In this digital age, we love nothing more than documenting pretty much every aspect of our lives on social media in the form of photos.
Instagram is a particular favorite amongst young women. And somehow it has become standard practice to share incredibly mundane photos with our peers. For instance, pics of whatever we ate for dinner last night.
And while this sort of public oversharing has become socially acceptable; every now and then, it’s also nice to have a legitimate excuse to share our snaps with people. I mean, when you go on vacation, you can share a whole load of photos at the beach, in front of famous landmarks or of whatever it is you happen to do abroad.
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Like many young people, part-time model, Katarina Zarutskie loves sharing photos while on vacation. The 19-year-old college student is, in fact, a very dedicated blogger who user her Instagram to share her own personal travel and lifestyle tips with her 13,000 followers.
Zarutskie, who is currently studying international business and nursing at the University of Miami, explained in an interview with BuzzFeed News that the growth of her Instagram was very organic. “I love to travel and I’ve been blessed with many opportunities,” she said.
A few weeks ago, Zarutskie went on a trip to the Bahamas with her boyfriend and his family and managed to capture some particularly striking shots.
However, on one day of the trip, something pretty terrifying happened to the teenager. She had just finished eating lunch when she found herself near a spot where a number of nurse sharks were swimming.
According to Zarutskie, there were several people swimming around with the sharks in that same pool. She was, therefore, intent on jumping in and getting her own photo with the creatures.
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“Nurse sharks are calm creatures,” she said, adding that she’d seen Instagram pictures of other people swimming alongside them “so many times before.”
In the Bahamas, the prospect of swimming with nurse sharks is a very popular tourist attraction and they are usually “harmless to humans,” according to Exuma Online, a site which encourages tourist to visit the Bahamas’ Exuma district. The site goes on to describe the swim a “once in a lifetime adventure!”
“Compass Cay, which is in the northern Exuma chain, is a popular destination for tour boat operators that allows guests to swim with and feed nurse sharks,” the official Bahamas tourism website noted.
In spite of all the reassurance Zarutskie was given over the activity, her boyfriend’s family remained slightly concerned.
Regardless of their skepticism, Zarutskie knew she couldn’t pass up this incredible opportunity. So she went into the pool.
Completely assured of her safety, the 19-year-old simply laid her head back and relaxed. Unfortunately, the swim wasn’t as harmless as she was led to believe.
“I leaned back, and then that shark he came and he bit down on my arm and pulled me under,” she explained.
Instead of freaking out, Zarutskie said she remained calm and pulled her arm out of the water to stop the blood from dripping in and attracting more sharks.
Despite the alarming situation she had found herself in, Zarutskie refrained from panicking. She tried to remain calm and composed while she pulled her arm out of the water in a bid to stop the blood attracting even more sharks.
Although Zarutskie was terrified on the inside, she knew she had to keep her fear under wraps in order to prevent any further danger. When she emerged from the water, bleeding arm and all, she was glad to see that the nurse shark had not bitten her anywhere else. “I am lucky to have my hand,” she said.
Zarutskie knows she is “very, very blessed and fortunate” that she had not sustained any serious injuries. “It was a testament to how calm I stayed,” she said.
Some weeks later and Zarutskie is still recovering from the bite. She also explained that she take several antibiotics in case the shark had exposed her to any harmful bacteria.
Zarutskie recounted the incident on her Instagram page on Monday. And considering online hate is pretty much an epidemic at this point, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that the haters came flooding in. They told her she was unfairly blaming the shark but she insisted she “love[s] sharks and I’m not throwing them under the bus.”
Zarutskie is well aware that the sharks were not in the wrong. “They are wild animals and it’s an uncontrollable situation,” she said, adding that the encounter had been a “big learning lesson.”
She also warned anyone who is considering swimming with sharks to make sure they are fully aware of all the risks. “I would recommend people to do it but be smart about it,” she said. “You are in their home.”
It’s pretty wise advice. I mean, she clearly knows what she’s talking about – she still has the bite mark to prove it!