… on shoulds and sharks

ShepHerd Snacks


See that above?

That is a completely legal, totally licensed piece of art that I made up when I first began justponderin-dot-com.

The image is appropriate for today, because today we will be discussing… yes… sharks.

We will be doing so under one of my favorite umbrella topics, shoulding.

So yes, ladies and gents.

Prepare yourselves.

Because I’m pretty much about to should all over you.

So grab a towel to wipe off all the should. Here we go…

Last night, at about 11:47 p.m., I called JoHn as I was turning off the highway with a little less than an hour left until I got to the island. I’d been driving for nearly 17 hours at that point (due to a missed turn just outside of Washington, D.C. that I don’t wanna talk about right now… SAM!) after helping Gabe get settled into his sophomore year down in North Carolina.

So I figured talking to JoHn as I wove my way home would be a fun way to end my trip.

He said he was watching a show about sharks and did I want him to narrate for me and I was all, Uh yes!

So JoHn started off with some scene setting.

Turns out there have been a series of shark attacks in a very specific area near Catalina Island – which is really, officially, Santa Catalina Island (but some political correct person probably complained about the Christmas affiliation because no one uses the ‘Santa’ anymore).

And this is fairly well known, it turns out, because I just found a USA Today travel article for fall 2017 entitled, Snorkling at Catalina Island.

And it is a bulleted list of things to do and get all excited about. I will summarize here:

*Book passage on a ferry (lovely! fun stuff.)

*Visit a diving or outdoor adventure company when you get there (check!)

*Rent a 6.5 mm semi-drysuit with hood, gloves and wet boots if you do not already have one (something I might have worn when I was 20, but probably isn’t going to happen today (but that’s me, you be you)).

*Rent a sea kayak if you want to see things from that perspective (I’d be up for that!)

Okay, all of those things seem like nice suggestions for a relaxing day out on the waters off of Catalina Island. But then there’s this…

‘Watch out for blue sharks. While blue sharks are a rare sight in Catalina Island’s waters, they are known to visit the area. These 13-foot, slender, 300- to 400-pound sharks are opportunistic feeders, so one may attack if it thinks you are vulnerable prey. Calmly exit the water as soon as possible if you see one.’

They had that last.


And also? They only highlighted ‘blue sharks’. I also found a LA Times article which pointed out different colored sharks in the area – white ones, with the word ‘great’ in front of the word ‘white’.

Okay… time for perspective and a bit of shoulding.

Apparently, we should all read all the way through any travel information written about being in ocean water between Continental United States California and the bits and pieces hanging out off of its coast. The important-est decision-making information may be hidden at the end of articles or earnest marketing materials. Clearly the tourism board is in cahoots with the news media and is luring people to California and downplaying their potential tourism status… as snacks.

And, by the way, come on… 

‘Calmly exit the water as soon as possible if you see one’?


You know what? I’m gonna need the person who wrote that piece of advice to perform a live demonstration for me.


I learn better visually.

So last night JoHn brought me through two real-life shark attack survival stories that happened in these waters…

One lady was kayaking between the mainland and Catalina Island and a shark hit her from below and she was propelled straight up in the air and tumbled and landed right on the back of the shark. 

On. Her. Feet.

I know!

So she kind of had to decide when to leap off of the shark, and there was a fishing boat about 200 yards away, and she jumped off and the fishing people had it on video (?!) and she made it to the boat!


If you get hit by a shark from below and propelled in the air and stick your landing (on the back of said shark), you should surf on the shark until you are equal to, or less than, 200 yards from a fishing boat and then go ahead and jump off and swim to said boat.

Also, you should take luck with you (just pack it into your wetsuit thingie before you leave).

Or maybe don’t kayak in shark infested waters. Just sayin’.

Now, about those wetsuit thingies.

The final story JoHn was telling me about – as he was watching it – was about a triathlete.

As soon as JoHn said triathlete I was all – “Oh hell no.”

Because, come on, people.

If you are heading into shark infested waters with a whole bunch of other people dressed in wetsuits…

Honestly. I can’t even believe you need to be told you should not do this..

Hang on…

Okay. Here is what we look like when we are triathletes..

Have you taken that all in?

Got a good image in your brain for comparison purposes?

Okay, good.


Here is what a shark sees when he looks at us being triathletes:


Wetsuits and all.

I plugged ‘triathlon’ into a shark language translator tool and got ‘tapas bar’.


If you are a triathlete I have a great deal of respect for you.

Unless you triath in shark infested waters.

You should not do that.

That is just common sense for all triathletes.

And all other forms of sushi.

Thanks for readin’.

You can comment below, or join fellow ponderers on just ponderin’s Facebook page whenever you want!

*The last two images (of triathletes and sushi) are not my own. I used them – from triathlete.com and taste.com.au – for example purposes only.