Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Everest?

Fantastic pic by Chip Scarlett - taken from within the cage!

Told you so!

Amos never disappoints: he has broken his word and taken clients cageless - and some idiotic operator has once again succumbed to the temptation and aided and abetted this reckless stupidity.

This is a blatant violation of the regulations for Guadalupe issued by the Mexican authorities that once again endangers the future of commercial Shark diving in that location.

Will the other Shark diving operators finally man up, state an example and ensure that the enabler is put out of business? Will they tell Amos to take a hike? Or will they now attempt to one-up the other guy and partake in this latest debacle for the global Shark diving industry?
Guys - this is the time to show some vision and some leadership!

Not having ever dived with them, I know very little about Great Whites.
People in the know tell me that it is certainly possible to go cageless with them, and many of them have. They however also warn me that one must be extremely cautious and ever vigilant, as some individual Sharks come across as being dangerous and clearly convey the impression that they regard the divers as potential prey - something I have never observed when diving with the equally notorious Bulls and Tigers.
Does anybody really believe that using a pokey stick if one of those animals ever commits to an outright attack is gonna work? Ever seen the raw power of a GW breaching after a seal?

With that in mind, offering cageless commercial dives with Great Whites is a fool's bet.
If something happens - and let there never be a doubt that it will and it's going to be fatal: how, exactly, will the guilty operator justify deviating from what are the globally accepted practices of conducting commercial dives with this species?

This is Amos' own description of his "feat" (sic).

...after a week of diving with Great White sharks...contrary to public opinion, due to total misunderstanding, lack of knowledge and simply the public willing to believe anything on TV and in the Movies - these sharks were...acceptable of our present in their own domain and only curious in us swimming with them in open water...every breath we take and blow bobbles the shark was turning away...

We have achieved that level of extraordinary success due to the fact that we have used our intelligent rather that get carried away by common practices. We chummed the water to limited extend. I taken the time and introduce only one person at the time and I had a safety diver with us at all time...I had limited team of only seven divers and full five days on site...we were lucky also in having perfect calm and sunny seven days...

I have introduce seven guests to this amazing, second of this kind experience in the world - "the Everest of diving" and they are all elated as they got to experience their life dream more than once...my guests gained respect and admiration for the animal rather than fear.

They also now joint me and being the ambassadors of the BigAnimlas
expressing their first hand experience rather than the dramatic, false portrait and sensational reportage on Discovery and other TV documentaries...the wilderness deserve positive and supportive news in order to increase awareness and protection for what ever left on our planet - what we have left is still fantastic and worth while saving...

...and more blah blah rah rah of that kind.
Trust the man to start marketing his product whilst Still at the San Diego airport on my way home... !

The thing that pisses me off is that by sending around his pseudo-eco-conservation marketing spiel, he creates false expectations among the public.
Now that the dam has been broken, the operators will be swamped by request from what are little more than foolish thrill seekers aiming to climb to the top of a stupid ranking of adrenaline rushes.
This is not about loving Sharks, this is not about dispelling myths, this is not about creating awareness, this is not about Shark conservation, this is not even about capturing better images: this is only about satisfying one's ego and having something to brag about at home. The more as they will be able to unequivocally elevate themselves above the plebs by paying extra - whilst Amos is laughing all they way to the bank!
This is not the Everest, it's the peak of stupidity!

Already, one blog out there has taken the bait hook-line-and-sinker, a fact that I find particularly irritating as the man is clearly no fool and on top of that, much loved and respected.
What he just refuses to understand is that his emotional outbursts ultimately harm the animals he loves. Extreme encounters enhance the risk of accidents and any such event reinforces the determination and the arguments of the Shark haters. I know that having been at the center of precisely such a controversy, he's acutely aware of the risks - so why is he continuing to make those statements in public? Qui s'excuse, s'accuse - and I'll leave it at that!

Yes, those big Sharks don't generally perceive us as prey - but from everything I've ever experienced, they certainly do not reciprocate our love and do not like being touched and even less, being abused as underwater scooters. Luckily for us, they seem to be quite tolerant - but not endlessly so! Yes I know, I'm repeating myself!
In fact, the so deceivingly languid Tigers very much resent being disturbed when they're seeking for food and are well known for reacting violently against anybody interfering with that process. Sometimes, they will warn you by gaping - and sometimes, they just won't. Trust me, I've seen it with my own eyes, more than once - and be assured that you'll never see it coming, experience or no experience!

My friend, do whatever you do - and enjoy!
But in the softest possible way: please, do it on the QT and stop talking about it!
It is indefensible and may embarrass or even harm the operator concerned - and it only emboldens the other side and the copycats that lack the experience, the knowledge and ultimately, the love.

Enough said.

PS Patric has just posted his take on Underwater Thrills.


66 comments:

Shark Diver said...

To say I am disgusted with Amos is an understatement.

He has gone over the line here and the blow back will be nasty.

I hope Amos is counting the change he made off that trip. He just sold his reputation as a safe, honest, expedition leader...very cheap.

The series of lies he told everyone is almost pathological.

I believe Amos is about to discover a lesson in New Media.

DaShark said...

Ya know, to me, this is so not about Amos!

He has a long track record and a well deserved reputation and what he did comes at no surprise whatsoever.

This post is about and industry that needs to finally engage in a modicum of self regulation and stop shooting itself in the foot with media hara-kiri.
Let there be no doubt that if we don't, others will - and it aint gonna be pretty!
In this particular case, one operator has blatantly violated the terms of his permit so taking him to task should be easy - or not?

This post is also about the pervasive trend, especially by the image hunters and thrill seekers, to try and push the envelope by asking for ever more dangerous direct interactions with macro predatory Sharks.

What particularly irritates me are the stupid, pseudo-scientific and pseudo conservation-minded arguments aimed at justifying that reckless and selfish pursuit of personal gratification.

Those big predatory Sharks are bloody dangerous - and yet, on nearly every dive, some yahoo will approach me and ask to be positioned closer to the "action" and try to lecture me about how the animals are being "misunderstood" and how he is assuming the risk of his actions.

The comparison is certainly deeply flawed as those Sharks are obviously much more tolerant of humans and don't primarily regard us as prey - but nobody in his right mind would ever ask for the same when it comes to the big terrestrial predators!

It's a matter of common sense - but above all, it's also a matter of respect.

This banalization of what used to be the absolute crowning of one's diving career and the all-pervasive trend to anthropomorphize animals that have nothing whatsoever in common with our own behavioral and emotional framework has created a whole new set of challenges that we as an industry must vigorously address by establishing adequate, and inflexible protocols and by educating our clients.

This is necessary from a business perspective as the inevitable incidents will kill the industry - but this is even more imperative from a conservation pint of view as any such event will embolden and empower the Shark haters and Shark killers.

Shark Diver said...

I agree,once again. Amos is a fringe symptom of an entire industry.

Like a foul smell, you know something is "Rotten in Denmark."

As an underwater photog I have been impressed with his images.

As an ego centric and now confirmed bald faced industry liar, I am not sure he should be the one to lead commercial shark trips to well known destinations with multiple embedded users.

Clearly his priorities are not the sharks.

Money,fame,and ego are Amos Nochoums "Three Horsemen of the coming Sharkapocalypse."

What gives Amos the right to put an entire BioSphere in jeopardy?

Nothing, yet to hear him tell it, he has just completed "The Everest of diving."

Hardly. He got lucky with a few divers foolish enough to follow him into unknown waters with animals he's had limited time with.

As for safety. Let us see if the now infamous "Shark Everest guide" used a speargun or not, we know he did last year.

DaShark said...

...as in being quite prepared to hurt a Shark within a Marine Protected Area in order to accommodate a bunch of thrill seeking yahoos who shouldn't be there in the first place!

If so, what does that tell you about the operator - talk about revealing, huh!
Lemme know what transpires!

Wolfgang Leander said...

Hi Guys:

I can see your points - they are valid, no questions about that.

However, why not let a few experienced freedivers do "it" once? World champion Fred buyle has done it, and he told me he was absolutely impressed by the serenity of the GW's. He did not have a speargun with him, just a small camera with no flash-lights, and felt safe in their presence.

I have talked to many South African spearos who had frequent encounters with the whites while spearfishing. They told me the same.

As you, Mike, are quite comfortable with large bulls and huge tigers, vilified as the "most dangerous" sharks along with the whites, I am convinced that others will feel the same diving with whites.

Now, the circumstances have to be right, i.e. clear water, an experienced buddy, chum OK but not freshly speared fish, and not more than 2 max 3 whiteys around at the same time to be able to keep an eye on them at all times

15 years ago nobody in his right mind would have dived cageless with large (12-14 ft) tigers. Those of us who have done it know that it is not a big deal at all.

One day, when we know these "bloody dangerous" sharks better from first hand diving experience with them, we will probably feel pretty much the way we feel about diving with tigers and bulls.

