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Shark Fever

by Kyrie Whitaker
(Baltimore Maryland)

Kyrie Whitaker
Shark Fever
“You know how you think the most insane things couldn’t happen to you? But then when it does you can’t believe it and in your mind you just think about life, like I’m going to die.”
Well that happened to me, John Robins. I’m 38 years old now and I’m going to tell my survival story on swimming with the sharks when I was 21 years old on a reality TV show in 1999.
June 15.1999
“Hello! And welcome to Fear Factor! My name is Jeff Regan and you’re now playing one of the most dangerous game in the world.” The host said towards the camera with a playful evil grin. After the host finished doing his intro we all introduced ourselves on camera and then the episode was over, everybody went home and carried on with their business.
The next week it was Sunday and we were back for our first challenge. We were partnered up and I just so happen to be paired with the mystery girl. The challenge was to walk over a thin wire with you and your partner back to back one hundred thirty five feet in the air. As contestants tried to walk across the thin wire in a minimum amount of time, I tried to start a conversation with the girl.
“Ugh, this is not what I had in mind.” I said frantically looking at the rope imagining myself slipping and falling into my own death.
“Yeah me neither but it whatever.” The girl said with a blunt attitude like she’s done this a million times before.
“What’s your name?” I asked hoping she wouldn’t give me an attitude for asking a simple question since she is my partner.
“My name? Taylor.” She said, Taylor? I can’t believe her, she doesn’t look like a Taylor. She looks like she has a hardcore name like Fire Dragon or Weasel. But I couldn’t take anybody else’s word for it so I had to believe her.
As it was our turn she hooked her clips to my jacket as we put helmets on with the cameras so they could see our expressions on TV. Jeff blew his whistle for us to move and Taylor was gone, she had me dragging behind. My stomach caught butterflies as I felt and tasted the sweat coming down the side of my face. She ran and ran across the death trap as fast as she could with no fear in her eyes, as we made it across to the finish line Jeff blew his whistle again for the timer to stop and our time was nine point zero second’s seconds.
“Ugh we lost!” Taylor shouted.
I looked at her with a dumbfounded look because we were in the top five.
“What do you mean? We are in second place?” I said out of breath even though I did nothing but trample behind.
“Yeah we could’ve been in first if you would’ve picked your feet up but nooo.” Taylor said so arrogantly.
Jeff had announce the top five winners of the challenge and told us what we won which was immunity of the next challenge. Two people were eliminated and there were now 10 of us. We went home and waited till next week for our next challenge. I couldn’t wait. That was sarcasm.
It was Sunday and the director yelled out action as Jeff did his job and told us what the new challenge was. We had to swim with the sharks. Of course, it seems as if it just gets worse. He said we were going to be in a cage. So I guess I should feel safe. We got undressed and put on our scuba outfits. A couple people went off set into the back to tape their reactions before it happened. When they came back out Jeff announced that I was going first.
What I had to do was stay in the cage for fifth teen minutes while the shark floated around biting on the cage. I didn’t know if I wanted to do this anymore. He shoved me through the doorway of the metal cage and shut the door, a minute later the cage dropped abruptly into the water and there was a sharks floating around waiting for their prey. I closed my eyes just waiting for it to be over with. Five minutes later the sharks started to tear apart the cage and my soul almost jumped out of my body.
I tried to scream as loud as I could as I choked on the water but nobody heard anything while the huge shark swam over to me. The first thing he grabbed was my arm because I put it up thinking that it was going to block me from this shark attack. His sharp teeth sunk deep into my skin and blood surrounded me, I thought about giving up and letting this demon eat me but I thought to myself, this is probably a part of the challenge so I fought back. Kicked the shark in the eye as he swam back. That didn’t stop him from trying to have me as a feast. I dodged his attacks as best as I could with my bloody arm. I punched the top of the shark’s head which seemed to have no effect. He got out of my grip and looked angry. I saw a piece of the cage floating in the water so I grabbed it and the shark ran his head right into the pole. He was dead. The fifth teen minutes weren’t even over but two people came and got me because when they tried to pull the cage, there was nothing there. I told my story to the directors and they sounded confused because the shark biting me wasn’t part of the show. I thought that was so bad, this show needs to be cut off its too dangerous and a year later it was because a couple more people got hurt.

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