Reality Bites!

That’s what Bobby Gumm, not to be confused with Bubba Gump, must’ve thought when a large great white shark took a huge chunk out of his surfboard off the northern Oregon coast while he sat there terrified.

Bobby Gumm is a chef in the quaint coastal town of Newport and was roughly 600 feet off South beach when an estimated sixteen foot shark tried to take him for his next meal. On its first approach it had brushed against his leg, then took a ferocious bite and ripped off the front of his board lifting him out of the water.

Observers were quoted as saying that it looked like a bunch of piranha were churning up the sea, when all of a sudden a dorsal fin was spotted at least two feet high, then watched as Mr. Gumm was shot up in the air like Old Faithful out of the water. Cowabunga dude!

Gumm is a native of Hawaii so surfing is in his blood, but he was counting his blessings that day, all five of them—his children as he arrived back safely into shore. And when he got home, he kissed each and every one of them. Yes, he was grateful and he credits his survival to a morning prayer he says everyday before surfing.

So even though white sharks are commonly known to hang out off the Northern California coast in fall, they can on occasion be spotted off the coastline of Oregon. They prey on elephant seals and sea lions. Really? That’s interesting. It seems this particular shark had apparently mistaken Mr. Gumm’s silhouette as one of the many pinnipeds. Oh, that makes me feel so much better. It was mistaken identity. Right.

Okay, if that’s the case, then what accounts for the deaths of three more people who have died recently off the southwest coast of Australia, a renowned aquatic playground from a rogue man-eating predator? This area of the world has been better known for dolphin and whale watching cruises, white sandy beaches, world-class surf breaks and the peppery Shiraz of its Margaret River wineries than for shark attacks.

A 32 year old Florida man who had moved to the area six months ago was diving solo off a boat by Rottnest Island, a few miles away from the city of Perth. Again, just like Bobby Gumm, he was attacked last week. But this time someone died. This episode pushed Australian authorities to take emergency legal action, then set up tuna-bait hooks as a deterrent to protect the area’s many inhabitants for the first time in history since the great white was named a protected specie.

Mistaken identity?

Since I live off the southern coastline of California, a well known surfing mecca, it made me think. At any given moment, one of hundreds of surfers who ride the waves, come off the lip or shoot the pier could end up the same way. Yet, just as these other individuals, they all must recognize the potential danger involved before they take the risk, right?

How many of us think about the risk we take in our everyday lives? We may feel there are days when we are swimming amongst the sharks and that at any turn we could come under attack. Then there are others who have already been assaulted, undergone surgery and are now going through therapy licking their wounds.

Some of us lately have been going through real challenges in our lives. Some have been dealing with sickness, death, unemployment, family issues, and the list goes on. Although we try not to make this our main concern, sometimes it’s all we can do to get through the day. Just know that you are not alone.

Yes, there are times when we all need to put things into perspective, but sometimes there is really nothing we can do. Sometimes—reality bites!

 

So please let me, what do you think? Do you or have you ever surfed? Do you enjoy snorkeling along the shore? Do you feel safe? And how many of you feel like you’ve been attacked lately by one of life’s many unexpected challenges? Because it seems like we are all going through one thing or another and we could use a little encouragement.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, feel free to follow by email. And thank you all for your many kind thoughts and salutations!
Karen

 

A big shout out to Kristen Lamb and all my new classmates in my #WANA1011 class and all others that may grace my presence by visiting this post. Take care and make it a great day!

37 thoughts on “Reality Bites!

  1. alberta ross

    Oh yes sharks everywhere – I have taken many risks in life esp. when traveling around the world but i am a cautious person who doesn’t like gambling so always assesed the risks first – but life is a different matter all together!! shark attacks can just hit you – in my long experience(old0ld lady!!) that’s life you dodge if you can, take it on the chil if you can’t and hope to goodness your friends are there for you if your knees buckle. It’s what makes being alive interesting

    Very good post thanks
    alberta ross recently posted..Alberta’s happy feet!:ROW80My Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Thank you Alberta! It was so nice to have you visit! I will look forward to getting to know you in Row80. I am joining in January. See you soon! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Serena Dracis

    Great post! Debra Kristi is right, the shark looks up and thinks he sees a seal or sea lion; shape of the board with four limbs sticking out…well, you get the idea.

