My first in-water shark encounter was in San Diego, in La Jolla Cove. I was snorkeling in the cove, out near “Alligator Rock” when I saw a Gray Smoothhound, an entirely harmless shark maybe 3’ long. But, hey, it’s a shark that looks like a shark and I wanted to share the moment with my friend Dave, who was maybe a hundred yards away. So I called out to him.

In my head, what I called out was along the lines of “Dave! A carcharhinid! Certainly a Mustelus, most likely californicus!” (I’d convinced myself that my career in Marine Biology would be aided by memorizing scientific names) But since I was snorkeling and couldn’t quite get all that out, what I shouted was, instead, “Shark! Shark!”

Which, it turns out, is not the most appropriate thing to shout out in a cove crowded with casual swimmers.