Traveling is all about adventure. Some people enjoy mountain climbing; others, swimming with the sharks. Do your palms get sweaty just thinking about being in close proximity to a strong, hungry shark? Don’t worry! The hungry shark of Marathon, Florida, won’t bite you. He can’t bite you.
Barry Gaukel and his wife, Lori, had admired him for several years. The shark photo-op had been parked at a boat trailer repair company in Big Coppitt Key. The photo-op illustrated a big, toothy shark blasting through a blue wave. Inside the shark’s head were stairs. Travelers would climb the stairs and pose for fun snapshots inside his toothy grin.
It’s unknown how many people have had their photo taken with the shark, because it is not even known where he actually came from. According to Lori, the shark had been parked at the trailer business for around 18 years. The owner of the business told Barry and Lori that an individual had dropped off the shark in order to have his trailer repaired – but whoever it was, they never came back to get him.
Over the years, this dismayed Lori. She said people would throw their garbage into his mouth. She and her husband approached the owner of the trailer business, but he was unwilling to sell the photo-op.
In the meantime, the Gaukels opened their own art gallery in Marathon Key in 2017. Shortly after their opening, Lori received a phone call out of the blue: the owner of the boat trailer repair shop was closing his doors – and the hungry shark was for sale. She and Barry immediately drove the more than 50 miles one way to pick up the shark that they have affectionately named Nibbles. He arrived at their art gallery on July 12, 2017.
You can find Nibbles outside of the Shady Palm Gallery at 2888 Overseas Hwy, in Marathon. You’ll find him near the intersection of southbound US Hwy 1 and 29th Street.
Admission is free.
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