Today is Eugenie Clark’s 90th Birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY GENIE! To celebrate I’m reposting my story about meeting my shark hero last year.
They say never meet your heros, but after meeting one of mine I can thoroughly recommend it. During my recent visit to Mote Marine Labs in Florida I had the chance to meet Eugenie Clark – aka The Shark Lady – and what a wonderful lady she is.
I’d arranged to have lunch with Genie the day following my talk at Mote Marine Labs – they had kindly invited me over to give a lecture on seahorses. The talk went well but I nearly fell off my chair during the book signing afterwards when who should walk up, clutching a copy of my book, but Genie herself.
Her friend leaned over and said ‘This is Eugenie Clark. She’d like to have her picture taken with you’.
It was one of those moments I could have played cool, but failed completely. I just stammered ‘I know who she is’ then grinned. A lot.
Next day we ordered junk food in the diner at Mote Marine Labs and sat in a booth chatting away like long lost friends. She asked me about my work with seahorses, writing my book, where I’ve been diving. And I asked about her work, about convict fish, and sharks that swell up like puffer fish, what Jacques Cousteau was like, and about the time she took a baby shark on a plane as a gift for the Emperor of Japan.