You guys know very well that the concept of the unpredictability of sharks it bull-shit. Those who still believe that old myth have no clue of shark behavior and shark intelligence. Sharks are perfectly predicatble - much more than humans....

As far as I am concerned: I do want to freedive with whites, and will do so early next year in South Africa with Andre Hartmann and a good common friend.

I have been a shark fanatic for over 50 years, and I believe I deserve this ultimate experience - NOT because I want to brag about swimming with whites "unprotected" (my ego is well developed, meaning that I don't have to inflate it).

I don't know Amos Nachoum, and next to nothing about him, so I cannot comment on him.

Patric, c'mon - let us meet the whites of Guadalupe 'cageless'; I am sure we will both be absolutely thrilled AND surprised how wrong we all are to cnnsider these animals 'extremely dangerous'.

Again, the conditions have to be right, and that is something you can only determine being on the spot.

Mike, you should come along! In the evenings we could talk about our professional lives, and how banking has undergone radical changes in the past 10 years or so... :-)

Take care, buddies.

DaWolf

DaShark said...

(:

Thank you Wolf - as always, you're a gentleman and a true Mensch!

Enjoy!
Andre' sure is the best possible partner and I wish you success and above all, heaps of fun!
And - keep it QT!

Lupe is of course out of the question, at least for me - for all of the above reasons, and more!
Plus, you just gotta respect the wishes of the host country and the protocols of the MPA!

Anyway, Hals & Beinbruch!

PS as to how "comfy" I feel: I don't, ever! I would rather call it "assertive wariness" ! (:

But I've learned to judge the situation and act accordingly.
Most of the time, it's about not getting intimidated and standing your ground as we experience a lot of dominance-related posturing - but sometimes, we're being told to leave and will do so!

Amos said...

Part I of II
...when member of your coalition i.e. other Great white shark operators in Guadalupe...early this season taking people out of the cage like in the Nautilus placing guests on top of the submerge cage to view great white sharks in open water as well as publish it in their online promotional newsletter...and Solmar V with Lawrence lead a TV team with several free divers to swim openly with the same sharks - i am wondering if you treat them with the same amount of love, tender and etc...

Please explain to all your devoted readers the real value - ecological, environmental and research wise - in chumming recklessly and baiting for sharks to come close to your crowded cages - you guys are at best aggravating the shark and cause them to exhibit a behavior which is far from normality and or reality - these actions has no value what so ever but to drum business i.e. profit - in the process creating mostly wrong perception of this wildlife among the good hearted clients. This is purely entertainment not study and eduction of shark behavior

Indeed shark are wildlife and unpredictable - the facts are that several reliable and responsible operators including myself lead out of the cage activity for one reason or another - no accident have happened and no aggression by shark toward open water diver been reported. this is news worth having.

There is already president in South Africa - for Cage diving operators who are living in peace with Andre Hartmann and Michael Rutzen who have conducting for years out of the cage operation without such negativity and desire to ban the activity all together as you expressing it - on what basis???? what if????? throwing and spreading fear all around is not method and foundations by which this country was built on and arrived to such highs on all levels.

Indeed there is an issue that we all have to address - that untrained diver or not qualified will attempt in doing so - it is our responsibility to govern and to avoid. No private person really can get to Guadalupe without joining one of the current operators - Nautilus already provide this option of out of the cage.... Solmar V and Lawrence do that but on selective basis for the one who pay the most the - TV production. Each one of the operators already create policy that engage in open water or not. There will handful of people i.e. paying guests that will be interested. It is up to Mike, Lawrence, you, me and others to have a guidelines that accept of deny this option to un qualified person.

We can work together rather than against each other how to make it acceptable and safe for everyone including the shark and the research...

Amos said...

Part II

Unqualified people get to buy guns, get married, raise kids, drive fast and expensive cars, walking in Bear country and so on - there are more death results from all these activities and none from shark diving.

There are a lot of "what if" scenarios can be woven around this subject - lets deal with the facts and the real record rather than stipulation.

Amazingly enough the European diving industry and travel market reacted positively to open water diving with shark from South Africa at first and now from Mexico. Europe and South Africa business reaction is much more matured, measured, responsible and accountable. And look at the fact - NO INJURY AND NO LIMITATION IN SHARK BUSINESS - Please take care of your business and I take care of mine.

We all can learn from each other and I am encouraged by the example from South Africa and from the European market place.

Indeed pushing the envelop has its limitation and risks. I am aware and prepare for them. Matter of fact I have illustrated clearly in the open how it was done - there is a lot of consideration and careful planing. Matter of fact the main reason that diving in open water with Great White is possible (and no accident) is only because it is done under strict guidelines that I have created and observation. I apply exactly the opposite method of operation to the attract shark to the cage in comparison of the common one - the common action is attracting the shark by chumming and baiting...we do not bait and apply limited chumming. Our operation proof clearly that when there is no stimulus in the water i.e chumming - the shark act and behave peacefully and relax which is its normal being and totally different from the one around the cages when they are teased with chum and bait. While underwater swimming there is no aggression, or jaw gupping, sudden change in swimming direction and etc...

What kind of society we are going to have if we stop from reaching further out and do only what is safe no matter if it right or wrong? how safe is it to drive a Smart car when the road are filled with SUVs? where do we have most accidents and death underwater with sharks or on the road????

All of us - whether we are photographers, artists, travel agents or shark tour operators, must collaborate if we are to keep democracy, education and conservation on its feet and walking, reaching new and better understanding of the wildlife we share the ocean with.

Amos

Amos said...

...for the fear generating writer - I have never used spear guns and nor my dive master simply a stick - and never will use one.

Who ever wrote that he knows - he know nothing about my operation - most of what is written is based on speculation and on observation behind the cage - of course you will need a cage when you participate in teasing the animals - what is chumming and baiting after all...

Amos

Anonymous said...

I am wondering why Mr Shark Diver is so negative about this subject?
If he is THE professional shark diver he clams it seems he would have ample knowledge to work with the other experts to make this incredibly safe and possible for the divers that deserve such an experience?
Reading Amos's comments and Mr. Leander's comments (who both seem very calm and knowledgable on the subject)They offer good suggestions. Amos's dives sound like they were very well managed. Safety,excellent visability and low numbers with experienced divers. If the whites aren't feeding on seals and are calmly swiming it seems there is a good chance to observe them.
I also don't hear Mr. Shark Diver critisizing Jean Cousteau for swimming with the Great Whites in South Africa. To me it seems like he is just attacking Mr Amos?
If people can drive freely among the great lions of Africa in open vehicles safely, I do believe experienced divers can safely swim with the whites under safe conditions only!!!

Jupp Kerckerinck said...

Wow, wow and wow, what kind of a tone am I reading in these posts. It is not necessary to talk like that about a competitor, or is it? I have been with Amos and I had a wonderful time. We went down in the cage and then got out when the situation was right. The sharks did not seem to mind and at no time was there a situation where anybody was in any danger. There was no spear gun with us at any time, just Amos and a safety diver, both with a lot of expertise. I have really enjoyed this experience. Amos proved to be experienced and very strict. He runs a tight ship. If somebody who does not even want to give his name, wants to call me a "thrill seeking yahoo", so what? I couldn't care less. Bashing Amos because he is doing things differently is wrong. Talking about regulations and words like "justifying that reckless and selfish pursuit of personal gratification" sounds pretty weird in my humble opinion. As far as I can tell, and, contrary to others, I have been there, the dives with Amos were a wonderful experience and I will do it again next year.
Who in the world can stop me from jumping into the blue ocean and swim with any kind of shark I want to swim with? So let's cool the rhetoric and stop calling people names and let us not make the same mistake as so many in the "shark preservation community" and hate one another and make others look bad. Nobody is forced to go outside the cage. Let's just leave it alone and let everybody do whatever he thinks is the right thing to do. I was there, I know how it went.

Shark Diver said...

We parted ways with Amos when he asked a random woman he met on a regional flight this summer to join him cageless at Isla Guadalupe. He did not know her, or her dive history, yet felt compelled to invite her.

Amos is a liar. Full stop.

http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/07/breaking-news-amos-nachoum-will-not-be.html

He lied about not going cageless, he lies about safety protocols. Does anyone believe the man anymore?

The woman in question? PADI open water with about 60 hours of dive time.

So much for shark safety.

We think it had something to do with the $5700 Amos charges for his vaulted "Everest shark diving adventures."

By the way in case Amos forgot to mention it and we know he did.

The man has a grand total (including this season) of 6 full days on site with these animals.

6 days, the last time Amos had even seen these sharks was 365 days ago and it was for three days and now he's taking divers out of shark cages as local "shark expert" for $5700 USD!

A shark expert who does not even know the local sharks names or sizes.

Mr.Anonymous (Amos) are you still with us?

Shark Diver said...

Jupp I have a great and lasting respect for you, I believe we introduced you to these animals many years ago at this same site.

My issue is about lying. Full stop.

