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Hennessey Part 10: Feeding

Aug 18 2021

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Original Articles

By Anthony Palumbi and Stephen Palumbi

The seal kept its pace, looked in all directions, speeding faster than an eyeblink for the rocks. This was an error. Because Hennessey could track it, cutting off a deep escape. The mother shark  closed in from below, instinctively projecting the course of the seal. Doing the math faster in her primitive lobes than most humans could consciously calculate, she propelled herself to where the seal would be. She rose to meet it, jaws agape, rocketing up smoothly and confidently and perfectly to intersect the line of the fleeing mammal. This was her element, her time. Every muscle and sinew coordinated in this glorious upward surge. It was her straining willpower, projecting a mass of muscle and an armor of skin and a honed set of sharpened teeth on a flashing rise towards the surface.

In slow motion every movement came together, perfectly timed, perfectly positioned.

The seal was in mid-air, leaping toward safety as the shark rose from beneath. Lifting out of the water, Hennessey surged upward toward the top of the seal’s leap the same second the seal reached it. It was a magnificent, terrifying sight. She yawned her jaws and captured the seal perfectly across its girth. Despite its weight, her vast momentum carried her upward, wedging the seal tightly in her grasp. A perfect capture.

The signals of a worthy kill flooded her senses. She bit down with all her strength, fell back with a geyser of water, and dove. Two other sharks followed, sliding in to snap up anything they could. She bit again and quickly swallowed, twisting at the last moment to regain possession of the rest of the body. Down near the bottom, she bit and swallowed once more, and fit this meal into a body already bulging with young. She felt bloated, weighed down, successful, vindicated.

This was enough. It would feed her pups. And give her time to find the birthing place they needed. Amid the swirl of other sharks coming to inspect her kill, shooting through the scent of blood in the water, Hennessey floated serene.

To start at the beginning of Hennessey's journey, click here.