In this riveting true adventure and informative guide to the sea, master storyteller Peter Benchley draws on more than four decades of diving experience to bring us face to face with the array of sharks and other marine animals he and his family have encountered, almost always on purpose—but sometimes by accident.
In direct and accessible prose, Peter sets the record straight about the many types of sharks (including the ones that pose a genuine threat to us), the behavior of sharks and other sea creatures we fear, the odds against an attack, and how to improve them even further. He also teaches us how to swim safely in the ocean by reading the tides and currents and respecting all the inhabitants. Here are the lessons Peter has learned, the mistakes he has made, the danger he has faced—and the spectacular sights he has seen in the world’s largest environment. The book includes 16 pages of black-and-white photographs.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Shark Life|
|Release Date: 12-18-2008|
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South Australia, 1974
Swimming with Nightmares
Let's start with a story about sharks: Dangerous Reef, in the Neptunes Islands, 1974.
Blinded by blood, nauseated by the taste of fish guts, whale oil, and putrid horse flesh, I gripped the aluminum bars of the shark cage to steady myself against the violent, erratic jolts as the cage was tossed by the choppy sea. A couple of feet above, the surface was a prism that scattered rays of gray from the overcast sky; below, the bottom was a dim plain of sand sparsely covered with strands of waving grass.
The water was cold, a spill from the chill Southern Ocean that traversed the bottom of the world, and my core body heat was dropping; it could no longer warm the seepage penetrating my neoprene wetsuit. I shivered, and my teeth chattered against the rubber mouthpiece of my regulator.
Happy now? I thought to myself. Ten thousand miles you flew, for the privilege of freezing to death in a sea of stinking chum.
I envisioned the people on the boat above, warmed by sunlight and cups of steaming tea, cozy in their woolen sweaters: my wife, Wendy; the film crew from ABC-TV's American Sportsman; the boat crew and their leader, Rodney Fox, the world's most celebrated shark-attack survivor.
I thought of the animal I was there to see: the great white shark, largest of all the carnivorous fish in the sea. Rarely had it been seen under water; rarer still were motion pictures of great whites in the wild.
And I thought of why I was bobbing alone in a flimsy cage in the frigid sea: I had written a novel about that shark, and had called it Jaws, and when it had unexpectedly become a popular success, a televi