Mararikkulam North, Kerala, India -Why Don’t Locals Swim at the Beach?

As Michael and I come to the end of our six week stay here, ONLY ONCE have we observed locals swimming at the beach!  That is saying something because Michael and I go to the beach almost every day! Interestingly, the one time we did witness locals swimming, they were from the northern part of Kerala!  So, technically not locals from the area, but locals of Kerala!

So why is it that the locals of this area don’t go in the water?

This is a fishing village.  People who live by and survive off of the sea.

Is it because they can’t swim? You would think fisherman would teach themselves to swim to avoid drowning if they fell overboard.  (FYI – lifejackets are not part of their fishing gear.)

Are locals afraid of water?

OR are fisherman and their families afraid of what is IN the water……..

Since 1975, when I was six years old and the movie Jaws was released, I have had an inherent and irrational fear of sharks. I can’t even swim in a lake without thinking of a shark!

As a result of our never witnessing “local” locals swimming off the beach, AND the beach is a fisherman’s beach, meaning fish nets, baskets and the like are rinsed in the water – putting the smell of fish out there, this has upped my hyper-vigilance, fear, unease, constant nervousness when swimming at this beach!

Is there a danger in the water we don’t know about ?

There were dolphins off the beach a week or so ago, so why wouldn’t sharks be off this beach too?

What also adds to my fear is how murky the water is. The water is so cloudy with sand because of the constant surf, you can’t see bottom! I can’t even see my feet when I start walking into the water.  How am I to see a LARGE fish  – SHARK – if it is swimming towards me? Add to that, the water is immediately deep! Deep enough that the shark doesn’t have to come to the surface, showing its dorsal fin, and give me a heads up to get the &*^% out of the water (hopefully!) in time!

I’m scaring myself just thinking about it!

Michael quite enjoys teasing me about my fear of sharks when we are swimming in the waves! I get so nervous I have to get out of the water!

Anyway, the point of this blog is to share how scared I was every time I swam in the water because I was always wondering WHY aren’t the fisherman families of this area swimming in the water too?  My brain always answered: Because of Sharks!!!

This beach is one of many that line this southwestern coastline.  All the beaches are populated with fisherman but some of the larger beaches are shared with tourists and resorts. This small beach is off the main grid, yet popular with locals as it has a busy morning fish market.

Below are pictures of the one time people besides us, the people from northern Kerala, played and swam in the ocean too!

IMG_2764fullsizeoutput_9e11Michael decided he was going to go for a swim as well!  fullsizeoutput_9e07fullsizeoutput_9e09fullsizeoutput_9e0bMichael swimming down the beach to join the others!fullsizeoutput_9e12

I stayed dry and safe on shore ! 😉

S, 🙂

4 Comments Add yours

  1. mama says:

    I remember the affect the movie Jaws had on you and a lot of people! I would have been on the beach with you with the murky deep water you described. Best to play it safe. Guess Michael did not agree, he is fearless!Fisherman not knowing how to swim seems to be universal. Guess it is what they see from the safety of their boats. 😳🦈 scary!

    1. I agree, totally scary!!!!

  2. tishmillette6067 says:

    I TOTALLY understand this fear. It is all about self preservation.. Your innate survival mechanism. I don’t swim in the ocean either. My best friend Siobhan has always been terrified of sharks too ( think of Jaws also) and hates swimming in lakes as well. Tell Michael to get out of the water!! A man in Hawaii died this week when a shark ripped his leg off. 😪😪😪
    xox Tish

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    1. Glad I’m not the only one afraid of sharks, when I’ve never EVER encountered one!!!

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