Day 267 3/20/14: Shark Dreams & Devil’s Teeth

If you love great white sharks, and haven’t read Susan Casey’s book “The Devil’s Teeth” a riveting account of studying white sharks in the Farrallon  Islands a place thirty miles west of San Francisco where “thirty knot winds, blanketing fog and fifteen-foot seas are standard,” do yourself a favor for GOD’S SAKE and order a copy!

You’ll uncover the fascinating history of this stark, forbidding island of stone, and learn all kinds of odd, fascinating facts (white sharks can actually get sun tans). You’ll meet sharks like Cuttail and 17-foot fish like Betty, Mama and Cadillac (collectively known as the Sisterhood)  and cranky 5,000 pound Stumpy who doesn’t like decoys.  Living in the rugged isolation of the Farallons, the logbooks that the researchers keep–records of feeding events, shark encounters, birds and other wildlife observed on the islands  “are the closest things the islands [have] to a native religion.”

The logbook also serves as a kind of dream diary.  51JVGXKEJHL._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_

“For years, I had a recurring dream—actually it hovered on the edge of nightmare territory—in which I floated at night, surrounded by large, unearthly fish. I could never see them clearly, but I knew the water was alive with them, all these hidden creatures, sweeping and circling. When I saw the Farrallones…the memory of these phantoms vaulted out of semi-retirement and into my consciousness. This was some weird water. What was going on beneath the surface?”

After Casey sees sharks for the first time at the Farallons, her dream phantoms appear again:

“That night the water dream returned, but this time the image was clearer. I recognized the sharks gliding by: Stumpy, Cuttail and the unknown Sister with her monstrous tail. For once, though, the dream didn’t strike me as strange. Out here shark dreams were so vivid there was a section in the logbook devoted to recounting them;  Scot had confessed that he still had them every night. In my dream it was dark, and I was alone, drifting in a small boat. Once again, I looked down as shadowy creatures swam beneath me, just barely visible by moonlight. And all night, majestic and terrible fish cruised through the…bedroom in otherworldly silence.”

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