This is a translation of story written by Anatoly Kardanov.   
(, November 13, 2006)

Shark attack

I have never been attacked by sharks myself while it happened with my friends. Those of them, who got off easy, shared impressions with me. The most impressive ones, of course, are related with the most prominent persons.

Heading the list of these persons is my old friend Sasha world wide known as Alexander Mumzhiu. Already for 6 years he has been travelling all over the world spending 3 to 6 months on each trip. He has visited 85 countries, and now he is in Caracas which is not attended by any tourist because all tourist directories and guidebooks warn that it is dangerous and one does better not to try! And he writes everywhere his travel notes and sends them over Internet to everybody. He even has his own web site and there is a lot of his admirers and followers. His surname (Mumzhiu) is quite seldom and he may be easily found with Google.

He reaches destination as all normal tourists: by plane, train, ship, boat, helicopter, bus or by hitch-hiking. Afterwards their ways diverge. Sasha goes farther on his folding bicycle, eats soups of concentrates, drinks only boiled water and sleeps in the cheapest hotels or under tent in the most exotic places, as for example, at a former inaccessibility pole -   the centre of the Takla Makan desert. Because of this he did not ever fall ill, even in the tropical countries and Himalayas, along with it he contrives to spend no more than $1000 per month.

That he has escaped undamaged is strange enough. Because, first of all, he is inclined to adventures, and secondly, he is "lucky" to get in adventures. I will not even say that next year he will be 70 years old, he lives with a single kidney, he has torn chords in humeral joints. Besides, it is difficult for him to move by foot due to an ankle bone broken long ago and wrong recovered ... or arthritis? ... I do not remember exactly. Therefore, he moves basically on his bicycle which, if necessary, he puts in a large bag (all the rest, including stocks of dry food, a compact boiler and tiny - close fitting - tent and sleeping bag, fits a small backpack). I am not going to stop on the story of his stay in Venice, in its old part, when pieces of plaster, a total area of about a quadratic meter, fell from the height of the fourth floor on sidewalk near to him.There is nothing to say about because all these fragments of medieval city had fallen around him rather than on his head. I would not even say that he has recently mastered flights on a paraplane and jumps upside down from high bridges with ropes attached to his legs.These are normal cultural entertainments for him. And he is not satisfied with this as routine and still searches for more exotic adventures on his head.

As a result in 2005 he was named in the annually published list of people which have been attacked and killed by sharks. (do not trust? - so, then enter in Google “Shark attacks” and follow instructions). When he had seen himself in this list, he was surprised very much and cited from Mark Twain: “Rumours about my death" as he said, "are somewhat exaggerated". So, we come close to the source of my associations - an aqualung. And it was as follows.

In February, 2005 our old mutual friend Vladik came from S.Petersburg to our mutual friends living in Colorado at the Cordilleras foothills. He spent a week staying in their apartment in the mountain-skiing town Silverton, more exactly, in the Wildernest village, 100 miles west from Denver and at the altitude of 3000 m above the sea level. At that time I spent my vacations, absolutely by chance, nearby, that is, 5 minutes to walk by foot, from this apartment. So, we not only had mutual skiing but also drank quite well celebrating our meeting. Unfortunately, Vladik badly endures being at high lands. He suffered from the mountain sickness. Not literally, of course. He ski'd, drank, however, with difficulty and headache. So, after a week suffering he accepted an invitation from our mutual friend  Sasha Mumzhiu which was talked about above

They met at Sasha’s home in Virginia and started from it with a tent, masks, fins and rifles for submarine hunting, and, of course, with a folding bicycle. They rode Sasha’s car to Florida where in that season, that is, in February the beach season is in its height. They made their camp illegally on a lost shore where neither civilized tourists nor policemen put their nose in. They set up their tent, made a fire from dry wood found on the beach and began hunting fish in a picturesque place amidst submarine rocks and caves. The small fish they shot during the first hours of staying in that lost oasis away of populous beaches considerably enriched their ascetic ration, which consisted basically of concentrate soups and whisky. However, Sasha was not satisfied by that, and he went to hunt for a shark.

He caught sight of a shark a bit earlier when he hunted for fish shoulder by shoulder with it. It was still in the same place near a small cave. The shark was astonished when Sasha stuck a harpoon in it near its caudal fin. And not only astonished, but also it was frightened and rushed into the open sea pulling the harpoon, line, rifle and Sasha. Sasha, of course, did not abandoned the rifle and prepared for a long cabotage swimming. But the shark pulled stronger, tore the line and went into the deep water without Sasha but with the harpoon. Sasha was upset because he had a single harpoon. Therefore, he grieved at the firewood in evening and next morning he swam again to that cave under water where he hoped to meet a pasturing shark.

He was not mistaken. The shark came back to its usual pasture. It did not pay any notice to Sasha, because it acquired a non-conditional reflex on him, and continued to do its own business. Using such connivance, Sasha got closer and caught the harpoon. He could take it out before the raged and frightened sea robber rushed to attack. While Sasha beat off with the harpoon the shark tore out a piece of his pectoral muscle. Then the shark relaxed and, not attempting to do the final blow, returned to own life. However, it did not take into account Sasha’s character. He put the harpoon into the rifle and attacked again the peaceful beast. Now it was a well aimed shot to its head which killed the shark. To say with more expression – he killed it on the spot.

When he blood-stained went out on the shore, Vladik rushed to help him. But he knew him badly as well. To say more exactly, he forgot him a bit after a lot of years which they spent away of each other. Sasha ordered him to go to the tent to take a camera and make that historical photo. I saw that photo. Sasha, blood-stained but smiling, poses standing and the edge of surf in fins with the mask on the top of his head and the shark in his hands. The shark was small - the same size as Sasha. They stood head to head and its tail reached the sand. In spite of the fact that it was small, if it caught something else in Sasha’s body instead of pectoral muscle then he did not get off easy. And as it was – the seams were put and wounds were healed.

Afterwards, Sasha recalled now and then with blame about report of his death. And the most offensive for him was the fact that they made a laughing stock of him by writing that the shark attacked him. “It is all lie”, – he said, - “it is me who attacked it and not vice versa”. One time he even was going to write a refutation. Then he changed mind and went to the pole of inaccessibility.