I can’t quite believe that this is my 100th post. I can’t quite believe that I’ve published 99 rambling stories, recipes and anecdotes, and that people have actually been reading them. I find that amazing. To celebrate my 100th post, I was originally going to share what I’d learnt from blogging, or something along those lines, but my blog’s birthday is next week, so I’ll save my ground-breaking insights for that occasion (don’t hold your breath). So instead, I thought I’d do something a little different. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you may remember that to celebrate my 50th post, I introduced you to my oven gloves, the inspiration for my blog’s name. As might be obvious from the name Sharky Oven Gloves and the fact that I have two shark-shaped oven gloves as well as a shark mug (which crops up in photos occasionally), I love sharks. So I thought I’d share three of my favourite photos of real live sharks that I took whilst doing an internship at a research lab in South Africa about three years ago.
Apparently this shark didn’t get the memo that there’s no recipe today. She ate the entire bait rope. And tried to eat the buoy as well. (By the way, the bait is used to bring the great whites (Carcharodon carcharias) as close to the boat as possible to get photos of their dorsal fins, as each one is individual which allows identification – rather like fingerprints, but a bit more difficult to obtain. The sharks aren’t supposed to get the bait, but sometimes they’re stealthier and faster than the person operating the bait rope, and once they get hold of it, they have a tendency to not let go. And have you ever tried to play tug-of-war against the tonne of muscle that is a great white? My guess is no, and my advice is don’t try it. This shark was clearly of the distinctly uncooperative variety as she kept showing us her belly rather than her back.)
This shark was far more cooperative, and even grinned for the camera (anthropomorphism? What anthropomorphism?) – clearly a diva shark. Her fin isn’t quite entirely out of the water, so it’s not ideal for identification, but if you look closely, you can see that there are a few notches along the straight edge, and those are what make the fin individual, along with colour blotches and scars (those this shark has no examples of those). Contrary to Jaws, great whites don’t usually swim along with their fins sticking out of the water, which is why a bait rope is used to try and get them to the surface and close to the boat (wait, what, that film wasn’t an accurate portrayal of Great White behaviour??? No way!).
As for this shark, well, she literally jumped for joy at the prospect of being featured on my blog. Her little five
minutes seconds of internet fame. That is an actual great white somersaulting out of the water, by the way (before anybody tries to tell me that sharks don’t do that, and am I sure it’s not a dolphin?). Have you ever seen the footage of sharks hunting seals by ambushing them from below in documentaries? If not, you can find a clip from BBC Planet Earth here (it involves seals getting munched on by sharks, so don’t watch it if that will upset you), narrated by the amazing Sir David Attenborough, who graduated with us in June as an honorary graduate. So we’re practically the best of friends, Sir David and I (I wish).
So on that exciting note, thanks for indulging my shark over-enthusiasm (I know it’s not shared by everybody…). Enjoy the rest of your day!