Everyone has an odd story to tell from their work experience… What’s yours?
I was fishing about 4 miles offshore from Miranda. I put my nets in the water, and got them cleared, and then realised that if I went home, I would just have time for a coffee and then I would have to come back again, so I decided to just stay with the nets and snooze for a couple of hours.
It was a small boat, and I snoozed lying on the centre cross seat, with my head on the combing (side of the boat). I was happily snoozing away when I was awakened by a snort. I turned my head toward the sound and found myself looking down a large beaked throat, lined with spikes about 2 inches long.
For an instant I thought it was the last thing I was going to see, as I half expected it to take my head off.
The adrenalin surge was amazing.
It wasn’t dangerous.
It was a giant leather-back turtle – about 7 ft long, and 9 ft from flipper tip to flipper tip.
The spikes are to keep the jellyfish it eats going down, and not slipping back out.
But the view down that throat was one of the scariest seconds of my life.
I was using the side of the boat as a fairly solid pillow, so most of my head was actually sticking out over the side of the boat, about 8 inches above the water surface. I was on my left side, so my head was facing aft (looking towards the back of the boat) and I was quietly snoozing away.
Next thing I hear a loud snorting sound. Open my eyes, and there is the beak and throat of a giant leather-back turtle a few inches (at most 3 ft) from my face.
It had just come to the surface for a breath of fresh air, and I just happened to be sleeping there.
It felt like I was going to be in that throat.
For a fraction of a second I was paralysed with fear.
A fraction of a second later I was sitting in the centre of the boat evaluating the situation somewhat more calmly, though the adrenalin in my system was amazing.
Yeah – I’m aware that all animals need to be treated with respect, even the small ones.
That leather-back could certainly have done me a damage if part of me had got into that beak, but I was relieved once I was certain that it had no intentional designs of having me as dinner, which was certainly my first thought.
About 20 years ago I got a set of dentures broken and a huge haematoma (sticking out past my nose) on my top lip, when I got head butted by a nephew’s pet lamb. One doesn’t normally consider lambs dangerous. I just got a little over confident and forgot to give the animal its due respect. (Didn’t help that it had become a “teenage” ram.)
They certainly look like teeth.
They were certainly terrifying in the first glance.
The story went on that there were a pair of those turtles, and they came back and stayed for a few months every year for 3 years, when they were accidentally caught and drowned in some fishing nets (not mine – Peter Ashby’s). I got to examine the dead ones in detail. Those teeth like spikes are actually just tough skin, and are slightly flexible, though plenty strong enough to deal to jellyfish.