Thursday, November 03, 2005


Brilliant ideas #1: Shark training

Those of you who know me will be aware that I like to spend time on the water. Of late this time has mostly been on a surfboard. Now, most people who've surfed will have thought from time to time about sharks. It's well known that sharks, and particularly Great Whites, have an occasional tendency to take bites out of surfboards and whoever happens to be sitting on top of them.

Now, the thing is that the sharks tend to spit that bite out and not bother taking another. Despite their reputation, Great Whites (especially large Great Whites) are fairly canny operators. They like seals. Seals are rich and fatty and an excellent source of high-energy food for a shark on the go. Sharks don't like mouthfuls of skinny white neoprene-wrapped surfer, or nasty epoxy-coated polystyrene foamy stuff. That's why they tend to spit out the first bite they take. Too bad that bite might have your kidney in it.

Seals do have this unfortunate habit of lolling about on the surface with a fin or two sticking out... rather like a surfer waiting for a wave, especially on a short board (so not me). I think that we're going the wrong way about the shark problem. What we should do, rather than hanging shark nets around beaches, is anchor a row of shortboards about 100 metres offshore. Any incoming shark that feels inclined to mistake a board for a seal will have a go at the empty boards and be educated on the differences.

Sharks have excellent vision, so the next time it sees a surfboard, being an intelligent and now educated critter, it will associate it with a nasty and unrewarding mouthful of fiberglass and foam, and leave it alone.


Brilliant. Although first we have to educate the population that sharks aren't just mindless eating machines.. Therein lies the problem: the great white's ability to learn outstrips that of the average Australian politician.
Yeah, I've been trying not to write about Australian politicians, or I'd never do anything else :)
Another problem might be to find enough volunteers to lead the classes. How many great whites are there exactly that need to be taught?
We'll get that ray in from Finding Nemo. Or possibly Bruce; "I am a decent shark, not a mindless eatin' machine", etc.
So we hired "Finding Nemo", Now I know that surfers are friends not food!
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