    I grew up in surf city, Huntington Beach and spent some time working at Sea World in San Diego. Many attacks are bite and release; the shark gets a mouthful of board and wetsuit and spits it out. Bad for the human, that first bite is often traumatic and deadly.

    It’s a big, dangerous world out there! That’s what gives life it’s spice. Great read, Karen!
    Serena Dracis recently posted..I Also Train DogsMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Hey Serena! That’s right, your an Edison High girl! I had forgotten. And Surf City, HB is not a bad place to grow up in btw. Thanks for the backgound information on the shark. I would not want to be in the jaws of that mammal, no siree! Yes it is a dangerous world we live in Serena, but sometimes I could live without all that spice, if you know what I mean? Just a tinge thank you very much! LOL! Thanks for your visit.

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Alone for the Holidays | Lynette M Burrows' blog

    1. Karen Post author

      Ah Lynette, how sweet of you! You and Tim are on the same page and I appreciate you both bringing this to our attention. There are a tremendous amount of people who are suffering through some horrible personal challenges. Challenges we haven’t seen in our part of the world for many decades! If we really knew what others were suffering through, it would probably make the hairs on our necks stand up on edge. It would behoove us to all be supportive and kind. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Debra Kristi

    The think about surfers and swimmer on the surface is the silhouette as the shark looks up. They think they are seeing a seal. Especially in the colder water when the individual is wearing a bodysuit. It’s scary but when you look at the law of averages, it’s still safer than driving your car.

    Great post Karen! Once again you have knocked it out of the park.
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    1. Karen Post author

      Oh Debra you are too kind, thank you! But you do bring up a good point. Maybe I should take up surfing and give up driving my car! That would be stinkin hilarious actually! Maybe people on the streets would be a whole lot safer! LOL 🙂

      Reply
  5. Lena Corazon

    Oh gosh, I’ve lived on the California coast my entire life, and I still haven’t made it into the ocean. Of course, I didn’t learn how to swim till I was 13 or so, and even then, the water up near San Francisco is just way too cold to handle without a bodysuit. Now that I’m in Santa Barbara, I keep telling myself that I’ll give paddleboarding a try… and I keep dragging my feet, precisely for the reason that I don’t know what’s underneath. A UCSB undergrad died in a shark attack a few months ago (I can’t remember where he was surfing; somewhere south of us, maybe LA or SD), and that’s just made me all the more nervous.
    Lena Corazon recently posted..ROW80: Writing Like a FiendMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      Oh surely you’ve stuck your toes in there Lena! But then again the waters up towards the bay area are frigid! What am I talking about? The Pacific water along the entire west coast is cold in comparison to the waters on the east coast. But still, it does seem like there’s been more shark attacks lately. But what do I know? LOL 🙂

      Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Hey Angela, there you are! I’m sorry girl, you were put into spam. Naughty wordpress theme.( Lesson everybody! Please check your spam!). Angela you are so right. Accidents happen everywhere and there is a risk just stepping our our front door. The challenge is, how to navigate through them and sill enjoy our lives! Thanks for your comment Angela!

      Reply
  6. Teresa M. Owen

    I’ve been surfing and kayaking and snorkelling and I gotta say, not being able to see what’s under me creeps me out!
    The first time I ever tried scuba-diving I was terrified but it was fun. We got onto the boat and then everyone started screaming “Whale shark, whale shark!” and diving into the water. I didn’t know what a whale shark was, I just saw something that looked like a Mac truck gliding under the boat and focused on the word “shark.” I high-tailed it to the highest point on the boat! Those people were crazy!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Shut the front door Teresa! Whoa! Uh, I would’ve done the same thing. Surfing and kayaking are way cool, but I don’t know about the diving thing. I’m sticking with snorkeling.

      Reply
  7. Louise Behiel

    Great post Karen. Reality can come from anywhere. I don’t surf and i’m not a great risk taker, unless I can get a handle on the odds. I’ve done lots of things that others consider risky (speaking in front of 500 people) but I knew I could count on myself to handle it. Physical risks …uhm not so much. can you say ‘couch potato’?

