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Kids, the ocean, fear of sharks

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If there's a chance there is some real fear behind the shark thing, and not just resistance to wanting to do the camp, I definitely wouldn't force surfing.  Primarily because surfing is highly correlated with shark attacks, though maybe less so in Florida.

I think there's several reasons tourists tend to get attacked more often.  One, they are all more worried about sunburns than shark safety, so they do stupid things like swim at dusk and dawn, and are particularly idiotic about letting toddlers and kids under 5 in the water less than 50 yards from where people are shark fishing.  I've told people to get out of the water while walking on the beach at dusk and dawn near shark fishing dozens of times. It's such a common thing I'm surprised the news doesn't warn about it the way they warn about the UV index or average tourist burning in less than 4 minutes.

Secondly, when you're used to the ocean you don't tend to flap and splash and do the same sort of movements that a shark might interpret as distress -signaling you're an easy catch and a good meal.  For some reason tourists like to belly flop and generally act like idiots. I grew up around ungroomed beaches, which taught you pretty quickly not to do that or you'd end up with barnacle scratches from flopping into an oyster bed, but I've noticed even in groomed areas Floridians don't act like that in the water.

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On 5/19/2018 at 6:24 PM, Alicia64 said:

I wanted to add that the best book is by the author of JAWS, Peter Benchley, who was sad that he'd created a culture terrified of sharks. So he spent his last decades writing about sharks and the ocean in general.

I reread this book every year. It should be in every classroom. It's a slim paperback and is full of totally absorbing stories -- not boring at all.

It's called Shark Life by Peter Benchley.

Reading it as a family would be seriously beneficial for your kids.

Alley

in 1975 after my mother took me to see Jaws - I didn't want to get in the water, even thought I knew we didn't have sharks in our area.  everyone was looking around.

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6 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

That's not always possible.  There are retention ponds and creeks and canals everywhere, all of which likely contain gators and water moccasins. We lived more than half a mile from the closest canal when I was a kid and we still ended up with gators in our yard whenever the water level had a rapid fluctuation - mostly during droughts and hurricanes. One of my aunts had some in a particularly deep drainage ditch with a big gator in it near her house after one hurricane, and she lived on one of the largest hammocks in the county, several miles from standing water.

Yep. Always assume any body of fresh water has gators. Period. We had a pond at our old house and though we never saw any gators when I lived there after we married, dh said there was one there when he first moved in. The photo I added upthread is just a small retention pond behind a Cracker Barrel restaurant, not a large lake or canal. 

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28 minutes ago, Katy said:

  There are retention ponds and creeks and canals everywhere, all of which likely contain gators and water moccasins 

 

 

Oh, I know! I live in Louisiana and I actually used to live right by Plantation. My poor hypothetical dogs would only get concrete walks, lol. 

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I am the poster who saw the hammerhead shark practically on the beach in Panama City.  And I was just on the shores of Lake Erie for about 5 minutes and saw a big black water snake swimming around and then crawling onto the boat ramp.  I am sure it was not venemous, but my take-away is that no body of water is safe.

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6 hours ago, plansrme said:

I am the poster who saw the hammerhead shark practically on the beach in Panama City.  And I was just on the shores of Lake Erie for about 5 minutes and saw a big black water snake swimming around and then crawling onto the boat ramp.  I am sure it was not venemous, but my take-away is that no body of water is safe.

 

If you fly low over the water there are sharks and giant stingrays in between swimmers all the time.  They aren't dangerous most of the time.  You're much more likely to get killed from a coconut falling from a palm tree or slipping and hitting your head on the curb in the parking lot than you are by a shark.  Just stay out of the water at dusk and dawn and avoid places where people are shark fishing and you'll be fine.

I can't think of a black water snake in Florida other than a cottonmouth, though I've never seen "big" ones.  Could it have been an eel?

Oh, here's a list of Florida snakes, there are a few black water snakes other than cottonmouths: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/visual-id/

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2 hours ago, Katy said:

 

If you fly low over the water there are sharks and giant stingrays in between swimmers all the time.  They aren't dangerous most of the time.  You're much more likely to get killed from a coconut falling from a palm tree or slipping and hitting your head on the curb in the parking lot than you are by a shark.  Just stay out of the water at dusk and dawn and avoid places where people are shark fishing and you'll be fine.

I can't think of a black water snake in Florida other than a cottonmouth, though I've never seen "big" ones.  Could it have been an eel?

Oh, here's a list of Florida snakes, there are a few black water snakes other than cottonmouths: https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/herpetology/fl-snakes/visual-id/

Lake Erie isn’t in Florida.   THE Lake Erie.  It even has a water snake named after it, and I presume that is what I saw, the Lake Erie water snake.  

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11 minutes ago, plansrme said:

Lake Erie isn’t in Florida.   THE Lake Erie.  It even has a water snake named after it, and I presume that is what I saw, the Lake Erie water snake.  

 

Ah, oops, I saw the Panama City reference and missed the Lake Erie one.

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My point is that I go to the beach once in twenty years and see a shark, I go to Lake Erie once and see a snake where it's too danged cold for snakes, and there are gators in everything else.  Nothing is safe.  Oh, and some friends of ours found a snapping turtle in their pool recently.  Said snapper has been relocated to a more appropriate habitat, but apparently even pools are not necessarily free of critters that can hurt you.

