Hurricanes, Pandemics, Sharks...
Shark populations worldwide are in severe decline. The Bahamian Government is a global leader in shark preservation having instituted a long-line fishing ban in 1992 and awarded sanctuary status for sharks throughout its territorial waters in 2011. The regulation was amended in 2018 to ban fishing for sharks or possessing shark meat and parts. As a consequence, the Bahamas has a stable and growing shark population to support a $1 billion (USD) per year ecotourism income derived from shark diving and other interactions.
I can testify that there are a lot of sharks in these waters. I frequently fish in the ocean and on the tidal flats where I encounter sharks of every variety. They are plentiful, beautiful and scary all at the same time. But, the Bahamas is alone in the Caribbean Basin when it comes to sharks. No other major nation in the region has enacted similar protections. As a result, sharks find it friendlier in the Bahamas and the numbers continue to grow. Swimming, fishing, diving, snorkeling, spearfishing and other interactions with the sea are riskier when there are more sharks around.
The pandemic is out of hand in the US. The growth of cases in Florida concerns Bahamians because it’s less than 100 miles away. Flying to the US from the Bahamas usually means you will be going to or through Florida. Therefore, transiting on to any other location in the US will carry with it a consciousness of a potential infection for both you and others who know where you’ve been. As long as the US Government stays on the sidelines, we will have states that are pandemic pariahs, where travel from there will carry suspicion and even require quarantine. So, like the sharks in the Caribbean, the consequences of non-uniform action against the pandemic allows the virus to spread to areas where bars and restaurants are open and mask wearing is optional. Sharks and viruses will seek places where they can roam freely, uninhibited by the threat of death or abatement.
2019 saw Hurricane Dorian lay waste to the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Abaco is 63 nautical miles north of our location and could have removed our little island from the map had it jogged a little south. The 2020 hurricane season in the North Atlantic is predicted to be very active. I know the risks of remaining here during a tropical storm season that lasts until November 1st. But, as I consider my return to the US, where virus numbers are on the rise, against staying here to face hurricanes and sharks, I’m undecided. Stay tuned to this space as my departure date of July 30th approaches.
Hurricanes, Pandemics, Sharks, Oh My !!
by Tone Daley
Most sharks are not maneaters
Unlike the great white we’ve seen in theaters.
Sharks are mostly opportunistic and curious,
That’s what makes our indictment of them so spurious.
I’m debating staying for the hurricane season,
When returning to the states, for whatever reason,
On its’ face, appears to be a fool’s mission,
When considering America’s deadly attrition.
Hurricane Dorian has this country wrought with emotion.
While NOAA predicts a busy 2020 for the Atlantic Ocean.
But, as numbers soar
On my beloved country’s shore.
I ask, should I stay and fight the enemies I can see?
Or, dodge trillions of bullets way smaller than a flea?