I Was Shark Bait, Kinda

When I was a little girl growing up at the Jersey Shore I had two run-ins with water rescues that left me being a land lover. I try to never go in the water if at all possible. The only reason I do go in the water is if an epic heat wave has struck. Thus forcing me to choose between heat stroke or submerging myself in the water, and as obvious as this may seem, it is not done easily.

On the other end of the spectrum is our son. He has always been a fish. This kid could spend hours in the water. He had his first taste of scuba at a local club when he was 8yo. He was a natural, and even though he couldn’t be certified till he was 10 he never stopped talking about it. Upon his 10th birthday he turned to us and exclaimed, “Now I can get certified!”


Since there was no way in hell our kid would go through this process solo, one parent was going to have to fall on the snorkel and get certified with him. Naturally I assumed it wouldn’t be me since The Hubs is a big time water guy with our kids, just call him Jacque. Obviously HE would be the one to get certified.


Somehow he pulled the rug out right from under me when he announced (in the store while I was signing them both up), right in front of the kid, that he would not be doing the class. The 10yo looked stunned – I was more mortified because I knew I would be forced to fall on the snorkel. Well played my friend, well played.

The 10yo and I finished all necessary course work prior to our upcoming vacation. In order to become card carrying members we would need to complete our final open water dives while in St. Thomas. I had arranged with a local dive shop ahead of time to ensure there were no issues.

The first day was uneventful in terms of instruction. As for being underwater – that was awesome. We got to see a Moray Eel and some other cool shit. I have to give props to my 10yo for dragging me into this. I can honestly say I had little interest in swimming with the fish, but it was quite an experience and I am happy I did. And to do it with my kid, well that was just the icing on the top. 

The second day our dives were off a boat that was rolling in a 5′ swell in the Caribbean. I was sea sick as soon as the first roll hit. The only reprieve I had was when I got into the ocean. It was very comforting when I was instructed that if I needed to puke to just go ahead and do that in the mouth piece (regulator). Gross.

We dove to the bottom of the reef, 40′ deep, where we saw a monster lobster, a turtle, tons of coral,and a collection of the most beautiful fish. This alone made the entire process worth it. Our instructor guided us through a narrow passageway that was flanked with jagged rocks and coral. While passing through I scraped my leg on it. Man did it hurt, but a quick inspection revealed no blood, I was good to go.

The dive finished up and we came back to the surface as certified PADI Scuba Divers. The instructor suggested that if I wanted to avoid getting sea sick I should stay in the water as long as possible while the other divers finished up. Sounded good to me – there was no way I was getting back on that boat one minute earlier than I had to. And since it was rolling more than a 3 year old in a full blown tantrum I happily treaded away in the open ocean completely oblivious.

Thirty minutes later the last of our group surfaced and boarded the boat. I hoisted my water logged self up on the swim deck. That was when I first realized there was a very large amount of blood dripping down my calf. Seriously, I am treading water – in the Caribbean! – in an area where reef sharks (yes not a huge threat but these suckers can grow to 10 feet and can attack if defending itself) were spotted by another diver and I am BLEEDING?! 


Thank the fucking gods I did not realize I was shark chum! My mind instantly flashed to the scene from Jaws where the girl is in the water, treading away, the camera cuts to an underwater shot of her legs and then you see her head get pulled down. Yup – that coulda been me.

Ok, maybe not – but still.

I can now officially say I risked my life for my kid. He thought he had heard enough about how I carried him for 9 months! Ha! Well now it is I gave you life AND I almost got eaten by a shark (kinda).


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  1. I get seasick, too. The trick is to look at a fixed point, like the horizon, or land if you can see any. If you have to go below deck, just don’t focus on anything. Dart your eyes around. I swear it works!

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      I’ll try anything cause that was horrible! I’ll take the sharks anytime over sea sickness.

  2. You’re braver than I am! This would be my nightmare! When we went to Hawaii I snorkeled a little but I would ONLY snorkel in places where I could stand up in the water, AND while wearing a life jacket! Don’t laugh at me. Have you ever seen the movie Open Water? OK, do not watch it. Also don’t watch Frozen (the 2010 movie, not the kids’ one) if you’re planning on going skiing.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      I haven’t seen it – and based upon the warning do not plan on it!! I never thought I could do this, shocking what you can do when given really no choice.

  3. Rhonda says:

    You are an amazing mom to do that for your kid. I don’t think I’d have it in me if one of my boys wanted to do it.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      I never thought I would either, but when given little choice I had to suck it up – you would too. That’s what makes us mom’s:)

  4. *giggles* You said chum. I love that word. During shark week I learned the term “chum slick” where they throw thousands of gallons of chum off the back of a boat to draw sharks. Chum Slick was my favorite word for months. Even had a hash tag for it. LOL.

    I’m enormously impressed with you, Alyson! I’m so intimidated of scuba diving! I think I’d rather sky dive! You ARE a rock star!

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      Just omit one little letter and chum means something totally different;) snort.

      Tell ya what – if yours ever want to scuba I’m there, but when mine wants to sky dive your up. Good luck bc he is totally gonna want to do that!

  5. I avoid the ocean as well, because fuck being lunch.

    One time, though, I did run into the water to save my second husband’s kids from a shark. I saw a fin pop up behind them and I remember hearing that you’re supposed to punch a shark in the nose….

    Sooo…I saw the fin…I started screaming for them to GET OUT OF THE WATER and went charging in to punch the shark in the nose.

    It was a dolphin.

    • theshitastrophy.com says:

      But that damn dolphin coulda been a shark – and you ran in, when others ran out! Totally get the points for effort.