My Shark Encounter: A True Story by Karin Taylor

The boat rocked gently side to side on a sea of black-green-blue, an overcast day with a slight swell, not much chop, just rock, rock, rock. We waited. Waiting quietly for that tug on the line to signify a catch, a fish snagged on the end, the dullness and boredom of waiting suddenly filled with excitement as you spring to attention, grab the rods and intuition takes over, as you reel him in when the line goes slack and hold tight when he’s pulling hard.

Salty goodness of the sun and ocean air filling lungs with a health tonic so treasured it cannot be bought or bottled, only experienced. Rock, rock, rock, drifting, bottom fishing, waiting. What’s that? I thought I saw a fin. You often think you’ve seen a fin, especially when the water’s choppy. But no, I think not. Then I saw it, I saw it rise and keep rising from the water, connecting with the air. A fin so large, one could only imagine the monster below attached to it. My eyes could not believe what they were seeing. My mind could not process what I was experiencing. In that moment nothing else existed apart from myself, the boat, the sea and that huge creature. I’d forgotten about my father, my eyes were trained on the spot where the fin was, travelling slowly past the boat, about 10 feet away.

The fin slowly disappeared and I thought this would be the end of the encounter, but I continued keeping my eyes in the vicinity of where I saw the fin disappear. To my horror and surprise, the shark resurfaced, this time, a whole head, with the mouth agape, water streaming through it’s mouth as it made it’s way directly toward the boat’s centre. No thought crossed my mind, I was paralysed with fear. The shark travelled slowly and calmly, as it approached the boat we were in, I reminded myself that we were at least safe for the moment. I tried not to entertain any thoughts about possibilities of an attack on the boat or on ourselves, however, I think that the general idea that we were being investigated by this monster, had not been lost on me.

I still did not move, I still did not think to look over to see my father’s reaction, I stayed frozen, not breathing, not moving, not speaking, not thinking. The monster sunk slowly beneath the boat, with about 5 feet between us. Within a couple of seconds it had changed position, and approached from the left hand side of the boat, and with an eerie look, it swam right along side the length of Timkamiss (our boat) revealing it’s size to be at least 17 foot, the size of the vessel. It’s menacing black eye, seemed train right on me, and I felt a deep sense of curiousity and a level of enjoyment as well as terror and fear, as I connected with this giant creature, hoping it wasn’t hungry or contemplating me for lunch!

Again, the shark slowly re-entered the water and disappeared for the third and final time, and I breathed!

My father had had a premonition the night before of a shark in the water, shooting up from the depths charging into the air and over the boat, waking in a cold sweat. He knew we were going fishing the next day and didn’t want to mention the nightmare in case it spooked us. An adventure I will never forget. To be in the presence of such a wild creature is to invite the essence of awe into one’s life and forever remind you, that we humans enter the ocean at our own risk and peril, for therein are mysteries of such magnitude we can never comprehend, it gave me a sense of my place in the universe and made me realise that sharks don’t always eat you on first acquaintance, it just depends on whether you’re an easy meal at the right time of day.

Later I wanted to understand why my father didn’t crank up the motor, very sensibly he stayed calm and cool, he explained to me, how the shark could easily mangle a motor and how much trouble we would have been in then. So instead, he cautioned us to continue quietly fishing for another few hours, hours in which I think I barely drew breath.

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My Shark Encounter: A True Story by Karin Taylor by 

This is a story I often tell people, but today I felt like trying to recall what happened, how I felt at the time, and create a written piece about it. It comes out better if I write it down, than when I try to tell it verbally.

This happened to my father and I, on one of our fishing trips out to Nine Mile Reef off Kingscliff. You’d often try to bring in a big wahoo, mackeral or tuna or other fish, only to manage the head, after a shark had got hold of it. You had to share any catch with those big fellas.

This story is about a rather curious 17 foot great white shark or white pointer who was very inquisitive, and thankfully not too hungry that day!

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  • Anna S.
    Anna S.about 2 years ago

    Karin, thank you for sharing with us your amazing story. Must have been an absolutely trilling experience!!! But what a powerful encounter was that…

  • Thanks so much Anna, yeah, something one can’t ever anticipate happening…but it made me wonder a lot about dad’s premonition. He sometimes has these premonitions and now that one came true, yikes, it’s a little scarier :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Jennifer Rhoades
    Jennifer Rhoadesabout 2 years ago

    This is why this girl never swims in the ocean!! Great storytelling, Karin-a fine artist and writer! :D

  • That’s making plenty of sense to me! lol..thanks so much ;)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • barnsis
    barnsisabout 2 years ago

    Great Story, Very well written. Reminds me of my encounter with a very large hammerhead shark while in a 16 foot run about. Well done my friend

  • Hey Byron, ta mate, would like to hear about your hammerhead encounter very much, if you’ve written about it, can you link me up ? :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Josie Jackson
    Josie Jacksonabout 2 years ago

    A lovely story and well told Karin, something that only happens once in a lifetime, your father was a very sensible man …. :o)x

  • Thanks so much Josie, yeah, I wouldn’t like to encounter something that scary again, I always wonder, just how close we came to being a tasty treat for that large puppy :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Linda Jackson
    Linda Jacksonabout 2 years ago

    Awesome Karin! What an encounter! Reminds me of the beginning of Jaws! When you get a chance I had a marvelous encounter with a humpback whale, titled
    “A whale of a tale! " Parts 1, 2, and 3! creatures of the deep are so mysterious and powerful! What a wonder from the Lord!