Amos lied to everyone regionally about who he was, what his motives were, and what he was doing out there.

http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/07/breaking-news-amos-nachoum-will-not-be.html

So what do we do now?

Amos said...

...if your coalition people adhere to the same rules and regulation I would too...no double standards.

As for the women with 60 dives - You are too far and removed to know the real exchange and my method of accepting divers on my trip - please ask those who reply to you and have been with me - they will tell you rather than me the steps I ask them to do at home? before I have accepted them and their application.

The testing have not ended here it continue before each dive too...in fact we are all safe and some of them are here to testify...the truth rather than spread speculation and call each other names...

Shark Diver said...

Sorry Amos,

As a confirmed "bald faced industry liar" who puts profits ahead of safety and truth I have to stop you right here.

Please explain this post to the world and why you skillfully lied to:

Greg Grivetto - Horizon Charters
Lawrence Groth - SDI
Patric Douglas - Shark Diver
Mike Lever - NEX
and many others...

http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/07/breaking-news-amos-nachoum-will-not-be.html

Yes, Amos?

Please explain your $5700 per person idea of "Honor and Truth" and 10 year record for offering safe trips to divers all over the planet.

You are not an operator at this site, you even claim some sharks are 15 feet in length when everyone who spends enough time here knows they are only 11 feet in length.

Seems like a small point, but the people you tell you are a "shark expert" to might want to know such trivial details.

Oh, that's right, your total time with these same animals amounts to 6 days!

You sir, do not know much, you do know how to lie, that much we know.

So Let's start with the BIG LIE of 2009.

"Breaking News: Amos Nachoum will not be offering cageless dive encounters Isla Guadalupe".

Amos said...

...shall we continue - is the rules are for everyone the same? Your coalition people change their mind or shall we say continue their own doing...

As long as no one offer out of the cage - you will not see that - I was fully behind my word matter of fact I stopped selling the trip at that time - as soon as the season started and other did out of the cage operation despite you...and advertise that - the option open too...what is good for one shall be good for everyone - do not single me out! No double standard.

The length of one shark was my mistake and I have corrected it - and you guys can not see the different between a stick to a spear gun - that is all nonsense and petty.

Lets you, and the other go out and do it, out of the cage in my style and see the reality of the thing rather than just blowing words back and forth.

DaShark said...

Hi Amos - thank you for your comment.

In many ways, I do agree with your viewpoint, and that of Wolfgang insofar as we may well come to the conclusion that GW are just another Shark and that it is possible to dive with them cageless.

Like you (we've actually briefly crossed paths in the Sinai at the time of the Sun Boat issue), I've pretty much witnessed the developments of commercial baited Shark diving from its inception.

There was Rodney's cage diving with GW and there were cageless dives with smaller reef Sharks.
It was, and continues to be a learning process by trial and error - and you and I know that countless divers got, and continue to be bitten in the process. The Sharks are small and luckily, so far, nobody has been fatally injured when that has happened.

Now the Industry has moved towards offering commercial dives with macro predatory Sharks - and the incidents continue to happen.
Due to the size and nature (they are not strictly piscivorous) of those bigger Sharks, the bites are far more devastating and two clients have already died as a consequence. I believe that one was an accident and the other one, an attack - but the consequences for the victims were the same.

As an operator offering encounters with two of the most notorious species, Bulls and Tigers, we're acutely aware of the potential risks and have tried to develop adequate protocols for the specific situation we're operating in, along with a framework of ethical imperatives, see http://fijisharkdiving.blogspot.com
/2008/12/quo-vadis-shark-diving.html and links.
You and I know that there's no absolute truth when doing so - so it's work in progress and we're always striving to learn and perfect what we're doing.

From what I can discern, at this very moment in time, the global protocol for diving with GW is to utilize cages.
Some extremely experienced and visionary individuals like Mike and Andre' are currently testing the limits of what can be done - but doing this COMMERCIALLY is certainly premature now and may still be reckless in the future.

You may be many things, many of them impressive - but you're clearly not in the same league, nor are you an operator.
You're a client and intermediary trying to establish a commercial niche by pushing the envelope and offering a product to a selected few at a premium price.
Good on 'ya for trying - but I neither like the circumstances nor do I buy the pro-nature marketing spiel, sorry.

My grievance lays with the operator.
He is breaking the accepted protocol for Guadalupe and blatantly violating the terms of his permit issued by the Mexican authorities.
If others do the same, they are to blame as well - as is JM Cousteau for having done what he did when he did it.

Jupp, somebody wrote me that you may be suffering from Stockholm Syndrome. Very funny!
I would have to concur with that assessment.

Shark Cage Dive said...

This is obviously a heated debate. But I feel that if ones actions puts the industry at risk then rather not do it.

Shark cage diving should grow as an industry and everyone should follow guidelines, but its not fair to an industry and the breadwinners of families who work in the industry is someone does something tat could have backlash for all!

Jupp Kerckerinck said...

Hello again, I hope nobody is getting a sore throat from all the patronizing and screaming foul about Amos. I can only say that I had a good time going out of the cage with him. He never lied to me and never did anything that was in any way dishonorable. He respected the sharks and the divers and for me it was a great experience.

Pat, I like you a lot and I respect you but I think it is not a good idea to be tough on Amos for doing what you are not doing. It does not take away from your business, or does it? About the lady on the plane, if she was good enough looking, I know a lot of people who would have offered her a trip to the moon, let's not take that kind of Small talk too seriously. Pat, I remember fondly my cage dives with you in 2003. As far as you and I are concerned, there are no hard feelings, just a difference of opinion.

I see things a little different with "DaShark". People who don't want to state their name are the same people who cannot look you in the eyes. It is a bit cowardly to hide behind a pseudonym and then patronize people about what they should do or not do. With Pat everybody knows that he is Shark Diver and sharkdiver.com but DaShark? Who the hell could that be?

DaShark, I don't know what the Stockholm syndrome is but I can tell you without knowing exactly who you are: I don't like you either. Take it easy Mike and stick to your guns. You are not in the position to tell others what to do.

Shark Diver said...

Jupp,

This is not about cageless or caged (for now) this is about Amos "lying for profit."

This is also about Amos carpetbagging a well known shark site he had no hand in developing, or building, or marketing and doing so with abject lies about who he is and what his abilities are.

He did not lie to you Jupp, YOU were his target and the $5900 you had in your wallet. It is easy to he honorable and semi truthful to those you seek money and fame from.

Amos knows this all to well.

The story about the random woman on the airline flight is true, and he did ask her to join him for $5900 cageless and yes, she has 60 hours PADI Open Water.

It was this same women who alerted me and others and who prompted the last phone call with Amos.

http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/07/breaking-news-amos-nachoum-will-not-be.html

Amos lied to every operator at this site, including me. He beat his breasts over the phone and cried that he was being "persecuted" and that "On his Honor" would never, with just three days actual experience with great whites at this site, take a group out of the cage with him.

This is not about caged vs cageless for me, it's about the measure of the man who lies so skillfully and is doing it now, again.

Jupp, the man is a con artists of the highest order. It is all too easy to run with the "let's all play fair defense" after the fact, after the money is in the bank.

Where was Amos when we had the safety concerns? When we called him, met him at DEMA face to face, shook his hand?

LYING Jupp, pretending to be someone he was not. Yelling that he knew more than anyone at this site, that HE and HE alone could do this but would not "on his honor" and his vast business experience with groups.

Does these kind of cheap lies translate into a safe operation?

I hope so. The fact that NO ONE would charter their operation to him over the past 5 years must tell you a thing or two.

The fact that Amos is now shredding these very operators behind their backs now he has been exposed as a liar should also tell you a thing or two about the man.

Are we a "coalition" of operators as Amos now states? Hardly, we do not even speak with each other on a regular basis.

We do all know a scam artist of the highest order when we see one though and a bald faced liar as well.

So Jupp you had the "Everest Shark Dive", I am happy for you. As for the man you went with?

He grand stand lied to get into the position to offer you this trip with those in the industry he should have, for safety sake, for honor sake, consulted and heeded.

Amos is a liability, little else and one of these days his ongoing lies will catch up to him.

Amos, Mr.Industry Shark Diving Liar, you still have not explained this:

http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/07/breaking-news-amos-nachoum-will-not-be.html

And you never will, isn't that right?

So much for Honor.

Jupp said...

Look guys, I do not want to be pushed into a fight between operators. I don't care what Amos said to the lady on the plane and I don't know what you all have talked to him about. All I can say is, that I went with Amos and I have been treated well, I had a wonderful time on the Mexican Vessel and I had an even better time while diving with sharks. I cannot and will not say anything bad about Amos because he has been very nice and friendly to me and gave me a hell of a good time diving. That's all I can say and if somebody asks me about the trip I went on, I can only say the very best about it.

