A professional kite surfer and instructor from Poland recently survived two days of drifting in the Red Sea by fighting off sharks with a knife. With just a couple of energy bars and drinks and a small amount of water, the first kitesurfer to cross the Baltic Sea set off from El Gouna in Egypt to Duba, Saudi Arabia. But then the wind died.
Jan Lisewski’s sail deflated when the wind stopped, forcing the 42 year old to drift with the waves. But as the swells grew larger and the sun was setting, he finally lit an SOS signal.
Saudi Arabia’s coast guard failed to reach him for another 40 hours.
While drifting through the water at night, he claimed that he attacked by sharks that were up to 6 meters long, according to Vancouver Sun.
“I was stabbing them in the eyes, the nose and gills,” Lisewski told Polish state news agency PAP.
A sea full of nearly extinct sharks
Few Egyptians would attempt such a bold feat since the Red Sea is well-known for its shark population, even though conservationists point out that their danger is exaggerated.
Most shark attacks are accidental and occur when snorkelers or surfers are misidentified as prey. Sharks almost never hunt humans.
In 2010 three Russian tourists were attacked by a White Tip shark while snorkeling off the Sinai Peninsula. Their injuries were not fatal, but just one week later in 2010 an elderly woman was killed.
An apex species, the future of Red Sea sharks is uncertain. Protection legislation designed to protect them has alerted Yemini fishermen to Red Sea sharks‘ whereabouts and even locals are guilty of hunting them for their fins, which sell for a hefty sum in Asia.
Green Prophet writer Miriam Kresh reported earlier this year that “since last year’s political uprising, and consequent deterioration of law enforcement, poachers supplying restaurants with illicit shark fins have driven the Red Sea shark population down by as much as 80 percent” and put them at risk of extinction.
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