Fear in Open Water Swimming

SharkoSharko Tomales BayGuest
edited April 2012 in General Discussion
Many open water swimmers seem to have fears of the unknown, what they can’t see or what is below them …this story if for them and all of us…..

One day Sharko left his cove to feed on some squid, and when he returned he found that his cove had been taken over by demons. There were mega sharks everywhere! His first thought upon seeing them was, “I have got to get rid of them!” He swims toward them, chasing after them, trying forcefully to get them out of his cove. But the mega sharks are completely unfazed. In fact, the more he swims after them, the more comfortable and settled-in they seem to be. Realizing that his efforts to run them out have failed miserably, Sharko opts for a new approach and decides to teach them about life. If chasing them out won’t work, then maybe hearing about life will change their minds and get them to go. So he settles into his cove and begins teaching about existence and nonexistence, compassion and kindness, the nature of impermanence. After a while he looks around and realizes all the demons are still there. They simply stare at him with their huge bulging eyes; not a single one is leaving.

At this point Sharko lets out a deep breath of surrender, knowing now that these demons will not be manipulated into leaving and that maybe he has something to learn from them. He looks deeply into the eyes of each demon and bows, saying, “It looks like we’re going to be here together. I open myself to whatever you have to teach me.” In that moment all the demons but one disappear. One huge and especially fierce mega shark, with flaring nostrils and dripping fangs, is still there. So Sharko lets go even further. Stepping over to the largest demon, he offers himself completely, holding nothing back. “Eat me if you wish.” He places his head in the mega shark’s mouth, and at that moment the largest demon bows low and dissolves into space. (some poetic license taken from Tibetan literature re: Milarepa)

I can hear it now...but Sharko what about the Mad Jellies in the Channel of the Great Whites at the Farrallons....we need to be smart...yes we do have intelligence but most of our fears are false evidence appearing as something that is real..

"I never met a shark I didn't like"



  • evmoevmo SydneyAdmin
    I just close my eyes.
  • loneswimmerloneswimmer IrelandCharter Member
    I know for a fact that there are no such things as sharks. That they are something you warm water swimmers make up to keep the rest of us from descending on you.


  • bobswimsbobswims Santa Barbara CACharter Member
    I don't worry about sharks. I swim marathon so slow that I probably look more like flotsam and jetsam to them.
  • mrfinbarrmrfinbarr Charter Member
    Yeah whatever about sharks, when I swim in the local reservoir I have a terrible fear of really sary things such as trees that may still be there from when the land was flooded forty years ago, when swimming in the sea I seem to have an unnatural fear of seaweed? Now that I can't understand...
  • mpfmarkmpfmark Teesside England Charter Member
    MrF if that is true I feel almost human
  • mrfinbarrmrfinbarr Charter Member
    It is true, not so much the floating stuff but when its growing out of the ground I'll always avoid it - it sht emain reason I won't swim in Sandycove at low tide.
  • Kate_AlexanderKate_Alexander Spring Lake, MichiganSenior Member
    boats and wave runners are much scarier than sharks
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member
    ...facing what comsumes you, it's the only way to be free...
    I have a snapping turtle who follows me in Keystone; you want to talk about something that can do some damage ;)

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • nvr2latenvr2late Central VirginiaCharter Member
    @ ForeverSwim, I fear stepping on a snapping turtle whilst wading in or out or resting on a point in the lake where I swim, more than I do any other unseen critters or objects. It hadn't occurred to me that they might be swimming around out there, following me!!
  • i have the same fear of leaves or seagrass floating on the surface. I swam into a dead iguana a few weeks ago that nearly had me walking on water. Sharks not so much. Sharks in the water were i live would mean there is something there for them too eat. Other fish. Big predators need fish to eat. humans are eating all the sharks food source. I get a thrill if i see a shark. i also know if it wants too, they can eat me in a heart beat. The odds are in my favor, i will not get eaten by a shark. Mr. Barracuda is more likely to take a bite out of me. I have had them follow me before on swims. Any shark encounters i have had, they usually swam away as fast as possible. Mr. barracuda is not so easily frightened.
  • david_barradavid_barra NYCharter Member
    ...facing what comsumes you, it's the only way to be free...
    I have a snapping turtle who follows me in Keystone; you want to talk about something that can do some damage ;)

    never swim naked!

    i fear recreational boaters... and plastic bags.

    ...anything worth doing is worth overdoing.

  • ChickenOSeaChickenOSea Charter Member
    Jet skiers!!!!!
  • WaterGirlWaterGirl Scottsdale, AZCharter Member
    Serial killers on the shore.
  • things on land are always more dangerous than in the water. Although i used to be afraid of missouri river leeches. they are gross.
  • ColmBreathnachColmBreathnach Charter Member
    I swam into a large black plastic bag once. I mean actually into it. I thought something big had swallowed my head. It's not an experience I'd care to repeat.
  • ForeverSwimForeverSwim Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaCharter Member

    @nvr2late - I know, right? When I do see him (or HER), I always try to sneak up on it (not sure what I'd do if it actually worked, ha) but it manages to dunk down under the water only to resurface again later on during the swim.. one of these days, SNAP! :)
    @dave_barra - I chuckle when I hear someone chat about "naked swimming" as I always remember my awesome pilot (Eric Hartley) in Dover telling me that no one has swum the Channel naked yet; for a few minutes, I was contemplating the possibilty.. Alas, my Mom did not think the idea was as amusing as I did (Mom's always right!)

    Now I have to worry about the boat-trout fisherman...
    Got snagged last year = GREAT FEELING!

    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania U.S.A.

  • I fear panic and resignation.

    Sisu: a Finnish term meaning strength of will, determination, perseverance, and acting rationally in the face of adversity.

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