What certainly does not help in a discussion like this are people like DaShark with inflamed rhetoric and this patronizing way, which is so disgusting. This guy pissed me off and, yes I know now what Stockholm syndrome is. But what does that have to do with anything? Do you want me to say that Amos kidnapped me and that I therefore, during the week of being his hostage, made him my hero? Come on, DaShark, whoever you are, if you want to make a joke, make sure that we all can laugh about it, not one that makes us feel sorry for you.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous here again, and I sir am not not Amos,

It seems to me that there is a lot of good experience chatting here.
Some professional and some seem to be quite jealous, honestly if all this brain power and experience worked together you might be productive.

Yes I was with Amos on this trip. It was very professional, and it was actually as safe as it could possibly be.There is always the unknown factor of the animal. Yes it cost a little more than the 3 day trips but it was also longer, less people and great accomidations.

Amos was so focused about the safety of the diving it almost became an issue of redundency and the feeling of being be-littled, but to analyse it now makes me think it was a smart way to keep the divers on thier toes. Good psychology

I am not going to claim to be an expert because life should always be a continuously learning event. I have been diving 33 years with over 3000 dives and I never once on this trip felt we were not as careful as we could possibly be!We worked as a team, watching each others backs.Also FYI there were NEVER any spear guns that I saw, ever on this trip!!!

Life will and should have risks, but we wouldn't learn if we don't look past the norm. Like I said before, It is so acceptable to sit in an open truck in the tall grass of Botswana and nobody calls that insane when a lion walks next to the vehicle, but you are having a problem with this because????

These positive experiences can spread and possibly change some of the negative attitudes that uneducated humans have about all types of sharks. I know the people I have discussed this with will give their thoughts about sharks another view.

Enjoy life gentlemen, work together for a common good

Jupp Kerckerinck said...

This post ist right on and very well expressed. I agree 100% with everything that was said here.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Jupp, as we talked on the boat, while teaching about these great animals, we need to stay positive.
The negative or jealous approach just causes hard feelings and lack of forward movement.

To all you sincere shark educators,(wheather a dive operator, dive guide or dive master) stay positive and work for a goal to help the animal not the pocketbook.
If mistakes are made just correct them, stay off of the low low road. NONE of us are that perfect.

Your anonymous friend:-)

Shark Diver said...

Jupp et al,

I would like to make one thing clear and not sure if you are even aware of it.

Amos had exactly three days of experience at Isla Guadalupe prior to taking you out. Three days of on site interactions with these animals and that was in the fall of 2008.

He is not an operator.Never has been and never will be. Three days makes you many things an operator it does not.

Glad you had such a fine time with him.

Let's leave it at that shall we?

Amos said...

one part of three

...Shark Diver - you have great imagination and extra ordinary skill in writing which I will not attempt to match. But the record and actual facts speak loud rather than smoke screen or spreading fear...

It was you who invited me for lunch in San Francisco and wanted me to help you marketing your trip to Guadalupe two or three years ago. I never dreamed to join any of the USA based operators in Mexico simply because I have done your style of cage diving for years matter of fact since 1982 with Rodney in Australia and through the good old days with Andre and Michael in South africa and more...

When I returned last year from Mexico and you were concern about the cage less operation - you got the other operators with you to write me an e mail - with all due respect I replied that I will suspend the out of the cage operation...since than I stop marketing my trip, while i had five guests.

One of your coalition member suggested that I move all my people to his vessel - which I will not do since I had one prior agreement with the Mexican vessel. This is Honor - there nothing honorable to give you my word and you change what is accepted or not for your own people...I also got information that member of this same coalition with you are planing to do out of the cage in one shape or another - sorry if they have used you as spoke person or the policeman...

I have only respect for you and you have been doing with so many people from all walk of life on both side of coast - however this is not my style and never was to work with the masses, indeed you have to be very, very careful. I have done so during the '80 and keeping my distance from that business and all other operators...I run my operation my style...I charter the vessel...I accompany my guests and I share with them and the crew my knowledge, experience and leadership from around the world exposure rather from one single site or happening...

Sorry to share with you the reality of life - some people have skills or talent and do not need to be many days and know each shark by name in order to swim with them in peace...does the shark care if you know its name or not - it will bite you if you chum its water and if you irritate it - i do not chum sharks for irritation or show off...I may be skillful in the water, leading expedition around the world, matching experiences and not taking anything for granted - but I am no match to your wordsmith or business skills...how many vessel do you operate? how many people per vessel? how many weeks of the year? how often are you really in the water?

All what you do guys is irritation of the sharks for entertainment in front of the cages this is not science or knowledge...it is a money making.

Talking about money - is not everyone in America want and and make money - there is a particular reason you do not want me to make money? it is none of your business...and it is not my busines show much money you make - since you touched this issue...

Shall we calculate how much money you make per season lets review the minimum potential - 12 trips or more per season 16 people per trip or more per vessel multipole that by at least $3,000 - minimum $576,000 - how many vessels you operate? do we need to go any further?

Compare to my operation of $6,000 per person X 5 = $30,000

How much of your half a million dollars plus you have left in Mexican hands?

biganimals said...

two of three...

All my charter fee went to the Mexican owner operator and tips directly to the Mexican skipper - you are concern about the hosting nation?

Research - the only reason I got into Mexico operation is due to cooperation between Alex Antonio the researcher from SRI and his connection with the local researchers in Guadalupe - Alex and me worked together in Cocos and Galapagos - I raised money during the expedition with my guests to buy transmitter tags and Alex and his team of local researchers are tagging the sharks that you so protect and irritate at the same time...

Matter of fact - I run presentations program through the USA dive shops - I auction two of my prints each time - money generated from shark images and from the Auction is going Shark Research institute in New Jersey and to Alex effort to buy transmitters for Mauricio in Guadalupe...matter of fact Alex and me raised about $2,500 from two presentations in Colorado and that money went for Mauricio tags...

Either I have many days in Guadalupe or not - prove not critical - I did my operation safely and peacefully, better than anyone expected, anticipated or projected - give credit when and where it is due...I have created a diving protocol based on accumulated experiences from around the world that has been tested - and the clients are safe at home and are able to shed new light on shark behavior...that is news worth having and they are online to share with you and all the fear driven people - the reality of being with the sharks is whole different in the water than inside the cage because they way the operation is conducted...it is a man made operation and man made frenzy - it should not be that way...

This is a free country and it based on pushing the envelop in each field or profession. Each one of us getting to this point in our life is mature responsible and accountable for our own action. Otherwise we will not be here in this blog...and for me in that business for that long...over 30 years now in USA alone and before that in the North Sea and in the war zone of the middle east...

Indeed in 30 years I made few mistakes and who does not? - at the same time I was able and I am humble to admit! I learn from my mistakes, move forward and do better...and I will give you the same space and room to do yours.

YOu are dealing with totally different market and group of people I am working with - I design my business formula - pushing the envelop for years before you got into the diving business. I work with very small group of guests and ask for the guests for level of proficiency and accountability. For a fact with all my "envelop pushing" my record in diving with clients, and for myself is meticulous. I am used to be on the edge and receive this kind of un founded criticism only because - i proof it is possible what most people thought it is not!!! what is wrong with that??? I thought and trust that we moved away from the time the Church was running the world and could not accept the vision that the world is round???

biganimals said...

third of three...

The kind of people that are attracted to my style are by far more balanced, responsible and not thrill seekers - how many thrill seekers and careless people can afford eight days vacations and invest $6,000 and upward with airfare to $10,000? more careless and thrill seekers will join five days trip for $3,000

You work attract inexperienced divers, matter of fact you encourage none diver to join your trips to see sharks - and what you do - you show them how scary this animal, how big their jaws and bite and how do you get to show that by irritating the shark - teasing them to the cages and than take away the bait when they get close only for the people in the cage to take pictures - I do not like that but it does not mean that I have to go after you in public or in person and bully you.

People eventually will learn and will see what is right and what is not so right...nothing is wrong...

There alway will be a a very small group of people that want to join me to push the envelop - that is my choice to work with small team and once a year to be with shark in Mexico - and this is their choice to join me for my price and my style of operation too - as people can by SUV or Smart car. People decide to drink their coffee at Starbucks or at Peet's they can buy revolver or semi automatic hand gun...this is the people decision what trip and what kind of experience they want to have...

I am a responsible person you do not have to put me to the corner as you did last season with all other operators signing on the e mail - as long as every one on the e mail adhere to the what they asked me to do I suspended the operation afterwords they did what they wanted - I am not alone - did you go after them to?

do you want to review my operation protocol? to make sure I do things safely for your future operation - I will be only glad to cooperate. Asking me to stop while other continue freely to do out of the cage operation - that is double standard and that change everything...

Once again - I call all of you who is concern - let get together and talk with no conditions, learn from each other and give space for each other to do our best for the sharks, the park, for mexico for our clients for the universal knowledge about the Great white and for our living...

Amos

Anonymous said...

Bravo sir!!!
With all the expertise and experience adding to this blog it seems you all should be able to work together for the good of the sharks, clients and operators,

It sure would be nice to see some good positive news offered to the world about sharks for a change?

