It’s Shark Week and for 27 years The Discovery Channel has been demystifying the undersea shark world. For most areas around the country that’s not as big a deal as it is right here in our own backyard. Just a few steps away from the Flagler Tavern lies the entrance to the Shark Bite Capital of the World.
My fascination with sharks started in 1975 at the tender age of 9. Trailers played on tv non-stop that year for the new summer blockbuster….JAWS. My mother ran into the room telling me not to look every time she heard the ominous DA DA…DA DA…playing. She didn’t want me to be, “afraid to go into the water”. Of course, that made me want to watch it. Who doesn’t want to do exactly what your mom doesn’t want you to do? And like most things in life, my mom turned out to be right.
A few years later I watched JAWS for the first time when it premiered on tv, maybe I was 11 or 12 years old and it scared me beyond belief. I still can’t help but watch it every time I happen across it on TV. I’ve seen at revival movie houses on the big screen. I’ve been up close and personal with the original mechanical shark when it made its debut at Universal Studios in California. I know it wasn’t real. Yet still, there isn’t an instance when I’ve dipped my toe in the water, that I haven’t looked for sharks. Thanks Steven Spielberg for making a generation afraid of sharks!
Fast forward to this week 13 years ago, when I was packing up my house in San Francisco, destination New Smyrna Beach. I fell asleep watching Shark Week videos and woke up in the middle of the night to a video of hundreds of swarming sharks on the ocean side of a sand bar and people swimming in the water on the beach side of the sand bar, completely unaware of the frothing menace so close to them. As you probably have already guessed it, the photo was an aerial shot from our Central Florida coastline and I was moving to the Shark Bite Capital of the World and didn’t know it.
As is often the case, we make light of that which we fear the most. New Smyrna locals will argue that the sharks are small, and you won’t die from a bite in New Smyrna waters, and in general, that’s true. While statistically New Smyrna still retains its Shark Bite Capital title, there are no confirmed deaths from shark bites outside our front doors. Perhaps we make a better snack than a meal.
New Smyrnians are a crazy krewe. We hunker down for hurricane parties instead of bugging out; run to the beach to watch the lightening storms and of course, swim with sharks; we are just that kind of crazy-stupid-cool. So how does one celebrate Shark Week in the Shark Bite Capital of the World? Well of course, WE BITE BACK!
In an irreverent celebration of Shark Week and an attempt to face my fears, my Flagler Tavern family has humored me with some fun and tasty ways to commemorate my 13-year NSB anniversary. Join us all week long for our homemade Shark Bite Appetizers and Shark Bite Cocktails. And on Tuesday, which also happens to be National Tacos & Tequila Day, our Chef Rob has a special treat; fresh Mako Shark Tacos with a tequila lime salsa (YUM!).
Don’t forget to come over and tell me your sharks story (we all have one). I’ll be the red head sitting at the end of the bar operating the flying shark.
Food for Thought–
One of my guilty pleasure videos…shark surfing. I have no idea if its real or not. If real, super stupid, if fake what I envision every surfer dreams of doing once. My favorite part is the guy surviving “shark surfing” and looking for his pole.
SIDE NOTE: This blog is meant in good jest and in no way meant to be disrespectful to those who have injured by sharks, near or far.