Known to many as ‘Ugly, the former fisherman whose real name is Audley Lewis , recently spoke to the Observer about an ordeal he had with a giant shark. The experience he said, has changed his life forever. The story is to be taken as a warning to other fishermen who may be unaware of what lurks out in the deep blue sea.
According to the Lewis who hails from Westmoreland, he always wanted to be a soldier; however, he had knee issues that did not allow his dream to materialize. He was introduced to fishing at the age of 15, later making it his source of income.
Lewis shared stories of being attacked by sharks many times and escaping unscathed. This last incident however, left him with a part of his hand gone. The avid fisherman recounted that on that particular day, he and a group of fishermen set off to catch conch off the coast of the Pedro Cays. This type of catch he explained ,did not need the fishing tools -fishing gun and knife – that he would have otherwise carried. Instead, Ugly took a bread knife. Ugly reported that while at 75 feet underwater, he was surprised to have seen a 30-pound turtle swim past him.
Unbeknownst to him, that turtle was swimming for its life, being chased by a Tiger. Lewis had not seen the shark until immediately after the turtle passed him. According to Lewis, the Shark was very close to him and they were both very deep underwater, making it almost impossible to outswim the creature to the surface of the ocean.
Lewis recalled the shark grabbing his catch of the conch and him having to allow the beast to feast on his potential earnings. Lewis exclaimed that this appeared to have been a mere appetizer for the shark, as it was clearly not satisfied, having eaten all the conch in the bag. Ugly reported that Shark then headed directly towards him. Then came the attack.
Lewis tried to defend himself from the Tiger Shark, using his bread knife. The shark was a supersized component, no doubt! The fisherman was not able to inflict one stab on the creature. Since the knife was not sharp enough. After trying to escape to the water’s surface, Lewis recalled that the shark bit his hand. He remembers hearing when his bone was popped and seeing the shark sawing his hand off with its teeth, before eventually swimming away with the severed piece it as it chewed on it.
The other fishermen, frightened by what they just witnessed, came to render assistance to the bleeding Lewis. They tried to quickly get him to the surface of the water for air as the shark had punctured his oxygen compressor hose during the attack. Lewis and the others had to share their compressor as they swam to the surface. Upon getting back to the boat, Lewis reported that there was blood everywhere. Being 15 miles away from land, said Lewis, felt like he was much further away. He recalls feeling as if he was dying.
Lewis has lost his breadwinner capability, and now has to depend on his family for his needs. He warns other fishermen and divers to be careful while at sea since sharks can detect heartbeats, and other injured fish from afar, which can prove dangerous to any living being in the ocean.
Just recently, a diver was killed by a shark attack in Jamaica.