How serious are you all about shark education???

DaShark said...

1)

Hi Anonymous

Thank you for your testimony.
I have no doubt that your experience was personally highly rewarding and that everybody was extremely careful.
Glad you enjoyed it.

Also, I fully agree that this topic needs to be raised and discussed and that the operators need to finally work together (easier said than done, I’m sure you know what I mean).
This convo is happening right now, in part right here on this blog but mainly, behind the scenes. It is passionate and irreverent because we are passionate about what we do and some of us, angry about what we perceive to be a personal deception.
Please bear with us – in the global scheme of things, we’re all on the same side, that of the Sharks.

To put things into perspective, this is merely one thread in an ongoing global debate among conservation-oriented commercial Shark diving operators.

In very general terms, what we talk about centers on the following questions
- can it be done
- and if so, should it be done
- and if so, how - in order to be safe for the animals, safe for the clients and above all, long-term sustainable.

This is an unorganized process among industry professionals, scientists and conservationists where we share our experiences, ask questions and express our opinions.
It is exclusively about where we as an industry ought to go and does not concern private Shark dives where everybody is more than welcome to do whatever they want. After all, that’s precisely how Shark diving started in the first place!

I happen to belong to the more conservative fringe whereby I believe that as an industry, we've reached and even surpassed the limit of what I consider to be responsible and sustainable commercial Shark encounters. Again, this is not about staging one or two successful stunts, this is about establishing business models that are viable in the long term.

In fact, over the years, we here in Fiji have drastically tightened our safety protocols, to the point that we're losing some of our more "demanding" clients as we simply cannot anymore accommodate their wishes for ever more extreme interactions with the Sharks. It certainly impacts our bottom line but I believe that in the long term, this is the only way to go.

In that sense, to me, the “progress” we ought to strive for is actually “regress”, back to common sense and sustainable ecotourism practices. If you have the time and inclination, you may want to explore the links on http://fijisharkdive.com/index.php/the-diving/shark-diving/about-diving-with-sharks.html. That’s what we stand for.
Others obviously disagree.

When it comes to the topic at hand, multiple user sites (as opposed to sites with only one operator) have always been problematic.
Different protocols by different operators confuse the animals and increase the risk of accidents; competition is being pushed to silly extremes and inevitably leads to reckless one-upmanship.

The famed multi-user sites of the past have been largely lost and since most of them were not protected, fished out. The mechanics have always been the same:
Somebody discovered the site and established a Shark dive there, others came in, the competition increased, the procedures became increasingly reckless, the accidents started piling up, the Authorities enacted feeding bans, the dive operators moved on and the fishermen moved in.

Recent examples are the Shark feeding ban in French Polynesia and the factual Shark viewing ban in the Farallones. Thankfully, those sites are now protected so at least, this is not impacting the Sharks.

We must start learning from that and stop repeating the same mistakes

DaShark said...

2)

One site that is currently very much on the cusp is Tiger Beach.
I’m sure that you are aware of the ongoing “arms race” there and of the according escalation towards ever more reckless and stupid shenanigans – and if not and if you’re interested, search under “Tiger Beach” on this blog.
What needs to happen is that the site gets protected, with a user fee, a code of conduct and viable enforcement – think “Cocos” or “Galapagos”. Will it happen? Actually, maybe it will!

Guadalupe is very much threatened by an anti Shark tourism faction in the Mexican Parliament.
Plus, there’s a rumor that powerful interests want the island in order to establish a staging area for running an illegal trade and thus want to get rid of eventual witnesses. Maybe true maybe not – but the fact is that Shark diving there is under attack.

This is a Bio Sphere with user protocols that forbid cageless encounters.
At this particular moment in time, any further negative media or god forbid, an accident will automatically trigger the site’s closure – and the subsequent killing of the Sharks by the fishermen. The responsible operators know that and are treading very carefully.
In this specific context, any “experiments” like the present one are particularly uncalled for.

Protocols are obviously neither infallible nor eternal.
Commercial baited Shark diving as it is conducted now in Guadalupe works – for the animals, the clients and the operators alike. Any changes to the established routine must be based on consensus among the operators but above all, they must be formally approved by the Mexican Authorities.
Ahead of the fact, not after!

Conversely, any “visionary” and “pioneer” wanting to test new waters should feel free to do so – by establishing his own site, with its own protocols and the blessing of the local community and the relevant Authorities – like what has happened and continues to happen in South Africa and Fiji.

This is not about Amos.
He’s a known entity and operates successfully with a smart concept that hinges on testing the limits. Good on him – although in this case, the specific modus operandi remains questionable. He’s a clever businessman who is undoubtedly already hawking his images, and he’s a brilliant marketer with a silver tongue, as evidenced by his comments.

This is about the egregious actions of Club Cantamar.
What they have done, to unilaterally and unnecessarily raise the bar, is precisely what has led to the doom of so many other multi-user dive sites and will lead to demise of GW diving in Guadalupe. You can take that to the bank.

It is reckless and stupid and short-sighted
It is also profoundly unethical and disrespectful of the years of investment both in money and sweat equity by those who have developed this site and elevated it to its present iconic status.

The saga continues.
And as Amos remarks, I not about to start holding my breath that things will change for the better.
Alas.

About your question.
We do this: http://fijisharkdive.com/index.php/conservation.html.
Anonymously! (:

Shark Diver said...

Amos,

I have been here for 8 years.

You? Three days, now six.

Let's ensure for everyone's benefit that your time here does not exceed those questionable six days.

I have said all I am going to say about you, what transpired between us, and with the entire fleet. It is well documented and not contestable.

You remain in my "Top Three Biggest Disappointments" in the dive industry Amos.

Amos said...

Douglas - once again your knowledge and memory is faulty...not that it is important at all - just for the record...because I communcate with you and others who read this exchange only with the facts while you spread fear and smoke...

I was last year for two weeks in Guadalupe - five days diving with Sea Escape and five days on the Nautilus.

Please stay focus on the issue - how come your competitors Nautilus can take people on top of the cage down to 30 feet or deeper and see the shark out of the cage? or Lawrence can produce TV shoot with free divers and film crew out of the cage...are you going after them too - why we do not see it online? have you ever supported a TV team with your movie production company that was swimming outof the cage?

You bully me because you think you can? or you want to collect support on my account?

You wrote - "You remain in my "Top Three Biggest Disappointments" in the dive industry" - that including Lawrence Groth (Solmar V) and Mike Leveer - Nautilus - good company thank you.

DaShark - your last comment are well put and I am for it - why is Douglas going after me is in order to defeat the incoming of a perfectly legal Mexican owner and operator from Club Cantmar the owner of the Sea Escape.

Look - his friends in operation in Guadalupe the Nautilus and Solmar V runing open water engagment with the same sharks...now he has a local, Mexican vessel perfectly able to run as good operation as he does - his world become smaller - he is not protecting the sharks by teasing and irritating them - he is entertaining the crowds and the none divers he is inviting to participate. He is protecting his kingdom.

I never said a word and it is not my business nor my style till he got Bully in him to go public...

He is going after me with calling names and faul languge because he get audiance like you to help him protect his monopoly - he is operating more than one vessel per season two vessels sometimes three - a Million dollars business...a goos that laying golden eggs by teasing and irritating the sharks...good business

Guys - lets have a good weekend and peacefull one...Amos

Amos said...

Looking through this post I cannot help but feel that something of a double standard is being applied. While on the one hand, this site states that the shark diving industry has huge financial tourism dollars at stake, yet on the other, open water swimming with the sharks is considered shocking. Is this because Amos is the first to do so rather than other dive operators? This entire blog is affiliated with, and run by commercial shark dive enterprises, so I cannot help but feel a degree of cynicism in relation to this response. My response is merely reflecting upon the outrageous level of righteous indignation expressed in this blog by a commercial operator.
Were one to google shark diving, Big Animal Expeditions doesn't even appear for many many pages, but rather, one is confronted by "Dive and Snorkel with Great Whites in South Africa" etc.
In the resume of film in relation to Shark Divers, was there ever any episode of open water swimming with the animals? I can't help but wonder.
My point is, that risk taking is a decision of the individual. Encountering the great gorillas of Africa, going on safari, ice climbing etc, all entail risk and presumably we weigh up that risk when deciding, as adults.
I am profoundly disappointed at the lack of objectivity, and individual attacks which have only served to place your own motives in question in relation to a business competitor.
If a moratorium was called for to review industry standards, using open water diving as a basis for such a gathering that would be one thing. To attack someone is another. I think he was safer swimming with the sharks.

Max.

Amos said...

Douglas - to date I have received over two dozens feedback - each one supporting my position and many of them shy away from your negativity, some of them shared with me news about you I never knew and not to be reported. They all requested to remain out of your vindictive reach - I HONOR their request - sorry Bully do not get privileges.

One of the replies had hard time getting online i.e Max - I have posted his message with his consent.

