He has systematically built a solid reputation as a fly fishing guide, shark expert, and conservationists and he has renewed public awareness of sharks.

Sharks are once again, hot ticket items – charismatic megafauna, as we say in the Zoo and Aquarium trade and they are spawning a whole slew of techniques, equipment and related travel categories centered around catching them.

Everybody seems to be talking about shark fishing.

So imagine my surprise the other day when I turned on the radio and came in on the middle of an interview with one of the survivors of the U.S.S. Indianapolis.

Suddenly all of the giddy delight about sharks and shark fishing and catalogs with new gear and package deals and such all fell by the wayside and I was taken back to that long forgotten Friday night in the crowded theater watching Quint tell the story of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the fate of the men who served on her.

In the interview, Edgar Harrell, USMC related that out of the approximately 900 men that went into the water (out of a crew of 1196) at 1204 am August 1, 1945 he was one of ultimately just 317 survivors.

Just like Quint, he described the many horrors of being lost at sea. Only, when he recalled the terror of sharks attacking and killing scores of men during the four days that they drifted, helplessly at sea, you knew it was from the perspective of eyes that would never forget and that could still see those moments even if tightly shut.

After listening to his interview, I knew I had to get his book, Out of the Depths.

I did and I just finished reading it. It will make you proud of and grateful to the men and women who gave and are still giving their all for this country.

It is an unashamedly Christian book. If this bothers you, don’t read it. However, you must know that you will be missing out on one of the greatest stories of hope and survival you may ever have the privilege of reading.

Yes, it is a book about sharks, but it has a much, much greater message to tell and I can’t recommend it too highly.

Oh, and later this week, when July 31 and Aug 1 pop up on the calendar, take a moment to count your blessings and know that because of guys like Edgar Harrel and his shipmates and many, many others we have the freedom to engage in our favorite pastimes in one of the greatest countries on the planet.

I love this addiction called urban fly fishin’.

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