Shark, from Jeff Watson

July 8, 2012 |

 I've had a few encounters with sharks while in the water, but nothing major except for being next to a person who got bit at New Smyrna Beach, shark bite capital of the world.

This is the story of my perfect non-encounter with a shark.

One morning, a few years ago I went out, solo, for a dawn patrol (Nobody around me). The water was cool, glassy, and the waves were about waist high, with a thick marine layer keeping visibility and sounds attenuated. In other words, a perfect morning to surf. I had just paddled back out after riding a wave, and saw a lot of small schools of 1-2 inch greenbacks going through the water, darting around too and fro.

All of the sudden, the school of greenbacks started jumping, panicking, and I immediately knew something was chasing it. I thought, maybe a big snook, or maybe even a tarpon was getting breakfast. They were jumping for a minute or two, all around me, then I noticed the tell tale fish oil slick on the glassy surface that happens from recently chomped on fish. I didn't think anything of it and caught a nice wave.

Paddling back out, I noticed the slick got bigger, and the greenbacks were really nervous, and it seemed like a whole acre of them were jumping all over the place….some even landed on my board. My mind started to wander and I started to think, possibly irrationally, "It's really getting sharky out here."

Right when I got that "sharky" feeling, I felt something bump my fin pretty hard. That got my sphincter tightening and I pulled up my legs and hands as well as I could and waited, trying to see what was below. Boom, got bumped again and I started to feel real scared……humans are not at the top of the food chain out there in the water.

About 20 seconds after that second bump, I saw the dorsal fin of a porpoise surface next to me, and I realized that he was just checking me out. With Flipper out there protecting me, I felt fine and surfed my brains out for a few hours with only a few thoughts of sharks.

There must be a market lesson here…

Don't panic if and when the market puts you in danger…

Not all market moves that appear dangerous will hurt you if you don't overreact.

Keep the irrational thoughts out of your head while in a position, as those thoughts are simply flawed thinking, and flawed thinking about your position and/or the market is never good.

When watching the market, open up all your senses and try to see what is unseen, just like I was trying to "see" what was happening underwater while my board was getting bumped.

If the perceived danger doesn't materialize, still don't let your guard down.





Speak your mind

1 Comment so far

  1. Nick Pribus on July 9, 2012 12:06 pm

    Some years ago I was snorkeling with my young daughter at Cemetery Reef at the north end of 7 mile Beach, Grand Cayman. Having swum dozens of islands in the world we had seen plenty, but we usually snorkel from shore and never anything extreme so we never saw a shark. This day out of nowhere came the ferocious Ginglymostoma cirratum , or nurse shark. This is not my video, but is exactly the scene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0B7_ZO2HXI
    I knew absolutely that this enormous creature was completely harmless, certainly no risk and yet my heart did race a bit and I felt a clench of my stomach. Like even a sophisticated investor spooked irrationally by the markets, I felt the brief panic conditioned upon me by years of terrorizing shark films. My daughter of course had no such sense of rational thinking because she had no idea this shark was harmless, and like the panicked retail investor fled forthwith with Olympic speed to shore.


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