Amos

Alex said...

Finally have some time and after having read through most of the diatribe that has been posted felt that I had to weigh in. I often wonder if certain individuals understand shark behavior at all. Additionally, I know that they know nothing about the character or motives of Amos. I have known Amos for many years and have really got to know him over the past four years. We co-hosted a trip to Cocos and Malpelo during which Amos was extremely supportive of the research that I was conducting and help ensure that I was able to tag the hamemrhead sharks. Also Amos has contributed monetary funds towards shark research efforts on numerous occasions.

Beyond that I have co-hosted the past two expeditions to Guadalupe with Amos, during which there was not only the diving aspect of the trip but also a conservation and research component. Having studied shark now for over 15 years now, one thing I do know is that sharks are certainly creatures of habit, and the white sharks are no exception. Given the right amount of stimulus, or lack thereof, and you can certainly predict how these sharks will behave. Have all these years of studying and tagging taught us nothing? During our two expeditions safety was still always the number one priority. Just the right amount of stimulus to bring the sharks in but not too much to get them too excited. This, coupled with only one guest out of the cage at a time and a safety diver with a proding stick, and the result is great encounters with a better understanding about natural, non-threatening, swimming behavior.

Let me also add that "Shark Diver" has no clue as to who Amos is, as a tour leader or as a person. He is a pretty straight forward guy and has always followed through with me, as long as the rules are not changed mid-stream, and when people are upfront and honest with him. Amos does have a reputation, but in my mind, a great reputation, and it is "well deserved."

Ultimately, in my mind it's the sharks that are the victims. This back and forth competitiveness is not new I'm afraid. I have seen this all too often in the shark business, whether it is commercial operators or shark researchers. Sharks make people do crazy things, and not always in the water.

If you want to pick up the phone I would be more than happy to discuss any issue with you and talk sharks. Isn't that what we should really be doing after all. Blogging just doesn't do it for me.

Amos said...

Shark Diver spreading fear and wrong information using this media and your time loosely…therefore I take the opportunity to bring the conversation and exchange to a place we all can gain something rather than living in fear or remain clueless about this amazing animal called Great white shark. For years sharks and Great White in particular suffered negative reputation (Jaws and Discovery shark week) and used by the media to make millions of dollar playing on the population ignorance…

1 – Patric it was your people, the other operators, or competitors Nautilus and Solmar V who broke rank with you first and did open water diving with the sharks in Guadalupe this season…I could only follow their example – I did not promise you anything different. What is good for one is good for everyone else – Fact of life

2 – if there is a clear cut regulation that state no diving out of the cage – how come the Nautilus and of Solmar V owners are not aware of the fact? Or it is not a fact?

2 – I have been diving since 1964 and with Great Whites around the world since 1982.
Numerous of time out of the cage in South Africa from 1995 – 2004, five days in Guadalupe last season and five more days this season - immaculate record of safety – Fact

3 – all other open water diving with Great White by other operators, filmmakers and me too proof to be safe and no record of accident or almost – Fact – NO - but, if, or may be! No conspiracy theory…

4 - Good leader surround themselves with experts – Good Leader make critical decision when it is count most as well as lead by example – I am doing that day in and out in the diving business - more time than you care and can count. My 30 years safety record while diving from the North Pole to Antarctica and everywhere in between is immaculate – Fact.

5 – all of the people who responded negatively are people who never met me or have been with me on trip. I am wondering if they ever been with sharks to know the difference – the people who responded positively and supportive – had first hand experience with me – they are my guests and spend quality and safe time with me and the sharks – Fact

6 – getting Great White sharks to swim by the cage and act violently to satisfy the client thirst for drama or adrenalin rush – is foul – you irritate and tease the wildlife. Nothing like that happened in the wild when the shark feed. Chumming and baiting is aggravating that is the only reason the shark act violently by the cages. There no education or science value to it but money making – FACT

7 – operating safely out of the cage require high level of observation and careful planning - limited chum and no bait! We are all safe and the return divers speak out and loud on this media expressing their feeling and experience – FACT – however you continue to minimize their first hand report

8 – Yes, I know being a leader and pushing the envelope one always expose to the NO say. The ability to accept criticism and acknowledge them – I am only stand humble before everyone else and willing to answer all questions and explain my motives for the betterment of our society – however without calling name and using foul language…

Amos

Amos said...

Partic - - THANK YOU for helping me so everyone can see how BULLY you are…that is a very interesting change of course of action on your behalf – just like in Guadalupe…you change the rules of engagements when you want and as long as it fit your cause…profit…and etc…

You threaten me with a fight on the new media – now you asking me to stop from posting my thought – every coin has two sides…people that you reach need to know the truth not only the people who have been with me…and know me first hand

So now only you can continue in your renting and spreading fear, wrong information and lies about me – one time Bully remain a bully. I have hold myself till now to post the questions - Are you jealous? Or have such deep un seeded fear of the sharks?

Are you so concern that I prove you wrong?

As you wrote – everyone in the world can see your - bully activity and everything else that follow from that kind of personality…have a good weekend,

Amos

DaShark said...

1.

Alex, thank you for your testimony.

I actually couldn’t agree more with what you say about the necessity to introduce the “right” amount and mix of food!
You may have read the new Guttridge & al. about learning in Sharks and also seen the research by Laroche and by Kock with GW in SA concerning conditioning and the effects of positive and negative reinforcement regimes. A protocol relaying on “chum only” as suggested by others here only works as long as others bait, as the animals will quickly learn that they are being tricked and avoid the boats. Were I a tree hugger (I am not), I could also argue that it is wrong to have the animals waste energy on fruitless “hunts”.
Long story short, deploying huge amounts of bait and chum and then triggering aggressive responses whereby the Sharks mouth the boats and slam into the cages is certainly “out” and as Amos correctly remarks, a disservice to the reputation of Great Whites. What will work and attract the Sharks whilst keeping them relaxed is some chum intermixed with some bait as a reward.

But this is not the issue.

What this post and the ensuing thread raises is first, the question whether as an industry, we should promote commercial cageless encounters with Great Whites in Guadalupe. Other sites being different, they may well warrant other protocols.

My answer to that –at least when it comes to Guadalupe- is no, we should not!
Guadalupe offers excellent visibility so experiencing the Sharks from the safety of a cage is easy. There are now submerged cages that offer a high degree of “immersion” and there’s even a bar-less cage that offers a completely unobstructed view whilst still offering protection and a stable viewing platform. Provided that the Sharks are being “properly” stimulated, doing so will essentially ensure the same experience – sans the added element of risk.

Assuming the above is correct, I ask: cui bono?
What possible justification can there be for upping the ante, other than to create a commercial niche pandering to the thrill-seekers? Why this totally unnecessary continuous crescendo? This is simply not worth the risk, especially not in the long-term!

Again, this concerns exclusively commercial dives with paying customers.
It does not concern researchers and industry professionals, be it professional UW photographers or film crews. Those people are regularly accorded special privileges in the hopes of furthering our knowledge about Sharks and of hopefully, enabling pro-Shark media (and I’m very much on record in saying that we must stop to enable the other kind, as in Shark Week horror shows).

In that sense, “Amos the famous Big Animal photographer” would probably be escorted outside of the cage if he so wished – “Amos the tour leader and his customers”, I believe, should not.

Thus, what Lawrence has apparently done is well within commonly accepted industry standards – whereas the actions by Horizon, if true, are not and are as reckless and short sighted as Club Cantamar’s.

DaShark said...

2.

The second issue this post raises is that this is an established dive site within a MPA with established protocols that have been developed in accordance with the wishes of the host country - and that those protocols forbid cageless encounters.

I would presume that when tagging Hammerheads in Cocos and Malpelo, you would have respected the host country by applying for the required research permits. I would also presume that you would oppose Dick Tom and Harry starting to illegally stick Sharks in those locations – whatever their justification!
Researchers and film crews regularly request, and are generally granted exemptions, like –to use an example that is well known to Amos- the special permit by the Tongan authorities to SCUBA dive with Humpbacks, an activity that is otherwise forbidden.

I know for a fact that several of the mentioned operators are adamant about respecting those regulations.
I’ve once enquired with two of them about the possibility of conducting a series of “experiments” and have been unequivocally told that they thought it was a bad idea and that it was illegal on top of that. I have deferred to their judgment and desisted from pushing my “idea” any further – despite of being of the opinion (and having been told) that it is possible and safe!
To me, that’s a matter of common courtesy and respect.

Amos has obviously done the same initially - but being “Amos”, he has then managed to find an enabler and gone ahead against the stated will of the majority.

I can certainly understand the frustration of those operators that choose principle over profit and refused the obvious financial incentive of booking a full charter with Amos – only to find that Club Cantamar had gone ahead and done it.
I can also understand that Patric who’s very much on record in trying to contain the “arms race” among the operators and who does not offer cageless encounters in spite of the obvious demand for this product feels frustrated and personally betrayed. A phone call announcing and justifying the “deed” would have probably helped to defuse the situation – or maybe not, but it would have been the right thing to do.