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Couch potato! There, I’ve said it. Lol (Sorry I couldn’t help myself.) But speaking in front of 500 people could be considered by some as a risk. Yes I can see your a risk taker Louise!

      Reply
  8. Lynn Kelley

    Yes, have been dealing with some unexpected issues. I hate it when I get sucker punched. It’s hard to roll with the punches when it’s a sucker punch, huh? Then we just have to shake the dizziness out of our heads and deal with it as best we can. Everyone has something going on, like you said. Nice analogy. That bite in the surf board is something else! Wow!
    Lynn Kelley recently posted..The Circle Game & ThanksgivingMy Profile

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    1. Karen Post author

      You can say that again Lynn! I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been dealing with some unexpected issues. Hang in there girl. It seems that most of us are dealing with something these days. Just stay away from the sharks okay?

      Reply
  9. colin falconer

    Used to dive off the Bunker Bay (South West Australia) spot where one surfer was killed couple of times a week. One of my good mates was actually surfing there that day with his teenage son. I always thought it was perfectly safe and the sharks were on the other side of the cape! It’s still a fact though that in Australia every year many more people will die from bee stings. I do believe if your time is up there’s no hiding place. Great post Karen – and I love the photograph!!

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Wasn’t that photo insane? I can’t imagine the fear that guy experienced. Thanks for the warning Colin. I think I’ll stay away from Bunker Bay!

      Reply
  10. Natalie Hartford

    I’ve never been keen on swimming in open water. It kind of freaks me out – no idea why. I went snorkeling in the Dominican Republic in 2010 and that was the wildest water fun I’ve ever had. And it was behind a reef so I felt somewhat better but was very anxious the whole time. Weird. LOL. If I saw a shark, I don’t think you’d ever get me in the water again. LOL!
    Guess I am just not much of a risk taker…and I’m ok with that. LOL!!
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    1. Karen Post author

      You’re right Prudence. But it does sadden me a little to have to live that way. Oh well, I always try to hope for the positive. 🙂

      Reply
  11. Sheila Seabrook

    If we didn’t take risks, we’d all stay in our houses and rot. I’d love to be more of a risk-taker but I do tend to be cautious. However, I’ve always wanted to learn to surf and if I get the chance, the only thing that’ll hold me back is if there’s a current report of sharks in the area. 🙂

    Great post, Karen. It reminds us we need to evaluate risks before doing something potentially dangerous.

    Reply
  12. Shannon Esposito

    I guess there’s risk in everything…even driving to the grocery store if you happen to live in south Florida 🙂 But, we each have to weigh how much certain things mean to us individually and whether it’s worth the risk. Easier said than done, I know. I personally need the ocean. I need to be near it and swim in it for my emotional well being. So, knowing I could get bit or die is worth the risk for me. Mountain climbing…I could care less about, I don’t have any desire to do it, so for me the risk of personal injury would not be worth the adventure.

    Reply
    1. Karen Post author

      Isn’t there something about being at the ocean Shannon? I think it’s all the negative ions that give us a sense of peacefulness and tranquility. 🙂

      Reply
  13. Tim L O'Brien

    Great blog Karen! Reality can come out of nowhere, just like the shark in your story, and bite our rear ends. There is so much negative news these days in our country I don’t know how some are surviving it all. We have all had the sharks circling us sometime or another in our life. Like the surfer, all you can do is say a little prayer and remain vigilant.
    Growing up in Houston we headed to Galveston every weekend during high school. We used to laugh at the wanna-be surfers in the brown, muddy waters of the Gulf of Mexico trying to surf on waves that a California or Hawaii native would call ripples. The only waves in Galveston were during the hurricane season. Everyone would flee and the only cars headed to the beach were the surfers!
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    1. Karen Post author

      Thank you for your insight Tim! It’s tough out there right now for many of us. Surfing in Galveston? Is that what they called it? It’s hard to beat the waves in “Surf City” Tim. Now that’s surfing worth watching!

      Reply

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