Posted by: Kara Luker | October 23, 2010

A spotty surprise

God said, “I command the ocean to be full of living creatures….” So God made the giant sea monsters and all the living creatures that swim in the ocean. Genesis 1:20-21

About 5 years ago, Cole and I drove down to La Jolla to spend the day on the beach where my cousin, Janelle, and her family were vacationing. They had purchased a couple masks and snorkels for the trip, which didn’t initially excite me… after all, we were in California, not Hawaii. But there was a group of scuba divers who kept submerging themselves in shoulder deep water, and my curiosity was piqued. Janelle’s husband, John, explained that there were leopard sharks cruising around in the shallow water. He assured us of their gentle nature, and enthusiastically encouraged us to get out there and see them.

It seemed like an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed, so we popped up off the sand, grabbed some snorkels, and headed toward the water with Janelle and one of her kids. There were plenty of boogie boards lying around but I insisted that I was big enough to handle four feet of water on my own. So I waded out about waste deep, pulled the mask over my eyes, and leaned into the water. I didn’t see anything but sand and a few fish, so I swam slowly forward, glancing to the left and right to catch a glimpse of these little spotted landlubbers.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened but I looked down and saw directly beneath me, separated from my skin by mere inches of water, six or eight or ten large sharks swimming in snaky circular patterns like they do on the Discovery Channel when they are going to eat someone. In the time it took Rita to shove me toward the croc (see previous post), I jerked my head up from the water, screamed through my snorkel, and leaped on top of Janelle’s 12 year-old daughter, Alyssa, nearly shoving her off her boogie board. She displayed her athletic prowess by hanging on through the assault which made me glad, even though it was apparent I would have sacrificed her to save my own delicate skin and tender flesh.

I decided I was not nearly brave enough to handle four feet of water on my own, so I swam back to shore and humbly grabbed a boogie board. I paddled back out to my last shark sighting and was delighted to experience the most stunning display of nature I have ever seen. Long, elegant, exquisitely patterned, and perfect; these sharks were glorious. I floated there in wonder as I took in the remarkable scene. The most beautiful thing of all was the foam that separated me from their sharkly forms, and the fact that the flesh they would devour belonged to crunchy little sea creatures… and not me.


  1. I love this Kara! I still remember you jumping on top of me and screaming. It’s a memory I will always have 🙂

    • You know I love you with all my heart even though I was willing to toss you to the sharks, right??

      • Great – you’ve left your beloved (young) cousin a life long memory of throwing her to the sharks in an attempt to save yourself. So much for the Viking legends in our family!

      • Since when were Vikings known for their benevolence? Hey, I terrorized through the sea – I’m Viking through and through! 🙂

  2. LOL!!! This is hilarious. You are so funny. Glad both you and Alyssa lived to tell the tale. 🙂


    ps, I love your blog! I enjoyed reading your notes on facebook, so now it’s lovely having a Kara blog. 🙂

    • Karise, I’m so glad you wandered over to the blog! It was such a joy to see your name here.
      And, yes, it’s very good we both survived or maybe the story wouldn’t have been so funny after all 🙂

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