Again, this is only marginally about Amos.
He’s very much a known entity - and that, as he well knows, includes being notorious. His achievements as a wildlife photographer are remarkable and his contribution to Shark research, awareness and conservation is highly laudable. I salute him for being professional, committed and a consummate and innovative businessman and marketer. I don’t approve of his modus operandi in this specific case.

This is, and I’m repeating myself, about the reckless and illegal actions of Club Cantamar and in general terms, about the continued inability of us, the commercial Shark diving industry, to curb these excesses. They will ultimately lead to our demise and as a consequence, severely harm the animals we all profess to love and have pledged to protect.

DaShark said...

Amos, looks like our posts have crossed.

I find this thread interesting and highly entertaining and will certainly never censor any post, however inflammatory - but may I suggest that you and Patric refrain from any further ad personam attacks.

Felix Leander said...

Wow - after having read the 41 comments of back and forth bashing (even my old man was mentioned in the original post)...further confirms what a lovely industry the shark diving one is...$$$$.

Shark Diver said...

Thanks Mike for hosting this thread.

We gave Amos one chance to make any sense at all and he did not on our blog.

I will say this he is adept at steering the conversation away from truth and into fiction - but what can you expect from a man who lied to an entire fleet of vessel owners and operators?

Felix, this is not about $$$ that's too trite and too easy an answer.

Life is more complex than that.

Shark Diver said...

Felix, one last thing.

If you look at the sheer amount of effort and time Amos has taken from just two blog posts to "clear his name" it will give you some kind of indication about how badly he feels about being "caught out."

This is a titanic effort from one man.

What you are reading from him is also a simplistic barrage of well worn dive industry accusations, counter finger pointing, fabricated industry gossip, and no small amount of "Patric is a Big bully" talk.

Amos lied to everyone about his intentions.That is fact. Amos lied to me in person. That is also a fact.

This continuing thread of Amos Re-History is tiresome and somewhat amusing if the subject matter were not so deadly serious.

If Amos was in any way secure in himself or his actions he would sit back with folded arms and say, So?

Not post hysterically about "anything but" one of the most serious breaches of personal, business, and operational truth telling I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Right on Felix, It sure seems Patric is awful worried about his share of the $$$$$$$

DaShark said...

Hi Felix

Welcome to the hornet’s nest! (:

This is obviously who we are, passionate!
So are “you” guys, as evidenced by the regular diatribes and personal feuds on the different sharkophile lists and forums – correct? That’s all part of a robust (and ultimately, productive) dialogue and anybody taking exemption to it is more than welcome to get out of the kitchen!

Thank you for mentioning the $$$ thing.
Coming from you who regularly visits this blog it’s a little disappointing – but so be it.

Inevitably, during these industry debates, the opponents raise two arguments:
- it’s a food fight
- life is about taking risks and we’re free to choose the risk we assume

About the former.

Whenever I write a post like the present one, I know that BAD loses money.
Patric is probably faced with the same conundrum.

Free divers, thrill seekers, Shark huggers and above all, hi-end uw photographers who strive to interact with Sharks are a lucrative and challenging market segment. Often, those people are experienced, wealthy, famous and influential and saying “no” to them impacts the bottom line.

So, no, it’s not about getting a bigger slice of the pie – it’s about not wanting that particular pie because I believe it to be toxic in the long term.

We have long agreed to disagree on selected aspects of this debate. So, when the Leanders exercise their right to post something I disagree with, I sometimes feel free to post a mild rebuttal – “bashing”, coming from this scribe, is certainly different.
Can you live with that?

About the latter.

It’s a big Ocean out there and everybody is free to jump in and do whatever he wants.

But those would be private undertakings.
This may be repetitive (…) but this post is about the future of commercial Shark diving, where contrary to SCUBA diving, I believe that the ultimate responsibility resides with the operator and not the client. Like all of my opines, all of this is certainly debatable and many disagree, even within the industry – but until I’m convinced otherwise, this remains my POV.

Let’s just all make sure that in all this ego-driven convo, we never forget the ultimate goal, i.e. the welfare of the Sharks.

Anonymous said...

I was reading Patric's other blog about this subject and was fairly shocked to see that nobody can post on his blog unless he approves it. What is wrong with that picture. What happened to freedom of speach and good conversation. I guess it is good as long as he approves it?
How can we have transparent conversations about conservation of the shark without a free avenue to place it?
Here is what Patric's blog said so I am credible here;

Leave your comment
Hi Shark Divers,

Stop and read this prior to posting a comment. While some topics covered elicit strong and passioned responses, and we accept them all, we do not accept cheap shots and slander or anonymous postings. We will track your posting ID back if we think you're playing games. Think about what you have to say and then post a response, it's all good.

Comment moderation has been enabled. All comments must be approved by the blog author.

I find that very strange for an educated conservational web blog???Especially after some of the words and responses I have read tonite from him during this blog:-(
Most other resonders have been fairly civil and slightly open minded.

Good Luck to all

DaShark said...

Hi Anonymous

Blogs are not chatrooms.
They "belong" to somebody and the "owners" have every right to handle them in any way they please.

E.g., I'm quite tolerant of anonymous posts (the more as I use a nom de plume myself) since I believe that what is relevant is the content and not the persona of the author. Argumentum ad verecundiam is a well known fallacy.

But like Patric, I always reserve the right to delete absolutely atrocious responses, anonymous or not - tho often I just leave them standing as a glaring example of the author's stupidity.

Deleting after the fact or moderating pre-emptively are just two technical facets of the same action.

Bear with the man - he's frustrated and angry.

Felix Leander said...

Hi Da Shark - the nest is not as cozy as I was hoping for ;).

My comment about the money came from reading the back and forth / accusations / he said-she said. I perfectly understand it is a business and I also understand "life is more complex than that..." - just frustrating to see grownups go after one another like that.

Your blogs are filled with so much positive energy, environmental actions and fair criticism...this throws all that out the window

I also am well aware of the good that you guys are doing from a sustainability point of view and respect that very much.

As for my fathers' emotional out-burst...I think you can give him a pass by now (you know him better than that)...we seem to be the only shark diving related blog that has a prominent disclaimer about diving with them.

The post that was referred to ends with the following:

"...all the other beautiful and gentle striped girls that have enriched my life, and actually kept me going when the going got really rough a few months ago..."

Very emotional indeed - considering what he has been through and what sharks have meant to him...and more evidently they have been a huge part of his recovery process and motivation to get well.

Anyway...we (Wolf and me) are very much looking forward to meeting you in Nov.

Be safe!

Anonymous said...

Nicely put DaShark,

I wish people understood how effective and powerful presentation can be.

Along with the fact that it is so much more enjoyable to read.

Amos said...

oleastPlease just watch this clip – and you tell me if there is not double standard here…http://www.youtube.com/user/RTSeaTV#p/u/4/rvExma5r7gM

For everyone who follow this hypocritical exchange generated by Shark Diver i.e Patric Douglas. Luke is Patric shark expert Marine Biologist.

It become clear to me seeing this link…That Patric and his team are conducting out of cage diving – and his expert even touching the shark “fearsome predator” as Luke the Marine biologist called it.

Well here it comes again – Patric double standard – and lack of even handed…lies, deception and etc…

1 – he asked me not to contact “out of the cage” - while he and the other operators in Guadalupe do so whenever they see fit.

2 – he invited and threaten me that he said – “Amos will learn a lesson in the new media” – which he control and not only one Shark blog but two… and than as of two days ago he asked to stop posting my thoughts – matter of fact he censored my replies on one of his two blogs - why Patric? So you will have a sole control to spread baseless accusation and cover your own action? Or generate support to your fledgling enterprise?

DaShark – if I had to put my life experience in Patric hands or my own – diving with any sharks and Great white in particular – I will prefer my own. With all due respect he is no expert and his knowledge is limited.

I have been diving with the Great whites since 1982 over 27 years now, and in the company of the greatest know how in the world – Rodney Fox, David Doubilet, Dr. Eugene Clark, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Buz Aldrin, Andre’ Hartmann and Michael Rutzen and others.

When it comes to Guadalupe I had Alex Antonio with me on both successful and safely made expeditions. If Patric has Luke I have Alex – we are not any different. Matter of fact I am taken more precautions than he does. I also invest and respect more the hosting country than he does.

When it comes to professional team leadership – I guess you did not know and so most the readers including RTsea – I have been leading numerous TV crews from around the world to documents the behavior of BigAnimals – including Sharks in the Red Sea and the Orcas in Norway for NG. As well as for the Polar bears, Anaconda underwater, Sailfish and Striped Marlins – since I lead these teams of professionals by default - I am in the category you have accepted into – out of the cage experience! Thank you for the support.

Amos

DaShark said...

