Tomorrow, July 14th, is Shark Awareness Day. What do we care about sharks living in the middle of the country? Well, both Clint and I grew up in waters full of sharks. Clint in Hawaii, where he spent a great deal of time surfing, paddling, and fishing. I spent my summers in Chatham, now known to be the Summer Home of the Great White Shark. So we have that in common. When I think about the number of hours I spent sailing in Stage Harbor and Pleasant Bay (which is sort of a bay, but think Lighthouse beach and south, which opens to the Atlantic) it is a little bit eerie. I’m sure that storms and the land masses have changed since my long Chatham summers which means the waters have changed, but how much? Yikes. Swimming with the sharks. We will leave that up to the professionals and Michael Phelps, whom I’m sure has professionals on hand.
A summer tourist spot like Chatham could have met an ill-fate if the shark stories became dismal. Who would want to go? The town is charming, but how long would people stick around? Well, leave it up to the creative souls in Chatham, especially the Chatham Merchant’s Association to come up with a way to celebrate the sharks. Capitalize on it, bring people in and teach them all about the sharks. The Atlantic White Shark Conservancy even has an app where you can see the sharks they are tracking. (insert photo). The Chatham Merchant’s Association, in conjunction with local artists, have an annual show on display throughout the summer where the local artists paint, design, create shark art and display it in the park. This raises a good chunk of money for the association each year which then feeds back into the community.
The instant reaction to sharks is fear, especially if you’re in the water. Chatham’s Shark Art and the White Shark Conservancy are two really positive things that have come from being a Great White hang out. Kudos to my home away from home, my favorite place on the planet, Chatham, for bringing positive interaction and awareness to the sharks who share our waters. The sharks picked some really nice waters and a pretty cool town to hang out in, if I don’t say so myself.