My family goes to the same beach most summers. Back in the summer of 2011, I'd spent the day inside and taking my kids to the pool at the property (J was still alive). It was getting to be late afternoon and I decided I wanted to take a dip in the ocean. My wife likes to hear the waves, I mean really likes to hear them, it's the main reason we go, but she's not much for going in the water. So it's about six in the evening and I head for the beach. I'm about to go into the water when I notice, dead ahead of me, that something is coming out of the water. Not someone, something.
A little while after, I had the presence of mind to take a picture of it, though I wasn't nearly as close to it as when I first saw it.
It was I guess between three and four feet long. Not huge, but I wouldn't have wanted to be in its proximity in the water, and if I'd entered the water about a minute earlier I'd have been right in front of it, heading toward it.
It turns out that this beach is at the very northern end of the alligator's natural range. There had been a hurricane a few days before and we think all that flooding resulted in the alligator being in the ocean rather than the sound. They don't like the ocean. Before that, I didn't even know they were in the sound. I know now.
The following summer we went there again, as usual. My daughter and I were walking on the beach one night when, in a flashlight beam, we found this:
Yup, a dead shark.
Now, you can't see scale here. In actuality, this shark was maybe a foot long, tip to tip. I have another photo of my daughter holding it up gingerly by the very tip of its tail. The shape is scary but the size wasn't, and I don't know enough about sharks to know if this was simply a small breed or a young example of a big breed.
This summer, I have a reservation on the same beach that I haven't paid for yet. This year, however, I'm a bit nervous, so maybe we won't go. After all, I heard about those shark attacks a week or two ago where two kids lost limbs.
Maybe I'll have a phone conversation with the company I rent from, Oak Island Realty.
That Oak Island.
My skittishness isn't quite as unreasonable as it looked, is it?