Little Ray worries he may have acted like shark bait after drawing a shark to friendly boaters with his entertaining motions, displayed at 50% of viewport width.
September 2019 by V. R. Duin


Pressed against the hole in the boat,
Little Ray could keep it afloat.
And once the leak began to slow,
the engine could be checked below.
(Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up)

Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up combines stingrays and sharks into a shark bait feeding frenzy adventure involving a boating family while nobody is shark fishing.

One of Many? Colors may lure sharks. In Hawaii, mainlanders are called “shark bait”, suggesting pale skin attracts these powerful predators. Sharks' excellent bright light vision clears the way to strikes on familiar-looking prey.

Art of Camouflage? Some fish, including stingrays, hogfish and gobies, can change colors to blend their presence into new habitats. Cuttlefish, octopus and squid are well-known, quick-change mollusk family artists.

Pops of Color? Fish usually are light underneath and dark on top. Sharks may be attracted by shiny jewelry or bathing suits with patterns resembling fish scales. It's not clear what lured a shark to Ray's friends' boat.

Defining Moment? Sharks are beckoned by erratic or splashing motions. Little Ray worried his leaps and flips and bends might have tempted the shark. The entertainment took on a different tone after the shark arrived.

Island Prime? Sharks come close to shore. When leaving a craft or a beach chair to step into the water, it is safer to stay in guarded areas. Fishing from beaches may attract these big eaters. They go where food congregates.

Sewer Snatch? Bait fish are lured to the solids in sewage releases. Sharks are attracted by these sludge-eating morsels. Farmed fish also may have poop connections. Some countries raise sewage-fed fish for human consumption.

Good Taste? People get sampled by curious sharks. It is wise to stay in shallow, clear waters near shore. Swimming or wading in murky waters is risky. Inability to see a shark means it probably cannot see either.

Good smell? Blood attracts sharks. However, they seem capable of differentiating human blood from that of preferred prey. Blood proteins differ among species. New smells of urine entering their habitat may intrigue them.

Puppy Love? Dogs paddling in the water seem to invite curious sharks. Swimming with a dog may increase the risk of unwelcome interactions. Sharks have been known to snatch yapping dogs from beaches.

In the Bag? Large sharks in seal territory savor these blubbery meal-sized marine mammals. A shark may mistake a swimmer or surfer in a black wet suit. Looking like a seal may meet with dire consequences for the wearer.

On Board? Surfers are adding bold stripes to the arms and legs of wet suits and blazing swaths on their boards to look less like seals. The addition of electrical pulse-emitting devices may frustrate sharks' prey-sensing reception.

Getting Personal? It is risky to block a shark's travels. An adult person looms large in the water. Aggressive species may launch territorial attacks. They eat many types of food. Fortunately, they do not eat many people.

New Meaning? Shark bait describes someone in a vulnerable position. Little Ray and a boating family meet this definition in Little Ray & Shark Patch Things Up. Shark did not abandon ship after making a hole in it.

Feeding Frenzy

Says it All? Sharks prefer easy meals over huge battles. They display no guilt or remorse after maiming prey to swallow it when the struggling stops. They steal catches from fishing lines or by chomping into heavy nets.

Chain Reaction? Tossing food into a fish bowl or pond gets attention. Diners arrive and hang around, competing for the biggest share of supply. The resultant feeding frenzy can get the water churning, galvanizing viewers.

Bohemian Rhapsody? Predators caught up in a feeding frenzy may spare natural prey participating in the fray. For example, turtles and fish may share small, abundant bait. Turtles eat fish, but most creatures prefer easy meals.

Ritualistic? Remoras, called “shark suckers” or “sucker fish”, vacuum food particles from the skin and teeth of contented shark hosts. Pilot fish have “license” to dine on falling scraps. Potential prey below often gets a “pass”.

Food Chain? Sharks do not merely feed underlings in the food chain. They use skill, strength and follow rules to remove weak and ailing animals. These competitive players are indicators of and contributors to ocean health.

Game Time? Powerful sharks fear few predators. They hunt at will, which may not be daily. Some sharks eat a few times a week or snack when prey crosses their path. Females may not eat during mating season.

Dizzy Water? Sharks are ocean stars. In game apps, players start as little fish, trying to eat their way up the chain. The goal is to become a big fish, capable of eating anything, before getting eaten by a shark-like winner.

Out of the Shadows? Most sharks hunt and scavenge at night. These opportunistic feeders eat dying, decaying flesh of dead animals or refuse. They swallow food and non-food items whole or gnash them to bits.

Big Bites. Sharks have full use of their upper and lower jaws. Fish-eating species have pointed teeth. Shellfish and crab-eating species have flat crushing teeth. Species that eat seals and sea lions have razor sharp teeth.

Blech! Sharks spit out little mistakes. Smell and appearance are deceptive in food choice. Food can look good and taste bad. It can look terrible and taste delicious. Flavor preferences are individualized in humans and animals.

Mouth-Watering Food? Sharks do not have saliva. Water gulps and mucus mouth linings help them bolt down convenient or inconvenient morsels. They have strong stomach chemistry to break down the heaviest of foodstuffs.

