There’s one week of the year that always brings a smile to my face, and that’s Shark Week. Discovery finally annouced their shark week date for 2018 and it promises to be the best one yet. Besides the fact that Shaq is involved, it’s the 30th year anniversary and I’m sure Discovery does not plan to disappoint, and neither do I.
The last few years Shark Week has garnered some bad press after the season opener a few years ago with Megladon. While Megladon is no longer around (or is he?), the show was cleary dramatized to make the viewer believe that such a monster still exists. But despite that dramatics, there are still some great reason to watch Shark Week
Education is at the forefront of every, ok mostly every, episode of Shark Week. Granted, the Michael Phelps episode didn’t go over so well, but can you honestly tell me you thought he was going to race a REAL shark? Either way, education is truly imporant when it comes to understanding sharks and why you shouldn’t be afraid of them. For example, did you know that the majority of sharks can only swim forward and not backward?
Or, did you know that majority of sharks never sleep because they have to constantly swim to breathe? Or that sharks have the thickets skin of any other animal? There is also a ‘walking shark’ called the bamboo shark that does not swim, but walks. Or, more importantly, there are four fatalities every year caused by a shark? I couldn’t begin to list all of the shark facts I’ve learned over the years, but I can say it’s helped me have a greater appreciation for our ocean and for our ecosystem.
Now for the good stuff, the entertainment! Not every episode is as entertaining, but there have been some really good ones. Like the Myth Busters episode that debunked basically ever scene in Jaws. Don’t get me wrong, Jaws is entertaining, but it’s a misplaced fear! I like to remind people that movies like Jaws or 47 Meters Down are not realistic.
However, my favorite entertainment episodes have to be the Air Jaws series. Great White sharks have been documented breaching 10 ft out of the water. Did you hear that? TEN. FEET. Each season, the team comes up with new and innovative ways of capturing the moment. One year, they litterally had a hot air balloon taking a picture from above. Or that one year where the guy literally sat on a moving seal dummy (at least there is someone crazier than me out there).
Great Whites are amazing sharks, but there are so many other sharks out there to talk about and Shark Week always delivers on diversity in their episodes. A few years ago they started a seriese called alien sharks that features ‘sharks of the deep’. There isn’t a lot known about some of the sharks, so it’s nice to see the dedication to the research.
You’ll also see episodes based on different areas of the world ranging from Africa, Australia, America, the Bahamas, Mexico, and even Greenland. Each location has a different story like Sharks vs Crocs, the Greenland Shark, or Hammer Heads in Bimini. Shark Week is also known for getting celebraties involved like Paul Walker (RIP), Michael Phelps, and this year Shaq.
I had to save the best for last, but the people who are part of Shark Week truly love sharks and are huge propents to shark and ocean conservation. A lot of them are also extremely talented in shark research, photography and cinematography. Jeff Kurr has been part of Shark Week since 1991 and has produced some of the top Shark Week episodes, Air Jaws is probably one of my favorites! Andy Casagrande is often featured on multiple episodes ranging from South Africa to the Bahamas and Guadalupe Island. You may even see him swimming outside the cage with some Great Whites (can someone sign me up please?).
Paul de Gelder is a shark attack victim who has been featured several years in a row. He was bit during seal training in Australia, afterwards, he became heavily involved in shark research and shark conservation. There are also scientists who tag sharks to gain insights about their behavior, and scientists testing theories on ways to prevent shark attacks on the beach. Ultimately, Shark Week is made up of a lot of people who genuinely care about sharks.
Shark Week air on the side of drama, but the facts remain that it’s a great educational opportunity! What is your favorite Shark Week episode?