An older gentleman whom I know, Chuck, told me recently there’s no way that he’ll step into the Gulf waters for a swim. His wife loves the water, but not Chuck. He fears that he may run into Jaws.
In the Gulf, if you swim closer to the shoreline in clear water then an encounter is somewhat unlikely. There was a man who was attacked by a shark while swimming 100 yards out. Good grief! Black tip, bull head, and nurse sharks are in the Gulf waters. Common sense is the key, here.
One of our first summers in Naples, Jen and I were swimming a few yards offshore. We suddenly heard a young boy shouting and crying that something was biting him. Sure enough, there were 1” sized jellies floating near him on the surface and a few had stung him on the legs and arms. The jellies looked like wads of spit on the water's surface. A suntan product called SafeSea can protect you from jellies which are found in Florida waters certain times of the year. That was the first time I’d seen jellies.
I’ve been knee deep in the water and I’ve seen pods of 50 or more stingrays swimming up the gulf, close to the water’s edge. While most people ran out of the water back to the beach, I stood watching the rays pass by, flapping through and around my legs. It was like getting slapped with rubber tires.
Another time, some people started hollering out to swimmers to get out of the water! I know my fins, and knew that what they thought were sharks were dolphins swimming along the shoreline. If I were in California or Australia I’d be more afraid of what might be lurking in the water.
At Bahia Honda in the Florida Keys, Paul, Jen and I were walking through the shallow waters, stepping lightly, avoiding walking over the coral reefs. Paul felt something batting against his leg. Looking down he saw a fish that looked mad. The little fighter was trying to push Paul away from his reef. No way did the fish want us around!
At Hanauma Bay, on Oahu, Jen and I were snorkeling. I was quickly bashed against my silicone mask, pain shooting through my face. My nose was slightly fractured and I had a black eye. The offending source of the attack was a Japanese man who had whacked me while he was snorkeling next to me.
He started laughing when he looked at me. He and his companion were pointing at me, calling me “Fishy Face”… Funny…Benihahaha… I rose out of the water. I wanted to snap his skimpy weiner suit back, sending him flying across the Pacific Ocean. People are dangerous, too!
If you want to play it safe I suggest grabbing your rubber ducky and head for the bathtub…