Taking the Lead? Anything can become shark bait. Shark Sider presents The 14 Weirdest Things Sharks Have Eaten. License plates, tires and a chicken coop may have traveled long distances to wind up inside sharks.

Stingrays and Sharks Deserve Respect

Scratch-and-Sniff? Stingrays and sharks deserve respect. It is not a good idea to bump into or touch them. Angry or frightened specimens can endanger perceived enemies with harrowing speed and fierce weapons.

Natural Hierarchy? Small sharks may respect larger, better-equipped ones. Sharks have been observed to wait in line for their turn at food placed in the water by humans. Females rank supreme. Sex and large size put them first.

Sophisticates? Orcas savor shark liver. These powerful mammals handily carve this delicacy from Great White Sharks. They leave the body behind. Carcasses wash up to feed life on beaches or sink to bottom dwellers.

Annual Pilgrimage? Sharks are not mindless, aimless or purposeless. Every year Great White Sharks swim about 40 days to hold a hunting and mating party halfway between Mexico and Hawaii in the middle of the Pacific.

Structured Environment? Ocean-themed activities are educational. Toddlers learn numbers, colors, alphabets and facts by feeding homemade cardboard sharks. Artificial fish, like their natural cousins, give and take.

Shark Crafts? Pull kids from screens. These fierce fish can be drawn or given three-dimensional form as puppets and games. It doesn't need to be Shark Week to get everyone celebrating these household names.

Making Waves? Users of a natural park in Palm Beach County, Florida opposed funding for a disruptive Shark Wake Park water attraction run by Australian golfer Greg Norman and his Great White Shark Enterprises.

Never-Ending? People show up with bait or for money. Sharks hang around ledges, holes, sandbars and wrecks. Sordid shark bait dives associate people with food. Many controversial activities for lucre involve natural waters.

Get Proactive? Join conservation and preservation efforts. Support scientific research. Improve public safety. Educate the community about the importance of sharks to the health and balance of the marine ecosystem.

Feed Missions? Raise funds or partner with organizations lacking public funding. Help garner private donations, grants and earned revenue from admissions, merchandise sales and events. Support continuing good work.

Shark Fishing

Bans and Laws? Shore fishing, shark finning and targeted fishing is increasingly coming under regulation throughout the world. Pulling sharks from the water or delaying their release for photography should be illegal.

Uncharted Waters? Laws protecting sharks are under consideration for unregulated, international Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea waters. No laws prevent commercial trade in imported shark products.

Open Season? In the Pacific, few countries ban shark fishing or finning. Demands for shark fins and meat in Chinese cuisine draw rogue fishing fleets into sanctuary waters. Frozen and dried fins are prized for soup.

Dealer's Choice? Where allowed, shark fishing is popular. Bait is bought, netted or hooked. Bonita, mackerel, mullet and similar fatty fish are common baits. Anglers chum for sharks by tossing fish parts overboard to lure them.

What? Stingrays are not a protected species. They are caught and killed for bait. Parts are scattered in advance of match, tournament and recreational shark fishing. The gore attracts competitive feeders and boosts sporting odds.

Reform? Sponsors of monster competitions are under pressure. Harvest of the largest fish harms reproduction. Mama Ray reports bigger fish have more babies. No Fishing discusses the environmental distress of trophy fish.

Raising Standards? Beach goers and boaters must be good custodians. Messes make their way into hungry residents of the world's waters. Unnatural foods are hard or impossible for these bold predators to digest.

Boating Family

Stand Out? Yellow, white, silver and highly contrasting colors seem to entice sharks. People put a lot of thought into bottom colors for boats. Colors or patterns may attract or repel fish. Reflective metal may intrigue them.

Peak Season? Shark territory moves. Sharks migrate north in the summer and south in the winter. Anyone who is terrified of sharks should reverse this pattern. They are less likely to meet up with a shark or risk becoming bait.

Boating Haste? It should come as no surprise that boaters step out of their crafts to enter the water. Far from shore, the ocean is a swirling place of danger. Sharks lurking beneath the waves are fast, strong natural swimmers.

Against the Waves? Boaters may not be practiced ocean swimmers. Boat outings are occasional, seasonal recreations for many families. Sharks notice when choppy waves disrupt swimming strokes and breathing patterns.

Shudder Click? Take care filming these apex hunters. They are known to grab cameras. A hand or arm may go along. Boats get rammed by incited sharks. Great White Sharks punch holes in boats and damage shark cages.

Spirit of Travel? Sharks often avoid boats. Immense size repels them. Dorsal is a free application, available through iTunes. It gives real-time shark reports and alerts. Boaters can visit shark populations or avoid them.

Spiritual Connection? Boaters often feel a special calling to the water. They are drawn to the physical health and wellbeing experienced as they circulate within the aquatic world. They may develop intimate bonds with nature.

Be Moved? Do-it-yourself responsibility makes a difference. Items carried away, reused, recycled or re-purposed lighten environmental footprints. The effects are not merely local. Waves, winds and sea life add locomotion.

Communion? A Florida Softshell Turtle dines with fish in an unpredictable feeding frenzy. When the pickings are easy and ample, predators and the prey they savor can get along. This is a book theme. (10 seconds)