SharkWeekI caught a preview ad on TV this week promoting Shark Week. I wonder if sharks celebrate a People Week.

While growing up in the mountains of eastern Oklahoma and western Arkansas, I sometimes overheard my parents talking about how I was “half-wild” and more at ease with animals than with people. God has been good to me by allowing me to explore and ramble over some of the wildest and most remote corners of the globe—Africa, South America, Asia, Alaska, Canada…

Sharks and elephants are my most admired wild critters. While I managed only a few years ago to finally observe African elephants in the wild, I have encountered sharks a number of times while fishing, SCUBA diving, sailing…

When I lived aboard my sailboat Gandalf in the anchorage at Key West, Florida, one of the other live-aboarders snagged a shark, the success of which led to a communal shark dinner aboard one of the houseboats anchored in the harbor.

“Doesn’t taste like chicken,” was one observation.

Each year, Florida hosts a sailboat regatta race across the Gulf from Florida to Mexico. A friend commandeered me to help a crew sail a 20-footer back to St. Petersburg. One afternoon while fishing for yellow fin tuna off the fantail step, which was only about a foot above the surface of the water, I was fighting in a tuna and had it struggling and splashing to almost within gaff range when suddenly a monstrous shark, jaws agape and wicked teeth flashing, surfaced right at my feet. I could have reached out and popped it on the nose.

I looked back at our stunned crew. “We’re going to need a bigger boat,” I quipped.

A treasure-hunting friend in Costa Rica invited me to come SCUBA with him in search of Sir Francis Drake’s lost treasure ship. I was down about 50 feet in Drake’s Bay nosing through an underwater draw, my bubbles stringing to the surface, minding my own treasure hunting business, when a six-foot-long blacktip shark appeared a few feet below me, hunting.

I dived from above on the slow-swimming shark to poke it with my spear gun, curious about its reaction. As it turned out, a shark—at least this particular shark—could be a chicken shark. It seemed terrified as I chased it down the underwater draw, as though it thought I were a predator intent on having it for dinner

While I don’t recommend chasing sharks as a sport, I do recommend Shark Week on TV. It’s much safer.

Charles W. Sasser is a professional adventure journalist/photographer who has published over 60 books and thousands of magazine articles. One of his latest books is Crushing the Collective. His adventure/action novel, Shadow Mountain, set in the Soviet Union during the Great Famine of the 1930s, should be released early next year.