Felix – thanks! (:

Amos, hi

Everybody (!) knows who you “are” and your credentials as an adventurer and photographer are impeccable. No need to name drop – the more as that once again would be an argumentum ad verecundiam.

But this is not the topic of this post.

This post raises the question “Should there be commercial out-of-the-cage dives with paying customers in Guadalupe” and my answer to that is “no there should not”, for the reasons I’ve repeatedly mentioned.

The second statement I make is that we as an industry need to stop the escalation towards ever more extreme Shark encounters.

I also say that I disapprove of the way Club Cantamar has upped the ante by barging in against the stated wish of the other operators there, and that they should be taken to task for it.

The “Amos” controversy that has hijacked this conversation is a sideshow.
I believe that the matter should have been handled differently – but ultimately, you had a business plan and managed to push it through by finding a willing enabler. Good on you and shame on them.

I have no problem with Luke going cageless on an RTSea shoot – but I agree that it’s a fine line and a judgment call. I would also see no problem if Amos in his incarnation as a famous photographer had been allowed to go cageless – provided that everybody disposed of all of the required permits.

But I also agree that it very much looks like double standards are being applied, which I bemoan.

That’s my POV and I stand by it.
I’m always willing to change my mind if convinced – but so far, the little I’ve heard only reinforces my opinion that this is unnecessary, reckless and short-sighted and that despite of all the pseudo-eco sound bites, it ultimately harms the animals.

As to Patric controlling this blog, he doesn’t.

Shark Diver said...

Da Shark,

It's obvious that Amos will not for an instant cop to the fact he is in the wrong here.

Instead he has chosen a wild path of attacking those he has wronged.

Foolish, but hey he get's to do anything he wants now.

As you know we're not obligated to Amos quite the opposite. He made clear obligations to all of us, myself included.

He failed in those obligations.

The debate about pushing the limits in the shark world is one we'll have for many years I am afraid.

As for Amos?

Is this debate even one he should be at? Yes he lied, but currently he seems more interested in resurrection of image and slamming as many people as he can.

He's pulled everyone but the Pope into this one when the original thread is:

Amos lied.

Not Club Cantemar (they made no agreements with anyone as far as I know)

Not SRI (they also made no agreements with anyone)


This is about Amos. He Lied and now in this thread is countering, casting about for anything he can get his hands on.

It's sad really, that a guy who talks a big game about "honor" when pressed, resorts to attacks on guys who have been at this site for over 8 years.

Wow.

DaShark said...

Ah hear 'ya, oh "puppet master and controller"! (:

Not really my fight tho, see my last response. I'm sure you guys over there can handle that.

Again: no enablers - no perpetrators!

Anonymous said...

The previous YouTube video seems to demonstrate a double standard.

It become clear to me seeing this link…That Patric and his team are conducting out of cage diving.

It seems that there are a number of reasons that Amos has incited such a response.
When the flag of conservation is raised, and the battle cry to arms shouted, very few people can counter the argument or the impassioned pleas. However, it seems that the guys here are annoyed because Amos has demonstrated an economically viable alternative to the current methods used by operators. It is not new in the industry overseas, only in their setting.
By decrying such approaches as harmful in the past, they have essentially backed themselves into a financial and operational corner from which there is no obvious exit other than to admit that they could in fact modify their approach,(possibly too proud or arrogant to do so), or just vilify anyone who pursues alternate approaches which have not been proven to harm the shark...Amos ; or in fact anyone who intrudes on their turf.
Sorry guys, but having sharks madly agitated by chum or any bait, and colliding head on with solid metal cages, just doesn't seem to be "shark sensitive" to me.
I fear that rather than emerge as a mature discussion about a cohesive approach to dealing with shark diving in the area, or in the industry in general, this has been shown to be nothing more than libelous vindictive ravings. I am stunned that this has not gone to litigation from Amos's point of view. There is minimal objectivity here and so credibility has diminished exponentially with your ongoing diatribe.
Had this had greater public coverage, I can assure you that fellow divers would more likely dive with Mr Nachoum than with your outfit. I think you have done irreparable damage to yourselves and undermined any potential reputation, or 'myth", that you are motivated for the animals welfare rather than cold hard cash.

And by the way, I'm not affiliated with Amos or you, but have witnessed both first hand.

Max.

DaShark said...

Hi Max

I would have to obviously disagree.

At the risk of yet again being accused of being Patric’s spokesperson, or whatever: that video is well known and has been previously discussed on his blog, and that of RTSea, e.g. in the comments section of http://sharkdivers.blogspot.com/2009/09/dear-isla-guadalupe-operators-what-part.html.

The “madly agitating the Sharks” argument is of course valid.
It is however a straw man as it does not justify going for a swim outside of the cages. The remedy to that is to deploy less bait and not to recklessly pull in the Sharks – and then, to observe the animals from within the safety of the cages.

I’m yet to hear anybody explaining the finer points of why they thought that it was a good idea to go cageless with GW in Guadalupe – and from my perspective, “because it was possible” just ain’t good enough an answer.

I, not Patric have written this post for the reasons I have stated there and in my following responses. I did it not because I have any vested interests there, but because as a Shark diving operator, I take exception to unnecessarily upping the ante when conducting commercial Shark dives. I hope that you can at least agree with the trivial fact that watching the GW from one of the cages is probably the safest way to do so?

So far, nothing I have read here convinces me that I’m wrong - nor does it convince the vast majority of those who have sent me private comments but have no interest in posting their opinion in public.

The good news is that this debate, petty as it may be at times, has put the issues on the table and is very much being picked up elsewhere. Let’s wait & see what the guys over there will come up with – hopefully, something good!

Belinda said...

It is an amazing thing when your ego is so large that it diminishes the size of your brain to the point you do something so foolish that even one brain cell alone would be stunned by.....

DaShark said...

Whow B - that's kinda "concise"... (:

And who am I to disagree!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, it seems to fit quite a few massive ego's that participated in this great blog!!!

Anonymous said...

The real victim here is the sharks. I wish you never "discovered" them 8 years ago and I wish the authorities would step in and shut down all shark diving. Just because you are a hobbyist shark "expert" doesn't mean you really are doing anything of value. I have no idea if you have or have not contributed anything to shark research, but I think any real "research" should work within some sort of institution like NOAA or something. I'd shut you all down. I'm sure someone is going to get hurt, it's just a matter of time. All this chumming is TOTAL BS for the shark. I think this is definitely an ego battle and it's really pathetic.

You don't really care about the sharks you just want kudos for "discovering" the spot. It seems you may regret not exploiting this "spot" yourself... I'm sure they've been going there for thousands of years... 8 years isn't much time... Sorry, now your going to have to compete with all the idiots from WetPixel and UWPhoto Guide.. They'll be there soon enough! Amos is probably posting over there...

DaShark said...

(:

Indeed, he is: http://www.divephotoguide.com/articles/swimming_freely_with_great_white_sharks

But don't be so hard on us - all-in-all, we're doing great things for Shark conservation and you can rest assured that without Shark divers (and the industry promoting the activity), the fate of Sharks would be even worse than it is now.

birgitw1 said...

Well, Gentlemen,

thank you for all the information,
Now, I am afraid I have to climb the Everest alone.
Brian Mc Farlane and Andre Hartman both offered
me freediving with white sharks in South Africa.
Unfortunately the didnt keep word and I lost time and money.
But who cares, except me of course?
They didnt even care that I cannot dive at all (I hardly can swim)
and I dont look like a model with my 46 years also, so why did they offer me that trip?
Any idea? I couldnt find a reason, sorry.
Now I paddle with a small yellow kayak in the area and hope to find a shark
(I dont paddle better as I swim), but a least I will not die with a loser on my side.

DaShark said...

Well well Birgit (:

what exactly is your goal - committing an elaborate suicide by becoming Shark bait?
If so, a small yum-yum-yellow kayak and lotsa splashing due to poor paddling might just do the trick!

If however you merely want to witness the majesty of GWs, how about stepping into one of those cages - you don't have to swim and at 46, yer certainly not too old to learn breathing from a mouthpiece!

And if I may add: nor are you too old to get rid of any loser at yer side!

birgitw1 said...

Thank you for the tip with the cage, but I have done it already a few times.
Believe me, I would prefer to do freediving with a security diver and a cage in the background also.
But paddling is right now the only legal alternative for me or do you have a better idea?

DaShark said...

Continue paddling!

I somehow seem to miss the finer points of why you seem to think that a poor swimmer engaging in freediving (i.e. spending most of the time bobbing and splish-splashing at the surface) in the presence of large, surface-oriented predators is to be considered a good idea, or fun?

How about you take a trip to Paris and once yer fed up of the Louvre, foie gras and the Folies Bergeres, you try running across the Etoile 100 times during rush hour - the thrill and the risk profile are about the same, sans the risk of drowning!

Anonymous said...

Thats something personal between me and the ocean.
But I still miss the finer point why two "sharkexperts" in South Africa lied to me.
Must be some kind of local sport or a joke for men only.