Where I am up to…quite pleased really!

 

 

A model showing the overlap of anxiety, breathing and excitement
“Anxiety is excitement without the breath” – Fritz Perls

I have written a fair few posts about sharks these past couple of months; that has been quite deliberate and part of my ongoing therapy in managing my anxieties where sharks and my family are concerned. I feel like I am actually getting a grip on this. The boys and my hubby have come to two sessions with me, so they have an idea about what I am doing.  Working with my therapies we identified my fears in a progression chart, least to worst and we have been working threw them. My therapist has been using a guided imagery in our therapy sessions. This she told me was part of her training in Gestalt therapy – I had to look it up!! At first I found it a bit embarrassing really but after a couple of times I began to experience it differently. Maybe as I grew to trust wheat she was saying, I was more willing to participate in the imagery. While still using this method where I learn to control the anxieties I feel with breathing techniques and relaxation methods I am now preparing to face some of my concerns in real time. In the next few weeks I am going to visit an aquarium that has sharks.  I will tell you all about it in my next post.

One of my boys came home last week, full of himself, he had got a recording of the Discovery Channel shark week. Turns out one of his friends dads was into sharks (shudder) and had recorded it and the recording was now in my home waiting for me to watch it. Daft I know but I spent half an hour working up my courage to play the first episode, cannot say I watched it all. Thank goodness for fast forward but I think I made a good attempt and I am going to watch the second one tomorrow – with my friend! I am so pleased the boys are behind me on this. I know it would be so easy for them to ridicule my fear or make fun of me and while I get a bit of that, more off their dad than them, 99% of the time they are so supportive. Not sure they read this blog but if you do Thanks boys.

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Bull Sharks

Bull Shark

All the shark fear is mostly due to the Bull Shark. This shark is the most aggressive among all the other types of Shark. Another factor is that the bull shark loves warm sea water. Hence they are generally found near the shores in heavy populated areas. They can survive in rivers too, but that is not their natural habitat.

The bull sharks live in shallow waters never diving deeper than 30 meters. Hence they are the major threat along the coast. 95% of the total human deaths from shark bites have been due to the bull shark. One very interesting fact is that the bull Shark has been spotted very frequently in Brisbane river in Australia. Well the sharks seems to love the island continent. This is really weird as scientific evidence says that Bull Sharks cannot breed in fresh water.

They eat all kinds of fish, turtle and sometimes birds too. Their way of hunting a prey is to nudge and bite. They will first make contact with their snout and then bite and bite until the prey surrenders. Now that you know that they nudge first, be careful when you get a nudge from under water while swimming or surfing on waves.

But in spite of being a dreaded hunter it is essential that Bull Sharks remain in the coastal waters. If they are not there stingrays will multiply and the coastal waters will not be fit for swimming ever. Yes folks the main food of Bull Sharks are stingrays and they live in coastal waters because their main food is here. They are not here for us!

Tiger Sharks: The Fearsome Predator

Tiger Shark

You can see the stripes on their young ones. The stripes are just like on a tiger hence the name. The tiger shark is one of the most feared sharks everywhere. They have insatiable hunger. You can escape after a bite from The Great White, but if a tiger shark bites you, God can only help you.

The tiger shark has the tendency to continue attacking until their prey is devoured. This makes them earn the name for themselves as man eaters. They are scavengers of the sea, and their presence is good for the water. They keep the water clean and help keep population of other species in check. Their food range is amazing. They can eat almost anything in their vicinity. Their powerful jaws can even crack the strong turtle shells which we find hard to break.

They are commonly found in tropical and sub-tropical waters. A fully grown tiger shark is up to 25 feet in length, sounds fearful doesn’t it? They are feared and killed for their skin and oil. This has led to the dwindling population as the population growth of this species is very slow. They are in the endangered species list and conservation has helped them increase in number over the past five years. Fearful but essential creatures of the sea need protection.

