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Hennessey Part 7: Captured!

Photo credit: Olga Ernst, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0
Aug 18 2021

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Original Articles

By Anthony Palumbi and Stephen Palumbi

Hennessey spun and dove and hid. Never had she been so attacked. Never had she been in such confused and mortal danger. Called to the surface by enticing smells of prey. Then betrayed! And hauled out of the ocean.

Her brain had difficulty in understanding what had just happened. She lived in a world without walls or fences or enclosures of any kind, so being caught in a narrow sling and held immobile was nearly impossible. The fear and fury of that sensation was only worsened by a sharp pain on her dorsal fin, like the bite of some invisible purposeful tooth. She saw poorly in air and while she had been in that sling, she could only make out a single blurry figure reaching down to free her fin of the irritating box that had been there for years.

Then unexpected escape! Her thrashing and straining broke the grip that held her, and she once again was free in the open ocean. Free to breathe and react. Free to strike back and learn where this danger lay.

Beside her a second large body fell into the sea, flailing in a way that told her ancient senses it was ‘helpless prey’. Attracted, but still wary, she had turned to it, brushed it. Amid her slowly waning panic, she thought this seemed like the same kind of skinny bony prey she had encountered days before. She returned to brush it again. Then returned again, based on the calculations of her predator’s caution, for a test bite.

There she was blocked by an apparition, long limbed like a seal, but without the right scent. And unlike seals that panicked and ran the second they saw her, this creature floated still and curious, looking at her.

One thing was a universal among all hunters in the sea – the ability to focus attention on something, usually prey. This creature could focus as intently as she could. Could focus on her, the way she focused on it.  Floating, watching curiously, observing cautiously.

A second universal among ocean hunters were eyes – the guideposts of attention. This creature had odd eyes – one large crystalline eye with what looked to her like two small eyes underneath. And those eyes were compelling, fixed as they were on Hennessey, still as they were in their regard.

The moment held, both shark and human watching, waiting, learning.

Then Hennessey flicked a fin, turned, and powered into a deep glide into the depths. Leaving the apparition alone in a green ocean.

***

 Kinney whooped and danced out of the way as the large white shark was hauled up in a sling.  She leaned over the huge mother, and then wrestled the tag off her dorsal fin. Now the Revenge Fleet couldn’t find her. But in the commotion of catching and then releasing the large shark, her partner Will tumbled into the sea. To give him cover to swim, panicked, back to the boat, Kinney had donned a SCUBA mask and jumped in front of Hennessey.

What followed wasn’t confrontation, but connection. A deep moment between two creature of the ocean that would last in Kinney’s mind forever.

 

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