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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Shark in the Bay!!!!!










When I started this blog about the quiet West Coast of South Africa, I thought that I would really have to hunt for stories to tell and paint. I knew that I would sometimes have to squeeze a story out of a rock! Yet, so many things just happen. And here we have a shark in the bay a very short walk from my home!

The surprising thing is that one not usually expects sharks in such cold water! Yet we saw some monster through the binoculars one day while following the cormorants feeding. This is a baby whale shark of 6 meters long. We cannot determine why it died, but I am glad that the sea dumped it on this very quiet spot where it will not be crowded and prodded. We had only about two sunny days, so mostly a very cold tide washes over it and I hope that one of our big winter storms will return it to the ocean. Little Mitzi never blinked an eye and automatically accepted the large body in its final rest. What was truly strange was that she barked angrily every time the tide pushed in to wash over the shark!

Whale sharks have no teeth but their mouths are enormous grottos! I am so surprised by the bravery of West Coast fisherman going out on their small boats!

My quick sketch with white acrylic paint on black cartridge paper takes its style from the marks on the skin of the whale shark.

9 comments:

  1. Sad that it died but fascinating to get a chance to see one up close, Marie - what amazing skin it has.

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  2. So fascinating! Lovely sketch. RIP little gentle giant. : )

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  3. I was wondering if you could get close enough to feel the skin or even do a rubbing so to speak.
    It might smell pretty bad though.

    Anyhow... yet another fascinating bit of information and art from SA!!! - Thanks!

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  4. Ah, I just feel bad for this baby. He looks quite battle scarred already too. And huge!! So interesting to see, Marie, though as I said, there is sadness too. Love the black and white piece.

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  5. Tracy, I felt the same about the skin. The stripes and spots were lovely and the gills absolutely amazing in detail!

    Thank you for the sweet comments, Helen!

    Marian, it was very fresh-smelling because of the constant dosing of clear crisp water from the cold tides. I did not feel it's skin, but the camera was very busy!

    Sherry, I know, it was sad, but an opportunity to marvel about the great beauty in nature. The black board was fascinating to work on. Every mark counted, so I had to leave each line as it was painted!

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  6. How interesting, but I always feel sad when I see a magnificent creature washed up on shore.

    btw arrived here via Africantapestry

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  7. Hi Sue, thank you for that thought, such an animal makes an impression and I keep thinking about it. Thanks finding me through Ronell's site!

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  8. What a fascinating world you live in, Marie!

    And what an exciting find this is. Both saddening and an exciting once in a lifetime chance for close up observation!

    That's a fine illustration of the unfortunate youngster.

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  9. Thank you Dean! I know that there were but few comments, as some people may have found this post too sensitive. But there you have it spot-on: it was a rare opportunity to see a very dangerous animal close-up!

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