"Nah, they're usually there," he told them. "You guys just saw 'em."
"I don't surf where there are sharks," he emphasized to me now.
"You surf in Bolinas!" Peter said, with a snort. Bolinas was a tiny beach town, also in West Marin, that was only eighteen miles by boat from the Farallones. Sightings of healthy-size white sharks in the town's channel were not uncommon. Recently, a boogie boarder had been attacked there. In other words, Bolinas had plenty of sharks. "Yeah, but I'm in water that's only up to my chest," Scot replied, laughing. "And I always have a buffer zone of about fifteen kids around me."
All this shark talk was making me impatient. Where were they? As if reading my mind, Scot suddenly stood up. "There's something going on down there," he said, pointing toward the wave. Even without binoculars I could see the black dorsal fin, it was that close to shore; any closer and the shark would be joining us for coffee. We watched for a moment as the fin carved a few tight circles like a figure skater diligently practicing and then disappeared into the surf.
"There's no carcass," Peter said.
"Yeaahhh, that's just one of them being weird," Scot said.
"Well, it could be a sea lion, though." Sea lion carcasses don't float like elephant seal carcasses. Thus, attacks on sea lions were much harder to spot. It was decided that we'd launch the whaler and take a look; even if there was nothing going on in Mirounga Bay, we'd be out on the water, that much closer to the action.
From Chapter One of The Devil's Teeth by Susan Casey. Copyright Susan Casey 2005. All rights reserved. Reproduced by permission of Henry Holt.
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No Man's Land
by Simon Tolkien
Inspired by the experiences of his grandfather, J. R. R. Tolkien, during World War I.
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