The Sharkman meets Charlott “The Goblin Girl” Stenberg

Hello Goblin Girl, welcome to Sharkman’s World

Charlott: Thank you Alex. I love to be here.

Sharkman: How long have you been interested in sharks?

Charlott: As long as I can remember!  When I was four I was listening to a story about the hen and the chickens, together with my later-to-be class mates. My parents saw that I was looking very bored. As soon as the teacher reading the story got quiet, I raised my voice and said, really loud, “In Australia there are sharks and whales”. Growing up in the north of Sweden with just long winters and snow, my young friends looked really puzzled. My parents remember me talking about sharks at the age of two or three, but my aunt goes even further and claims “haj” (= shark in Swedish) was the first word I ever said.

Sharkman: How did this interest start?

Charlott: I saw Ron and Valerie Taylor on TV, “swimming in the mouth” of a Whale shark. I looked for sharks in books at home (from among others Hans Hass 1919-2013) and the National Geographic. I heard about “Jaws” (and later, saw it on video). That I could scare my older sister with pictures of grinning Great White sharks didn’t make my interest less.

Sharkman: In what way is your work related to sharks?

Charlott: I chose to become a marine biologist because of sharks. Unfortunately shark research is a non existent topic in Sweden. I’ve done my best to work with sharks by doing my Masters thesis on Piked Dogfish (Squalus acanthias) but right now I’m stuck with invertebrates and bony fish at work.

Sharkman: Is this the work that you want to do?

Charlott: Not really. I would like to continue and do a Ph.D. on the Piked Dogfish. For example, discover where they go when they disappear from the Swedish coast in late winter. I would also like to work more with conservation. Although shark fishing is not that big in Sweden, we know too little to just ignore the impact it might have on the different shark populations. Another thing I would like to do is have a really good shark shop! I just love books and funny shark things.

Sharkman: Have you ever dived with sharks

Charlott: Nope. I’ve been to South Africa in 1995 with the WSRI, but Natal Shark Board tested their Shark Pod in our chum slick (and it worked!) so there were not so many sharks around our boat. The few that were around were too scared to stay when we entered the cage.

Sharkman: That was when you got a beauty title. Please tell us about it.

Charlott: Well, a “large” part of the day on the expedition was to clean the boat after every day out at sea. If you don’t do that the boat will be very stinky from all the chum after a while. But you can’t give me a hose and think that I will only use it to clean the boat. I used it on my fellow expedition members who paid me back by pouring a litre of chum over me. So I became “The Miss Wet Chum T-shirt”.

Sharkman: Which is your favourite shark, and why?

Charlott: My favourite is the Goblin Shark (Mitsukurina owstoni) because it’s pink, cute and mysterious – just like me! We have the same kind of personality – we don’t look like anyone else.

Sharkman: Is that why you had it tattooed on your leg?

Charlott: Yes that is why I made a Goblin. When I tell all my friends that I got a tattoo in Malta, they all guess that it is a shark (strange), but they can’t guess which species. When I tell them, they don’t know what a Goblin shark looks like, but now I can always show them. Very handy!

Sharkman: You mean very leggy… 🙂
Which is “The Most Memorable Moment in your Career”?

Charlott: Meeting Sharkman 🙂 Well, seeing my first Great White sure was memorable. I wanted to jump into the sea and hug it! But hopefully there will be much more to come in the future.

Sharkman: What are your dreams?

Charlott: See a live Goblin shark, and do research on them. Dive with Whale sharks (and Mantas) at, for example, Ningaloo Reef. I want to dive with all kinds of sharks, and hug them …

Sharkman: What is your opinion of Malta?

Charlott: The best place to be because that is where Sharkman’s domain is … 🙂 and a great place to be in early June since it’s not too warm then. Very nice and friendly people and easy to make oneself understood since nearly everyone speaks English. Good diving, especially for an inexperienced mudskipper like me – no big corals that I can destroy when I have problems with my buoyancy.

And they have The One and Only Sharkman, which means you can even dance underwater and the conversation in the evenings is great because it’s all about sharks!

Sharkman: Anything else you would like to add ?

Charlott: To all my friends and relatives that have asked me about it. “No, you cannot get too many sharky things!” Don’t you agree with me on that Alex? Hope to see you soon! We have to dance under water again.

Sharkman: Very True. The more stuff I get, the more I want.

Thank you Charlott. It was a pleasure to meet you here in Sharkman’s World.

The Goblin Girl and The Sharkman

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