And I cite.
The third, and frankly often ugly stage of shark diving is upon us.
The advances in underwater photographic equipment mean that getting fantastic photographs in reasonable conditions is almost guaranteed. While there are plenty of responsible dive operators offering superb shark dives to genuinely interested divers, a considerable number of attention-seeking types have emerged who, seeking to use sharks to make themselves famous, indulge in ever more vulgar and irresponsible stunts for the sake of the camera – stunts that soon appear all over the Internet, and beyond.
The perpetrators inevitably claim that their antics are for the benefit of the animals.
Sharks that were previously thought to be extremely dangerous (bull, tiger, great hammerhead) are now being fed, hand-fed, handled and posed with. (So too is the great white by yahoos who leave the safety of the cage – but that’s another story.) Elbowing each other out of the way for the limited limelight, these divers must come up with ever more idiotic stunts; one aging ex-model recently posed naked among circling sharks as her own contribution to shark conservation.
Little wonder this genre has been labelled ‘shark porn’.
Ageing ex-model? And who the hell is JSD?
But I'm digressing.
What I really wanted to talk about is the splendid book by John Bantin.
John and I go back a long, long time indeed - and this by never, ever meeting let alone diving together despite of being in the very same place at about the same time on countless occasions. The closest we've ever got to stumbling into each other was many years ago at the London Dive Show when my buddy Lam and I swooped in and kidnapped Ron and Valerie from a dinner held in their honor - and even then we managed to avoid each other despite of probably being only yards apart!
Hell, I even missed him when he came to dive with BAD in 2006 and wrote this stellar review!
That was then.
We've finally did run into each other as now crusty old farts a few years back at DEMA, and I must really say that I like the man immensely. Check out his FB page and you may intuit why.
Or not - and then I couldn't possibly explain.
Anyway, you really must get yourselves the book.
John knows everybody and has been literally everywhere, and this often well before JSD's ghastly intrusion of scuba bubbles, and his tales are always witty and riveting, often surprising and sometimes endearing, like only a great storyteller can convey.