Interesting facts about Sharks

Shark facts

Sharks are much feared due to their negative publicity by the movies, none more than the Steven Spielberg directed “Jaws”. Shark was depicted as a man eating monster. But this is far from truth. Shark is an animal which brings harmony to the sea, and is an essential cog in the Eco-system wheel of sea. Here are some interesting facts about this animal we are in awe of:

  • They grow 30000 teeth – No they have only 45 or so teeth at one time. But Shark’s teeth fall and grow very frequently. The good thing is that the teeth grow back very quickly. Crazy is it not?
  • No bones – Yes they are cartilaginous fish and do not have a single bone in their body.
  • Born Predator – Sharks are born predators. One of the shark types the tiger shark known for its aggressive nature is born predator. The first one to come out of the womb devours its siblings.
  • Ancient Creatures – Sharks have been there 210 million years before Dinosaurs, and are still there. They are successful and great survivors.
  • Shark attack is very rare – It has been popularized by movies but Shark attacks on humans is rare. Only 30 deaths occur due to sharks attacks annually. This is less tan people killed by lightening strike. Extremely unlikely.
  • We humans are predators of sharks – It is a fact that we have killed more sharks than sharks have killed us. The numbers do not lie. One human per two million shark.
  • Great adapters – Sharks can live both in salty and fresh water equally easily. They do so by regulating their blood. Extreme adaptation is it  not?

The Great White Shark

The great white shark
The great white shark

Popularised by “Jaws” movie as the ultimate sea monster the great white is a beautiful creature. It is scary but a natural marvel.It is found  in coastal surface waters of all oceans. It is a frequent sight on Australian coastal waters. It is a big animal measuring 26 feet. It reaches maturity at 15 years and lives a long life up to 70 years. It is one of the largest predators of the sea.

Fun facts about great white:

  • Weight – Weighing 5000 lbs it is one of the heaviest creatures. It is not the largest shark, but the most aggressive one.
  • Diet – Its natural prey are seals and sea bulls. they are carnivorous and even eat dead animals. Hence they qualify as scavengers as well. They keep the water clean as indicated by a recent study by national geographic.
  • The baby – A weird fact about the shark bay known as pup is that it swallows its own teeth. Measuring at 4-5 feet the pup can take care of itself since birth.
  • Sensory facts – The great white can sense one drop of blood in 100 litres of water. Armed with this sense and great olfactory senses it is one of the dreadful predators of the oceans.
  • Endangered – The killing of the great whites have made it very close to extinction. It is a species being conserved now as few are left.
  • Speed – The great white are very good and quick swimmers. Speeds of 24 km/hr can test most of their preys.
  • Weapons – The greatest weapon are its jaws. Armed with over 500 teeth it can actually slice through its prey.

 

 

Do you think you have galeophobia?

Galeophobia is the phobia of sharks. This is the fear that made Jaws that popular, after all. Who does not get shivers down their spine when they hear the theme tune, right?

But all jokes aside, galeophobia is a serious problem among a number of people. I have a crippling fear of sharks, but my doctor has not diagnosed with galeophobia. However, once I identified the source of my fear, I did a lot of research on the concept of galeophobia, and it is frankly incredibly scary.

Galeophobia

I am incredibly scared of sharks, yes. I had to go see a therapist when my boys started wanting to go to the beach because I was convinced they would be attacked. However, the life of a gaelophobic is slightly different. They are so scared of sharks that the mere mention of them might give them panic attacks. And of course, even if the possibility of a shark attack is slim or they are far away from the sea, they will still feel the fear.

This is a mental condition that needs to treated with care and respect. People need to accept the fact that being scared of sharks is normal and ensure that people get the care they deserve.

A bit of a rant…

 

Why won't people be sensible? Dont take the risk.I wrote about the shark shield in my last post and have decided my boys are going to have them. I am not naïve enough to think they are a panacea for my fears but actually being able to contribute to their safety whilst in the water helps me. I am still taking therapy sessions and I feel I am beginning to manage my concerns. The boys are surfing nearly every weekend and I have managed to not have a major panic attack; mind you I am glad we are not over in Newcastle. A big white, reported to be over 5mt has been sighted there along with 2 others.  Bruce they have called it, really giving it a name, what are people thinking?  Are we suppose to fear it less because it has a name? Ridiculous! The beaches in Newcastle have been closed for nine days for everyone’s protection and what do some folk do? Decide to, “do what they want…” I ask you, why pay for all the monitoring and safety devices when people won’t listen? I am afraid of sharks but I also now know they are endangered and by us, we go into their territory and take it over but kill them for being there. I do not understand the mentality of these people. Wait a few days, let them migrate on and then go back in the sea.  It makes me so angry that people take foolish risks when so much is done to educate and provide resources to prevent risk to life.

Well my boys assure me they will follow the advice of lifeguards and their coach, who I do respect, however I got a loan from Ferratum and ordered two shark shields and I am sleeping better at night knowing they are on their way to my home and the boys wrists.

Shark shield a innovaive development in safety for surfers and swimmers
Shark Shield