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I'd have them do the camp.  I bet that within a few minutes of being in the water they will calm down.

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As someone who is somewhat leery of the ocean (who am I kidding? Pretty much all water), I would not force/bribe my kids into surf camp. I vividly remember having swimming lessons on the river as a kid and I was terrified and skeeved out both in equal measures. I remember balling my eyes out because I was being made to repeatedly plunge my face in that dark water. My mom was Oyster Queen and was nonplussed to have such a water weenie for a child. 

I’m also a temperature prima donna. I don’t understand why anyone tortures themselves by swimming in ice water. 

 

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11 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

 

in 1975 after my mother took me to see Jaws - I didn't want to get in the water, even thought I knew we didn't have sharks in our area.  everyone was looking around.

I can remember being so spooked by that movie as a little kid that I was halfway scared to go in the pool, and I kept looking over my shoulder for sharks the whole time I was in there.:laugh:

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On 5/9/2018 at 1:50 PM, umsami said:

Realizing that their fears are unwarranted.  That sometimes it's OK to try something your'e a little uneasy about it, and 99% of the time, everything is fine.  

I think I've overstated their fear of sharks based on past experiences.  I think this new found OMG No sharks...is more of a "I don't want to do anything formal" this summer--which is not an option.  I work and need at least a few hours each day without kids to get that work done.

Well, this, I do understand, and I know you have been wanting to curb their screen time, which I fully support. Where I live, there are myriad camps, pretty much everything one can thing of, so if you have similar options, I would pick something active that isn’t surfing/swimming and meet them in the middle. I am all for nudging kids to do *something*. We all know how easy it is to default to screens instead (says she from her iPad). (In my defense, I spent four hours busting a$$ in my garden this morning, so I earned my WTM time! :D) 

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On 5/9/2018 at 2:43 PM, Stacia said:

Yeah, ok, I amend my take on lakes. I don't like lakes in the south because of snakes & gators. And bacteria. (I think the last time I was in a lake was when I was a kid.)

I'd take the ocean any day.

 

 

Don't forget the brain eating amoeba.

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For riptides, I'd equip kids with some quality fins (Da-fins or Churchill Makapus).

To heck with sharks and (not) cold water....get the heck out there!

Bill (the first one in)

 

 

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TODAY on Facebook, a friend posted video of bloody water on the beach. She was in the water with her kids when a bull shark bit a tarpon in half. She had to toss one kid out and go back for the other one. They weren’t that far from the shore! Some lady got stuck on the rocks, freaked, and tried to swim back. The shark went for her, but the crowd threw rocks and confused him and she made it. I don’t know WHY she didn’t just stay put. The video was surreal. 

ETA - This was Key West FL

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I went to see Deadpool and they played a trailer for The Meg, lol. If you haven't heard of that movie, it features a 75-foot prehistoric shark (megalodon).  there's a monster outside (said in scary movie kid whisper). dd and I just looked at each other and "noped" simultaneously. If you have lingering memories of Jaws,  this might cause full-blown hysteria. 

Also, the nature preserve near us had to close down a trail because mama gator has decided no one is getting past her: 

35463205_1266894913443335_53341082879378

 

 

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4 hours ago, katilac said:

 

I went to see Deadpool and they played a trailer for The Meg, lol. If you haven't heard of that movie, it features a 75-foot prehistoric shark (megalodon).  there's a monster outside (said in scary movie kid whisper). dd and I just looked at each other and "noped" simultaneously. If you have lingering memories of Jaws,  this might cause full-blown hysteria. 

Also, the nature preserve near us had to close down a trail because mama gator has decided no one is getting past her: 

35463205_1266894913443335_53341082879378

 

 

That’s my nope.

 

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If sharks are a concern the last thing the kids should do is surf.  Sharks don't want to eat people, we are too gamey.  But imagine how someone paddling on their surfboard might look to a shark from below.   Long oval body with little fins coming out.   Yes, a dolphin, a fat yummy dolphin.    
If I lived near the ocean, I'd say "Swimming fine, scuba fine.  No surfing"   

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Jellyfish are the current problem a few counties south of Umsami (if I'm correct in remembering where you are), one county north of me. 

The article is a few days old. As of last night's local news the number is up over 1000 now. 

http://www.news-journalonline.com/news/20180611/800-beachgoers-treated-for-jellyfish-stings-in-volusia

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Speaking of gators, this happened not far from me this morning. I've lived in Florida most of my life. Airboat rides are a thing. I have never, ever ridden in an airboat nor have I ever wanted to. This is one reason why. Fortunately no one was hurt.

Airboat flips in gator filled lake

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Wow.  I have never been in an airboat either.  We went in a regular boat in Okeefenokee Swamp and the scariest part was when a gigantic spider crawled unto a tourist's back.

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On 6/16/2018 at 5:58 AM, shawthorne44 said:

 

If sharks are a concern the last thing the kids should do is surf.  Sharks don't want to eat people, we are too gamey.  But imagine how someone paddling on their surfboard might look to a shark from below.   Long oval body with little fins coming out.   Yes, a dolphin, a fat yummy dolphin.    
If I lived near the ocean, I'd say "Swimming fine, scuba fine.  No surfing"   

Or one could equip the board with black and white striped anti-shark camouflage.

People, smarter than sharks ?

Bill 

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