Monday, May 18, 2009

FYoS - Great Job by Stanley!

I'm indebted to Stan.

Stanley Simpson is Fiji's up-and-coming young media star and he's been behind the Fiji Shark Conservation and Awareness Project all the way from its inception.

First, he published a very cool and very pro-Shark spread in the January issue of Fiji's premier lifestyle magazine, Mai Life. In February, he then approached us with the idea of a Shark special on Fiji's first private TV channel, MaiTV where he hosts his show Simpson@Seven.
Stan prides himself on his thorough research and investigative Journalism and after having seen what he had done in the magazine, we were more than glad to extend an invitation to come and experience our dive. Timing was particularly fortuitous as Ron and Valerie were just visiting and very graciously accepted to sit down for an interview.

This is now the result and all I can say is Well done Stan, I'm impressed!
Not only because he insisted on coming personally despite being a diving newbie and despite his good old-fashioned Fijian galeophobia (yes that would be the correct medical term!). But what really impressed the hell out of me is how he has managed to highlight the topic from various angles and avoid any sensationalism whilst still conveying a sense of adventure, awe and excitement. Being the one with the big mouth, any factual, or errors in "messaging" are mine, not his.

That's clearly a testament to his maturity and to his professionalism - but it's also a testament to Fiji, a Country where people have lived with and revered Sharks since time immemorial and where the Ocean with its beauty and its hazards is just a fact of life and Sharks are not subjected to the hysteria that is so prevalent in our Kaivailangi culture.
In fact, local lore has it that Shark attacks are merely Dakuwaqa's inevitable, and just punishment for some misdeed by the victim and consequently, they barely make the news and certainly don't deter the villagers from going to the beach.

Now, about "that" footage.
I've shot it in 2007 and blogged about it shortly thereafter. And I stand by what I said then, that it depicts an act of reckless showmanship and that it will remain a one-off - which it has.

Rusi took the decision on the spur of the moment on a particularly mellow dive (see, she's completely relaxed and doesn't even deploy the nictitating membrane - if at all, she looks mightily surprised) and I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Don't get me wrong - it's not an excuse, it's just what happened on that dive.
Still, those are really unique images and for us in the know, they showcase Rusi's unparalleled Shark handling skills and the special relationship he has developed with our biggest and friendliest Tiger Shark Scarface.

But once again: this is a big no-no and pretty darn stupid on top of it - please, do not try this at home!

Having said this: Enjoy!









9 comments:

(Tiger)Lily said...

Nice! Great dive operation, great crew, great sharks - and great journalism! : ) Go Fiji!

Felix Leander said...

She is gorgeous - and seems to be very gentle. Evident how carefully she takes the fish from the divers mouth...

DaShark said...

Yup, we love her to death and every day she turns up is a very special day indeed!

Shark Diver said...

Jesus - how did I MISS THIS!?

This is fantastic, well done. May I add this to my blog?

DaShark said...

I guess you must have been busy doing "things"? Again, congrats!

By all means, feel free to take it wherever you want!

The Sharkman said...

Can't wait to get there...... counting the days to meet you guys and the sharks.

Tell Scarface I am coming.

;-)

DaShark said...

Fear not - she always turns up to welcome the VIPs!

Tafazul Gani said...

Managed to meet Scarface last weekend. It was my first sharkdive and shes a beauty. Diving with them changes all your previous feelings about them. They are just majestic.

DaShark said...

Aren't they!

I'm particularly happy to see that you hail from Fiji!
People like you are the best ambassadors for eventually achieving full protection for our Sharks.

Thank you for your testimony Tafazul, much appreciated!