Friday, July 03, 2015

Rusi - a Tribute.

Thank you David.

This has actually brought tears to my eyes.
Unquestionably the world's most accomplished Shark feeder, Rusi did it because it gave him intense joy and not because of some desire for recognition and fame, to the point that he was most certainly entirely unaware of his global celebrity status, and of the admiration and respect he commanded.

A humble, highly reserved and ultimately shy man, he would only ever engage with a few select people he respected like Valerie or Cristina, and nearly never sit for interviews.
This interview may well be his very last, recorded in 2012 when David was here to shoot OSAM.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Pacific Harbour - excellent!

Unforgettable - rafting the Upper Navua with Rivers Fiji.


Have a look at this.
Pacific Harbour has been dubbed the Adventure Capital of Fiji, and these are the principal providers of adventures, from shark diving all the way to game fishing to kayaking to jungle skirmishes and the like.

And it looks like our clients love what we do.
Pretty much out of the blue, eight of us have been notified by TripAdvisor that we were winners of a Certificate of Excellence for consistently receiving excellent reviews. First in the lineup, and this very much deservedly, remain our friends of Rivers Fiji who continue to shine with an excellent product that we strongly recommend to our divers - so kudos for yet another year of primacy owing to great customer service and consistently high client satisfaction!

Cocky Tiger in the Bahamas!

Just got this e-mail from El Diego.
Have you seen this?
The Tiger could try that with Nica, Monica or Blunt and see how it goes hahaha.
Or Chica!
She came back yesterday after a three-week hiatus whith the obvious urge to reassert her dominance around the suspended bin - and reassert it she did, to the point that for the first time, we were able to witness a targeted attack by a Bull Shark on a conspecific that had the bad idea to barge in and try and steal a Tuna head! Our big Fiji Bulls are nothing (!) like those Bahamian Sardines - and we got the science to prove it!

Anyway, interesting video.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Cristina and Caribbean Reefie!

Just saw this.

This is why I totally respect Cristina.
This is also why when it comes to those interactions, I do give her a pass: like I've said before, this appears to be completely voluntary insofar as the Sharks appear to actively seek her out  for a friendly rub, and this irrespective of any food rewards - and again, no, this is not the dreaded tonic immobility but something else that is totally amazing and intriguing!
By the same token, there are now so many copycats that the once unique and equally amazing posing with vertical Sharks has degraded to a rather gratuitous circus stunt, meaning that it would probably be best to gradually phase it out.

Anyway, this continues to amaze me.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Rusi, back then.

Happier days - picture by his friend Cristina, with kind permission.

This was in 2009.

Alex and Ila had proclaimed the International Year of the Shark, and we decided to roll it out across Fiji in a series of various initiatives under the Fiji Shark Conservation and Awareness Project.

This is a PSA we ran on local television.
Although this is not his voice, it was entirely Rusi's brain child - and I will never forget how seeing the finished product drove tears to his eyes.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Squid giving Birth - amazing Video!

Story here, article here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rusiate Balenagasau 1960-2015

I've just received the tragic news of the passing of my friend and dive buddy Rusi, the man in the yellow hood. A gentle and humble man, he loved and understood his sharks like no other.

May you dive in endless seas filled with friendly sharks.

David here.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Michael - telling it like it is!

Well done!

I must say that I'm impressed.
Following the tragic Shark strikes in North Carolina, Michael Domeier is warning Californians about the growing population of GWS on their coast. So far this is good news as it means that protection measures are having the desired effect. And so far, those are juveniles and small subadults, and thus rather harmless  - but one day those Sharks will reach an age where they will gradually switch to larger prey, meaning that the risk of predatory attacks on humans will undoubtedly increase.
This is of course totally in line with the recent statements by Burgess - and once again bravo to Michael for having the guts to tell it like it is!

And yes, I've, gasp, deliberately used the dreaded A word!
This is an Shark attack.

And like I would do in the case of a Cat, or Lion, or Croc, I call it an attack because there is definitely no confusion and there is definitely intent - which in this specific situation is both totally understandable and perfectly fine!

The strikes in North Carolina?
Dunno and that's why I call them strikes - but by the same token, what makes Mr. Barrington state that the assumed Bull Sharks more than likely mistook those kids for Fish? Does he really believe that a Bull Shark is too dumb to discern the difference between snapping at a Fish and severing a human limb - or may this possibly be yet another misguided attempt at PR rehabilitation a la Neff and Hueter?

Seriously, could we please stop with the stupid whitewashing?
Can we please let Sharks be Sharks, meaning that we got to accept that some species are large predators that will from time to time both target and unless disturbed, consume a human? And that many of them will intentionally bite when molested? This makes them neither bad nor good but simply describes what they are = large predators that have every bloody right to predate, and complex animals with a broad array of behaviors among which aggression!
We don't blink an eye about properly describing the equally rare predatory attacks by the Big Cats, Bears and Reptiles - so why this obsession of trying to exculpate Sharks by coming up with lame excuses and trying to introduce politically correct lingo?

Which brings me to this further comment by Michael.
Spot on! Read the testimony, and read this further account, and even the most rabid Shark hugging apologist should clearly discern that this was most definitely a predatory attack - curiosity and testing with their mouth because they got no hands, yada yada, my ass!
Same old same old - especially the pronouncements by the increasingly irritating Neff! This nonsense fatally reminds me of someone else - and we all know how that one ended!

Anyway, having asked, Doc replies
In an article I write way back in the eighties, for Naval Research Reviews entitled why do sharks bite humans, I made it perfectly clear that some sharks actually consider humans as legitimate prey. We all know which ones these are.
I say, the serial breathy couch farting and ultracrepidarianism are bad enough - but misrepresenting Doc is just simply unacceptable!

But enough of that.
Good to see that some within the research community are finally speaking up against the creeping Dolphinization of Sharks. They are certainly not monsters - but by the same token, some of them can be extremely dangerous and need to be treated with the utmost respect and circumspection.
Nothing to do with those recent tragic events mind you - when humans and Sharks share the same space, these things are unfortunately bound to happen. But if we ever want to succeed in mitigating the consequences of this increasingly uneasy cohabitation, we must address all sides of the issue: ever more people encroaching into Shark habitat but also, in some places, more Sharks - some of which will sometimes regard people as food!