a couple who walked by and said it was a gonner). P1010014
Anna, always caring, decided that we must save the shark.  We tried tossing it into the waves but it was too shallow and the shark couldn't swim very far.  So.... I decided to pick it up by the tail and walk it a mile down the shore to a long rock jetty that projected out to the ocean.  The shark was about 3.5 feet long and about 30 to 35 pounds so it wasn't very easy carrying it that way.  Plus, I kept looking down to make sure it didn't flex and take a chunk out of my calf which was about 5 inches from it's head.  When we were nearly to the jetty the shark suddenly twisted itself so that it's face was looking right up at me (must have taken a lot of it's strength seing that it was dangling by its tail).  The damn thing stared up at me for several seconds chomping it's jaws filled with razor sharp teeth as if taunting me.  It was really freaky to see because it looked exactly like a killer, just a hell of a lot smaller. 
    When we got to the jetty we waited until a big wave came in and started to go out again creating an off shore rip current that we tossed the shark into.  The rip currentGreat_white_shark_rescue_121606_014
essentially followed the jetty all the way into the deeper water soGreat_white_shark_rescue_121606_013
we knew the shark would be carried out to where it needed to be.  It quickly dissapeared under the water and we didn't see it again.  Anna and I climbed on the rocks of the jetty a bit to make sure it didn't get stuck in any of the rocks but we couldn't find it so hopefully it made it.  Hopefully I have good karma with great white sharks now.  I told him to tell his buddies to leave me alone when I begin to surf off the shore later this year.  Oregon is known for the presence of great whites in the waters offshore so hopefully now I'll be protected by my new killer buddy. 
    We hung out a little bit longer until the sun began to set and watched some boats Great_white_shark_rescue_121606_021
come in after a day of fishing on rough seas, and I do mean rough seas.  The breakers off shore had to still be 10-20 feet high from all the rough weather we've been getting.  I ended up taking a 30-40 foot long piece of kelp home with me.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it yet but maybe Kenzie will have some fun with it when he and Jason get back from Christams with their family. 

Jon Ellinger (Aka Danger, Aka shark rescuer).

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