Hammerheads and Hurricane Surf

On Thursday the ocean was churning like a top loading washing machine: agitated and chaotic.   I’d come to the beach to see the splendor of Hurricane Earl as he was swirling way east of shore and northbound, gifting our coast with  surfing  waves, dangerous rip currents for the rest of us, and otherwise lovely weather.   Although the lifeguard I spoke with reported no rescues that day, I’d heard a woman lost her life in the ocean a day or two earlier, in the wild surf that Earl brought as he advanced north in the Atlantic.

I love the beach any old time and despite sometimes frightening weather situations, the changes in seascape are alluring. I am not a surfer and therefore don’t feel that particular rhythm of the ocean hard-wired into me as they do; they understand how to use the rip current to their advantage and navigate the churn at the shoreline.  Surfing isn’t for the weak!

A young hammerhead shark came in with the surf, disoriented and seemingly traumatized, and instantly surrounded by gawkers like me.

The video’s a bit long, but I was touched by this man’s tenderness with the shark, and his persistence in launching him back into its home, the sea.

I tried to engage him in a bit of conversation after his ‘hammerhead rescue’ but he wasn’t interested in talking.  He’d done his thing, and now going home.

I was rather moved by watching him handle this young shark.  He held onto him and stroked his body.  I assume this gave the shark time to regain his equilibrium so that he might swim well and strong, back into the ocean when the man released him.  The waves were churning at the shoreline and the shark would need to swim through strong, incoming surf, to reach the safety of the sea.  The man held onto him for a few minutes, waded out into the water a bit, and finally released him, and the shark swam away.


  1. bichonpawz says:

    I agree with you! I, too, am touched by how much this man cared about the shark. There are not many people who would have done what he did!! Remarkable! And you got it all on video! Good for him AND for the shark! The surf is fascinating to watch isn't it? I love it!

  2. Sammi says:

    That is awesome, what the guy did to get the shark back into the ocean.

    Has Earl affected you guys otherwise? I heard it was heading further north than where you live? Or just some awesome surfing waves?

  3. Karen says:

    This is a great moment, I love when people reach out like this. And GAWD… I couldn't have touched a shark!!!!!… AAACK.

  4. earthandthegreatsea says:

    Great story, and your post telling about it is lovely.


  5. Mickey (Michel) Johnson says:

    …beautiful pictures of the surf and what a wonderful and compassionate side of humanity you have captured here…

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