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SYLLY: Shark Week Day Five - Shark Bait Hoo HaHa


I'm noticing a disturbing trend this year. "best of" and "greatest hits" shows are definitely more frequent for this years Shark Week than they have been in the past. Still no shark attack episodes and not a whole lot of diversity of sharks being studied. Thursday's Shark Week episodes were Sharkcam Strikes Back, Sharkwrecked, and Tiger Shark Invasion.

Just keep swimming.

Sharkcam Strikes Back

Sharkcam made its 2018 debut on Wednesday night in Sharkcam Stakeout. Apparently that wasn't good enough so Sharkcam got its own "Best of" show featuring snippets of the last six years of Sharkcam shows. If Discovery Channel wanted to feature Sharkcam more there are over 440 different species of sharks they could have it stalk. So far on Shark Week this year there have only been ten to fifteen different sharks mentioned at all.

Sharkcam is amazing technology that could be put to better use than just showing its re-runs. They did stalk bull sharks this year, that was new. If Discovery Channel is running this low on ideas just leave a stationary camera on the bottom of the ocean then edit together an hours worth of shark interaction with it and show that. Even the shark attack statistics shows would be better than re running old material.

Sharkwrecked

A 48 hour experiment to see what happens when a shipwreck occurs in shark infested waters. Anyone who has seen Jaws knows about the USS Indianapolis and her sinking. 900 men went into the water and 36 were rescued. Sharks were blamed for all of the deaths. Sharks probably were actually responsible for less than 100 deaths. What no one bothers to mention is that most of the sailors died from drowning, dehydration, starvation, and hypothermia. Sharks ate the corpses of course so they get credit for the deaths as well.

James Glancy and Paul DeGelder got to blow up a boat to make the experiment authentic. The explosion would draw the attention of sharks for miles around. Within minutes the two men were surrounded by oceanic white tip sharks. They circled and investigated for hours, becoming more aggressive at night. There was a safety net cage nearby and a boat with medics monitored the situation the entire time. They spent days out in the open and nights in the safety net. Without that net at night they most likely would have been eaten.

They lasted 43 hours and 21 minutes before they gave up because exhaustion, thirst, and hunger weakened them so much that they were obviously easy prey for the white tips who were becoming more and more aggressive. This was definitely something new. I wonder how much Discovery Channel must pay Paul DeGelder, because he has already lost two appendages and he keeps doing crazy shark stunts for them.

Tiger Shark Invasion

This episode takes place in the Galapagos Islands. The sharkiest place on the planet. Galapagos are very remote so they are an open water shark haven. Since the early 2000's though, tiger sharks have been invading the waters and disrupting this ancient marine paradise.

Dr. Neil Hammerschlag, Dr. Alex Hearn, and Joe Romeiro tag tiger sharks there for the first time ever. Tagging these tiger sharks will tell the researchers where they go, what they eat, whether or not they mate or give birth here, and if they stay. These researchers dive in several locations of the Galapagos islands and the amazing diversity and abundance of healthy life is stunning. They determine that the sea turtles are what brought the tigers to Galapagos. Sea Turtles are a tiger shark delicacy. Tiger sharks will eat anything though, even other sharks, so the abundance of life there will most likely keep them there. Tiger sharks are bringing about natural selection in action though, they will eat the slow, the old, and the sick of every species at the Galapagos Islands, leaving only the strong and healthy to breed.

If I were ever inclined to risk going on a diving expedition, it would be the Galapagos Islands. The underwater life is breathtaking.  The three tiger sharks that were tagged were all pregnant. This was a relatively new place for Shark Week to take us. With all the diversity of sharks there, we should go again.

Two out of three shows seems to be the norm this year. Re-runs, "best of" and "Greatest hits" shows should not be in Shark Weeks prime time lineups. There are so many different sharks to research that it is unacceptable to not have new programming for three hours a night, seven days a year. That being said, the actual new programming is wonderful, new ideas, new locations, real studies being done for shark research and conservation. Those are what we need more of. Day five is at a close, what do we do? We swim, swim, swim.



Sylvia Papineau is an Arcade resident and self-proclaimed Shark Week 'finatic.' Watch All WNY News all week for her take on Shark Week 2018 specials.