Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Shark Diving

The greater rush

from one foot in

the Atlantic Ocean

and the other

in the Indian Ocean

relative to cage diving

with great white sharks,

seems odd to me.

And there were great white sharks:

seven in all, 2 large ones,

chum drawn and bait bated to

charge the cage

hosting a line up of black suited

precious human bodies.

Clearly the cage is more

for our psychological protection,

than physical protection.

Sharks kill 5 to 7 humans a year.

We human kill 100,000 sharks each year.

Who’s the greater danger?

Sharks are so like the rhino,

a throwback to prehistoric bodies.

I’m surprised with the total

lack of fear suiting up

or entering the cage.

Once in, a huge rush,

partly cold water,

partly that I’m immersed

in the Atlantic Ocean,

near the very bottom of the planet.

I’m in the ocean that bonds

Greenland and Canada,

England and Maine,

and the steady heart beat

of Africa with South America.

The ocean feels charged

with past ships successfully

completing marketing missions,

and those claimed by Davie Jones locker

by this rugged coast.

The great whites are here,

drawn to “shark alley”

by the penguins on Dire Island

to the right, and seals on the left.

Both shorelines we can see from the boat.

Sharks are drawn to the boat

by the food game of

now you see it, now you don’t.

The water is chummed with

fish blood and bits, advertising the game.

If you choose to show up to play,

a hooked fish head is thrown your direction,

then withdrawn quickly over the human cage.

The men throwing know the “fetch” game well.

No feeding the sharks, tempting only,

so it must be jerked quickly out of jaws reach.

Underwater I have the house’s

best seat….last in the cage.

At the end of the boat chumming draws

schools of parrot fish who feed in a frenzy.

With visibility at 7 feet only

the cry “down in front”

means all of us caged ones

drop below the waters surface.

Nothing in front, fish feeding off to my right.

I come up for air.

Another “down in front”,

I submerge forgetting to take a breath.

And there it is.

A great white shark

drifting by, gills slits clear, closed,

only a brief mouth line

under the elongated snout.

“Down in front”

here comes another,

one lazy tail twitch sending it

shooting toward the boat,

the cage, mouth open.

I’m surprised by my bodies

lack of visceral fear, only appreciation

for the magnificent beauty,

the size and incredible grace.

And I’m getting cold.

Isn’t life incredible?

Lizette.Estelle Stiehr

September 14, 2010

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