**This blog entry orginally appeared on the website oceanspaces.org.**/p>
From a young age I remember my Mom talking to me about shark attacks, my brother and I grew up surfing and playing in the ocean in central California and every few years a white shark would pop up and bite someone. One year a local fisherman even caught one by mistake and we went down to see it. I remember running my little hands along the back of the shark and being amazed by the skin, soft as silk in one direction and rough like sandpaper in the other. Now a day’s sharks across my mind every once in a while, usually on long surface swims in deep water or on murky day’s but know I cannot give up my passion for a fear. There is a very big HOWEVER that is about to come, and can be summed up in one word Westport. The Westport shark. It seems that every time I talk to someone about diving in the waters off of Westport, the conversation circles back to the Westport shark. From local urchin fisherman, commercial divers, surfers, to sport fisherman they all end up telling me about the Westport shark. I would not be as frightened as I am if they all didn’t have different stories, but the one story they all tell is of Randall Fry. I have heard the story of Fry’s death many times, his head and neck where ripped off by a 16-18 foot white shark in 2004, and even though the attack happened ten years ago the local community still keeps a cloud of fear around the site of this death. Its’ understandable Fry was described as an experienced diver who died a horrific, albeit fast, death. The site of Fry’s death, Kibesillah Rock, just so happens to be a site I want to survey for Reef Check. The small cove inside the Ten Mile Marine Reserve is perfect for surveying. It’s one of the only rocky reefs that is shallow enough to survey and offer’s the slightest protection from the open ocean. The cove is only accessible by boat and unfortunately faces northwest requiring near perfect conditions for it to be dive-able. I have also found a local boat captain who is willing to take a small group of Reef Checker’s out to dive it. The dive was scheduled to happen in November but was canceled due to swell’s, rather than fear of sharks!