  • Cool, thanks Linda, can you link me up with a link or two so I can read those encounters, sounds wonderful! :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • jainiemac
    jainiemacabout 2 years ago

    Karin what a special fishing trip :)) how exciting and something no one can imagine unntil they are in that situation .Your dad ’s premonition thankfully never came to full fruition and the shark was just having a look :) wonderful !!

  • yeah, I used to really love fishing with Dad, but nowadays, I don’t think I have it in me, to kill a fish. Thanks so much for ready my story and for your lovely response Jane! :)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Linda Jackson
    Linda Jacksonabout 2 years ago

    Let’s see if I remember how. Once you read one you should be able to click the arrow to
    go on to the next one, thanks Karin! :

  • Oh fantastic Linda, I read the description too, how exciting and wonderful and awe-inspiring this adventure seeing whales must have been, i have such a deep connection to whales and dolphins, though I know not where it comes from. I never thought i was one of those people, until I experienced my first connection with a dolphin, from then on, I felt a connection on a psychic or spiritual level that has never left me. I feel incredibly happy when I know the whales are passing by our town, as I drive over the hill my eyes are peeled on the ocean, searching for my friends, I sense their whale song in my heart, and feel they know me. It’s a very odd, yet beautiful experience. I would love to see a whale up close, just even once. I don’t think ti’s something that would ever pale away, it would always be a very fresh memory. You are so fortunate! Thank you for going to that trouble for me, to share this link, I really appreciate, and I can see there is more, so I must go back for a second look! :) x

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Linda Jackson
    Linda Jacksonabout 2 years ago

    Let’s see If I can get it, once you look at the first one, the arrows should take you to the next,
    thanks Karin! :

  • Mui-Ling Teh
    Mui-Ling Tehabout 2 years ago

    Sounds pretty scary; but when you survive an experience like that it turns into an incredible story!

  • was Mui-Ling, very scary :) ….it’s a pretty good ‘lived-to-tell-the-tale’ story alright :) Thx so much for reading and your lovely response! ;)

    – © Karin Taylor

  • Linda Jackson
    Linda Jacksonabout 2 years ago

    Thank you so much Karin! It truly is an awesome experience to see the whales! You must go on a “whale watch” if at all possible. I grew up in the midwestern United States and didn’t even get to see the ocean until I was 21! We started on whale watches when our kids were little. The very first one I put life jackets on the two youngest boys and hopped on one out of Gloucester. We encountered two humpback calves who played tag and leap frog out of the water chasing each other back and forth under the boat! We LOVED it and became “HOOKED”! A small craft advisory sent us back to shore early, while every one else was down below staying warm or suffering from seasickness I was up top hanging on with the spray in my face and the wind in my hair! Felt like a bucking bronco must feel, but WOW and Thank you LORD! ;O)))
    Hope you see them soon!

  • It’s so wonderful to hear you talk about your encounters, it brings back memories or dad and I in our boat the Timkamiss. We had wonderful adventures, sometimes, we would see beautiful turtles, or huge sunfish, have you ever read Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki Expedition…not that I think it had much on whales, but it whet my appetite for all things ocean, as did the novel Hawaii by James Michener. When I was young we stayed on an uninhabited island called Keswick Is, in the Whitsundays for two stints, one was a week and the other was 2 weeks. It was a true adventure, we saw sharks and whales and all kinds of things, turtles, bats, bailer shells, huge clams and coral, sharks stuck in tidal rockpools and it was such a fascinating experience. Later, my parents bought a timeshare unit at Tangalooma on Moreton Island, a resort, where the dolphins come in to visit the tourists nightly and are hand fed. I stayed in the office as much as I could, reading up on and learning about dolphin behaviours (which are amazing and almost would seem to be altruistic!) and whales, the history of the whaling industry and how easily the whales are made extinct due to the whales taking too many, when the reproduction rates are so low and slow. It is devastating to see them kll and haul those beautiful creatures, it makes me feel so ill, but it is good to know about the past, so we can work towards a future that is better and teach our children to love and protect these wonderful creatures.

    I can totally relate to how hooked you are, at a very low time in my life, personally, I visited Tangalooma with my family, and I can only say that the dolphins had a large part in healing me. Just to see them every night and to feel their presence, to catch their eye as they look up at the people on the jetty, I fed them twice and they always look at you in the eye, turning on their side to see you. Each time, I encounter them, I feel a sense of awe and wholesomeness I have never felt this so strongly with any other creature. But I also feel this strong connection with the whales who I have never seen. I hear their song in my heart and it resonates so deeply with me. What gentle beautiful creatures they are. :) You have the right idea going whale watching regularly, that is a wonderful idea!

    – © Karin Taylor

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