23 August 2010

Sharks and Crocs

No longer will I be able to laugh at Angie and her mum, Tina, complaining about the millipedes and spiders wandering around the terrace. ‘But you’ve got crocodiles and racoons wandering around your garden and sharks swimming all over the place in Florida’, I say. ‘Compared to that, bugs are positively civilised.’

But no more – last week the beaches down here were closed because of a sighting of a ‘2 metre shark’. I was initially sceptical as to whether it was a shark but I read a report which described the situation as follows:

“The sighting was reported by a lifeguard patrolling in a motorboat who saw a 7 feet long shark. Immediately after the news, lifeguards at the beach raised a red flag which signifies danger and asked tourists not to go into the water. There was a rumour that it was a Great White but lifeguards have not confirmed the report. Swimming was banned at Cagnes-sur-Mer, Villeneuve-Loubet and Saint-Laurent-du-Var at least for Tuesday with lifeguards insisting they may check out the ocean (it’s a sea) before allowing tourists back in the water (what about the locals ?)”

And if that wasn’t bad enough, our northern cousins had a croc to deal with – apparently.

Beaches along the French coast of the English Channel were closed after a killer crocodile was spotted lurking in the sea. The alarm was raised after two men said they had seen a 12ft monster near the northern French port of Boulogne, less than 30 miles from Britain's south coast. When more warnings came in, officials decided to close all nearby beaches, packed with high-season holidaymakers.

In a very rare bit of French humour, locals have decided to call the beast,  ‘Croc Monsieur’ after the commonly eaten toasted sandwich of the same name but spelled Croque. It now turns out however that the ‘croc’ was actually a piece of wood! How come several French fishermen, on different boats, all made the same mistake?

Down here, sharks are a bit more of a serious matter, but ironically a shark joke appeared in my e-mail in-tray on exactly the same day as the sighting. Here it is:

The Pope was cruising along the beach in the Pope-mobile when there was a frantic commotion just off-shore. A helpless man, wearing a Celtic football shirt was struggling frantically to free himself from the jaws of a 25 foot shark.

As the Pope watched in horror, a speedboat pulled up with three men wearing Rangers football jerseys. One quickly fired a harpoon into the shark's side while the other two reached out and pulled the hapless Celtic fan from the water. Then, using long clubs, the three beat the shark to death and hauled it into the boat.

Immediately the Pope shouted and summoned them to him. "I give you my blessing for your brave actions. I heard that there is bitter hatred between Rangers and Celtic football  fans, but now I have seen with my own eyes that this is not true."

As the Pope drove off, the harpooner asked his friends: "Who was that?"

"It was the Pope," one replied. "He is in direct contact with God and has access to all of God's wisdom and knowledge."

"Well" the harpooner said, looking at the blood soaked, shark ravaged Celtic fan in the bottom of the boat,   "he may have access to God and his wisdom, but he doesn't know anything about shark fishing. Is our bait holding up OK or do we need to get another one?"


Anonymous said...

I did see some video footage a few years back, allegedly filmed in the Mediterranean, that showed a great white taking a bite out of a large fish that had been caught and tied to the side of the boat to be taken back to shore, and there have been studies that concluded that Med might be a nursing ground for great white sharks. PS if you haven't seen it check out Shark Men / New Shark Men on the National Geographic channel, these guys use a modified ship to catch great white's off the coast of Mexico, lift them out of the water and tag them.

Allison said...

Ugh, sharks are seriously my biggest fear ever. That must be ridiculously scary to have all the beaches closed for such a big shark! A ton of beaches were closed here because of sharks, however it doesn't stop the American obsession with sharks - they have a whole week called "Shark Week" on one of the TV channels in August! It's the worst week of the whole year for someone like moi who is terrified of sharks!
Oh, and the "croc Monsieur" comment made me laugh so much. Croque Monsieurs and Madames are a staple of my mother's cooking :)