Sunday, May 12, 2013


"I want to see a real Florida beach". What I had in mind were snow white sand beaches with flowing palm trees and skinny girls in bikinis on roller-blades wheeling on the boulevard. I'm sure those exist too, but we went to Saint George Island in the "armpit" of Florida. A Gulf of Mexico beach. It was in a state park, and not touristy at all. And it was so beautiful! The park had no houses, everything was natural dunes and forest. Amazing.  

The beach was white, but a more subdued white and I was surprised at how small the beach was. The sand area between the dunes and the water is tiny. Now the tide was coming in, so that could have something to do with it, but I'm fairly sure that even if that wasn't the case it wouldn't be much bigger. 

So we got in our swimming clothes and put down the towels. Michael was melting by now, because the sun was shining like a girl on her first date. He put his glasses away - note this detail - and went in the water. Soon after he came scurrying out with a weird look on his face. I think I saw a shark, he said. Just for everyone's information: There are no sharks in the North Sea back where I live. Sharks are more like a fairy tale, just like scorpions, rattlesnakes and bears. They just don't happen in the Netherlands. 

right before he took his swim and sighted the shark
Michael without his glasses can't see much. His eyes are terrible. So for him to see something he could identify  means it was awfully close. When he said shark, I was thinking that had to be a joke. I do know there are sharks around here, but really... sharks? Come on, there are no sharks around ME. Buuuut, I looked. And there I saw it, a dark grey/blackish fin popping up. Just like that, smoothly gliding out the water to show us his fin, to glide back in it again. 3 more times did I see it. A FREAKIN SHARK. Like, sharks that eat their baby brothers and sisters in the womb shark. 


And to imagine that thing was right in front of Michael.

I immediately had visions of me or Michael being ripped apart, and me futilely trying to punch it in the eyes, or barely escaping and walking around with shark bite scars for the rest of my life.

But he ensured me that a great white shark is light grey and not dark grey like this fin was, and that the size of the fin indicated it was a relatively small shark. (Later he confessed that he made the color thing up and only told me this to alleviate my fears.) Still you know, sometimes they think you are a seal and BAM. There you go. I waited a good 5 minutes, studying the waters to see if I saw it again before I chanced the water. I didn't dare go deeper than hip deep, so I just sat on my but to immerse myself in the water.

So I wanted to see a "real"  Florida beach. Seeing a shark in the first 5 minutes of arriving can certainly qualify as "real"  in my book. 

I do seem to have a habit of being relentlessly exposed to new things when it comes to it. Like that time I was in Alabama on my first visit. I was terrified of cockroaches. But they were everywhere, in the trees, under houses, everywhere. And of course, as soon as I sat down (on the very first day/hour) a cockroach jumped on my arm and bounced away. Scared me to death. I was almost crying. And if something happens immediately as you arrive, you start to extrapolate and think, oh dear, they will jump on me every hour. And if it's that common, I don't think I'm going to be cool with that. But I'm just unlucky. The rest of that month not one other cockroach had dared to approach me. 

As such, I right way extrapolated for the shark, figuring if we saw one upon arriving I would surely see one every 15 minutes. And who knows when it'll be a great white. But of course it's not like that. Just unlucky, just coincidence. I simply have a habit of being thrown in the deep. It's kind of cool really.

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