Shark Week – Stay calm, it’s back

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - On Tv -

Fans of the oceans’ apex preda­tor will find plenty to sink their teeth into when Shark Week sur­faces for its 31st pro­gram­ming frenzy this week on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel.

Swim­ming into view Sun­day, July 28, the an­nual eight-day block de­voted to all things shark of­fers up a plethora of knowl­edge on ev­ery­thing from great white hunting be­hav­iors (“Great White Kill Zone: Guadalupe,” Thurs­day, Aug. 1), the ac­counts of shark-at­tack vic­tims (“I Was Prey,” Fri­day, Aug. 2) and how to sur­vive in shark-in­fested wa­ters (“Laws of Jaws: Dan­ger­ous Wa­ters,” Tues­day, July 30) to the lat­est in shark-de­tect­ing tech­nol­ogy (“Sharks of the Bad­lands,” Mon­day, July 29), an at­tempt to cre­ate the per­fect shark suit (“An­drew Mayne: Ghost Diver,” Fri­day) and how a gi­ant pre­his­toric shark went ex­tinct (“Expedition Un­known: Me­ga­lodon,” Sun­day).

There is even a celebrity shark swim with ac­tor/co­me­dian Rob Rig­gle (“Shark Trip: Eat Prey Chum,” Sun­day).

In “Expedition Un­known: Me­ga­lodon,” host Josh Gates speaks to pa­le­on­tol­o­gists and ma­rine bi­ol­o­gists and even goes div­ing in shark-in­fested wa­ters to in­ves­ti­gate the de­cline and even­tual dis­ap­pear­ance of “The Meg,” a pow­er­ful preda­tor that reached lengths up to 59 feet, mil­lions of years ago.

“The old think­ing up un­til a few years ago,” Gates ex­plains, “is that the Meg went away be­cause of a cli­mate change, it went away be­cause of the on­set of an Ice Age, it went away be­cause there was a stel­lar event where the Earth was bathed in a type of ra­di­a­tion that pos­si­bly changed some of the ecosys­tems on the planet. And that’s al­ways been the story about the Meg and that story is chang­ing and that’s what we wanted to in­ves­ti­gate with this show, is it may be that the Meg went ex­tinct a mil­lion years ear­lier than pre­vi­ously thought at a time when there was no real big cli­mac­tic change. And if that’s the case, it means that it prob­a­bly died out be­cause it was out­com­peted by other an­i­mals.”

In an­other piece of note­wor­thy pro­gram­ming, Tues­day’s “Laws of Jaws: Dan­ger­ous Wa­ters” places hosts Paul de Gelder, Jamin Martinelli, Mike Dor­nel­las and Nick LeBeouf in harm’s way to re-en­act five re­cent shark at­tacks to find out how things could have ended dif­fer­ently and what peo­ple can do to pre­vent or fend off an at­tack.

In one ex­per­i­ment, Martinelli climbs on a pad­dle­board in the Ba­hamas to test how sharks re­act to her pres­ence and var­i­ous ac­tions, such as fall­ing off the board.

Her ad­vice to some­one con­fronted by a shark? “Try to make eye con­tact,” she says. “... That’s the most im­por­tant thing, is for them to know that you are alert and you’re watch­ing them. Also, if you do have a pad­dle, that’s great be­cause you can ac­tu­ally keep your dis­tance from them, so they may cir­cle just to kind of check you out but you can keep a bar­rier.

“And ... just re­main calm,” she con­tin­ues. “In any amped up sit­u­a­tion, if you kind of get hys­ter­i­cal or (start) freaking out, then you just for­get all of this. So if you’re su­per-calm, then you’re more aware to be to­tally in the sit­u­a­tion, say­ing, ‘OK, I see the shark, all he’s do­ing is check­ing me out. I can (han­dle) this. I’m watch­ing him, he’s watch­ing me.’ And then from there, ei­ther get back on the board or the boat but just do ev­ery­thing su­per-slow while watch­ing him the en­tire time.”

Shark Week kicks off eight days of pro­gram­ming Sun­day on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel.

Shark Week kicks off eight days of pro­gram­ming Sun­day on Dis­cov­ery Chan­nel.

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