Shark Submarine Allows Divers A Close-Up View Of The Ocean's Greatest Predator
Growing up on the beach in Florida, I’ve had my little run-ins with these eating machines.
The most notable of these encounters happened when I was in high school. Summer in Florida demands multiple visits to the beach. In this instance I was body surfing. I saw a slight difference in the current, then felt something like sandpaper scrape against my leg. The both fins broke the surface (the tail fin is level with the dorsal fin—that’s the easiest way to tell that it’s a shark and not a dolphin).
I knew that the scrape along my leg was to mark me, the rough skin of the shark grating my flesh to create a blood scent.
Of course I panicked. I scrambled for the first wave and rode it to shore.
It didn’t help that Jaws scared me to death as a kid…
So, I can safely say that I will never, never ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, never ever get in this gadget:
Fabien Cousteau, grandson of the famous Jacque, has created a submarine that allows a diver to interact with sharks on their own turf. In this way, scientists can explore what a shark does when it is not around people—in other words, observe the creatures nature behavior. This 14-foot long submarine mimics the movement of a real shark—and looks real enough to make me poop my pants.
Cousteau created this sub with then intention of showing that great white sharks aren’t inherently mindless killing machines. He has named it “Troy” in homage to a character from the Belgian comic book “Tintin.”
When submerged, the sub is flooded with water, making in necessary for the diver/pilot to wear a wet suit.
Cousteau hopes that this groundbreaking experiment will spur other scientists to delve further into the study of great whites.
And while I still can’t shake Jaws from my mind, nor my own personal experiences with these critters, I hope that ventures such as this one will show us that sharks are more than just mobile teeth.
Until then… well, I’m safely inshore now. Until sharks grow legs like in that Peter Benchley book (Creature), I’m safe.
Well… except for the gators.
SOURCE: National Geographic News