Today’s post is going to be a different post yet again. This is a long post, but bear with me. I think you will like it none-the-less. I will be back in the kitchen today, I promise. And hopefully we will be out walking again today too, weather permitting.
I was in the kitchen, but only for a bit. All I made in the kitchen was Lucie and Vinnie’s food. I make their wet food about once a week. They are well fed and well loved pups. They too love it when mommy is in the kitchen, because they know she makes them yummy food. Larry and I had leftovers, and we each ate something different at that. We were not out walking for two reasons. One, the weather was cold and rainy, but two, I was busy taking an online class – more on that in just a bit. But have no fear, I have plenty more pictures from our walk-abouts.
As much as I love cooking, I love the water even more. The sea is my true calling and always has been. I get that from my dad. You all know scuba diving is my number one passion. But I have been “dry” since COVID-19 has taken control of the world. We have cancelled two dive trips because of COVID; one to la Paz, Mexico and the other to the Great Barrier Reef (GBR), in Australia. Even though I am dry, and have not been in the water for far too long, I can still do scuba related classes, and that I did.
One of my scuba goals is to become a master diver, and I am well on my way. In fact, I am not far from that goal. I have always loved and connected with both dolphins and whales, but it was not until I started diving that I also learned how much I love and respect the sharks too. At first, like many people, I had a fear of sharks, but it didn’t take long before I realized how much I actually love them and am very connected to them as well.
My first shark dive was also my first night dive. That happened when I was still just a beginner diver. I was more than a little freaked out by both. We were diving at the GBR and it was my first night dive. Night dives are very cool. You see a completely different world than you do when diving in the same spot during the day, but you can only see what your flashlight or torch illuminates. I was looking in one direction with my flashlight and I felt something poking me on the other side. Fortunately, I did not react or make any sudden moves or I might not have an arm at this point. I thought I had bumped into a reef or something. I turned to see what it was, and to my surprise, it was a white tip reef shark introducing himself, in a not so subtle way. Fortunately, when I turned, I blinded him for an instant with my flashlight. We were both stunned and shocked, to say the very least. I was also told if you see a shark, don’t move. They like the hunt and the chase, so let them move first. Believe me, I followed that advice and let the shark make his move first. He went one way, and I went the other way. It was much later than I found out that he was actually tasting me. It was a very good thing that I did not taste good to him, and I still have my left arm. White tips are not aggressive sharks though, good thing. The only time they are aggressive is when they are feeding, but we are not a food source for them, so if we leave them alone, they will leave us alone. This is true of most wild animals and sharks. The only times they attack are: 1) when they feel threatened or afraid; 2) when you are in their territory and they are defending it; 3) they are protecting their young, or 4) when they are acting out of natural instinct and looking for food. Most people would have been totally freaked out over this, and many would have stopped diving right then and there. Not me. In fact, I did the opposite. Now, I LOVE the sharks, and I want to learn as much about them as I can to protect them. I look back today, and this seems like an eternity ago. Maybe, because it was.
And this brings me back to the present. I was not cooking or walking because I was busy online getting certified in Shark Ecology. We dive all over the world, and I see sharks all the time. They come right up to me “looking for love”. Maybe it is because they know I am not afraid of them, but they will come and single me out, coming face to face with me, while leaving all the other divers alone. It was while diving in Belize a few years ago, that I became known as the Shark Whisperer because of this.
Sharks, skates and rays are all part of the same family, although skates and rays are known as Batoids, because of their flat, batlike shape.
This is a male Southern sting ray.
Larry and I being trained to handle sting rays. This is a female Southern sting ray at Sting Ray City in Grand Cayman. The females tend to be much larger than the males. We are very conscientious divers, and normally DO NOT touch anything, but these rays are very used to people and we were with trained specialists who were teaching us how to properly handle the rays.
This is one of my favorite shots. It was pure luck. I was able to get the Southern sting ray just as she was leaving her sandy area, swimming off into the blue unknown. This was in Belize.
A beautiful eagle ray in Cozumel.
And now the sharks ….
This is KC, a very friendly young nurse shark who loves attention. She could stay there being petted all day long. I am the one with no bling and natural nails at the bottom of the picture. As we were ascending to get back on the boat, she was not done getting her love, and she started swimming up right along side of me. This was in Grand Cayman too. KC is one of the resident nurse sharks who is like a pet. Again, normally we NEVER touch any of the wild life unless the guides tell us it is OK and they are there with us.
The reefs of Belize are loaded with sharks. They are mostly nurse sharks and black and white reef tips. None of these are aggressive. We swim with them all the time.
I got a picture of Larry taking a picture of these two juvenile nurse sharks.
A quiet moment between me and one of my followers.
This was in Roatan. There were 16 black tip sharks all around us. Larry did not do this dive, but then I dive a lot more than he does anyway. He says he “is quite happy to be an underwater tourist”, whereas I am most definitely the “Aquaholic” and “Dive-a-holic”.
The Shark Whisperer in her element.
This is what I do when I am not in the kitchen. 🙂 But since I am now certified in shark ecology, I just had to share my other love with you all. I promise I will be back in the kitchen today, cooking up something yummy once again.
Stay safe and stay well Everyone. ‘Til next time.