Dirty Jobs Recap: Jobs that Bite

Off the coast of South Africa you will find the most dangerous types of sharks, so that is naturally where our intrepid host Mike has gone to find himself some sharks in this opening to Shark Week.

Shark Cage Inspector. The first segment of the show finds Mike on a boat with some folks who take people on trips so that they can dive with sharks. Really, people do this. Both people that go in cages and people that take other people to do this.

So first they go offshore, where they find a really dirty island, covered by thousands of seals (and their poo - it had to be in there somewhere, right?). Next they cut up some fish and start to attract some sharks. Finally they lower the cage into the water, along with Mike, and he gets a close-up encounter with some of these beasts. We even get to hear him in the process, but I have to say that it loses a bit of his trademark voice, so it's not as good as it could have been.

Shark Autopsy Technician. Ever since Dirty Jobs first aired, it's shown Whale Autopsy Technician as one of the jobs in the opening. At this point, I've seen every job in every show that's aired, and I haven't seen that yet. So it's good that they at least showed this one - because it's close, right?

Mike gets up close and personal with a dead shark, and he cuts it open, removes the liver (Did you know a shark's liver makes up some 25% of it's body weight? I had no idea), then it's other organs, and it's not a pretty job by any means. But it is interesting.

Shark Tagger. You may be thinking we saw this job already, back in the Chinatown Garbage Collector episode, but that was actually Shark Catcher/Tagger, and there's no catching here. The sharks are way too big and much too deadly. They do tag them twice, with two different tags, and they also collect DNA samples. So it's a bit more challenging.

Shark Repellent Researcher. It's off to Bimini and another stint with a dead shark, where Mike can use his autopsy knowledge to dissect a somewhat smaller shark into chunks, which are then put through a strange looking device (allegedly bought off of eBay) that allows the creation of shark repellent grenades.

These grenades, when tossed into the water, supposedly make sharks scatter because they contain some sort of, well, something, that causes the other sharks to take off. So after distilling the rotting shark meat into concentrated form and creating some grenades, then taking some target practice at the cameraman, they rile up some sharks and test it out. What do you know - it seems to work really, really well.

Shark Spotter. Back in South Africa, we hear a story of a swimmer who was eaten by a Great White. So they created a new job: Someone who sits on a cliff with a pair of binoculars and watches for sharks to come into the bay. When they see one, they sound an alarm, which presumably gives people time to get out of the water and not get eaten. An odd little job to be sure, but an important one.

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