Monday, February 13, 2012

Interview with Gary!

Shark men: Rusi, Alex and Gary at Shark Reef

How can I possibly do the man justice.
We will always differ on the finer points of culture vs abject savagery - but peanut butter or no peanut butter, Gary Adkison will always remain one of my heroes for whom I have nothing but the biggest respect and admiration.
Plus a whole lotta Love, with a capital L!

We first met in 2001 when he was running the legendary Shark dives at Walker's Cay and the rest as they say is history.
When first developing the Fiji Shark Project, I reached out to Gary who graciously and enthusiastically agreed to give us a hand in turning a lot of lofty ideas into something tangible. It is he who first introduced us to Juerg with whom he has developed and still manages the Bull Shark Tagging Programme; it is he who has also made the introductions to his former dive shop manager and now BAD shareholder Andrew; and it is he who has been invaluable in helping us define our initial Shark diving procedures and in coaching us through the thousand vagaries of managing a Shark diving operation. They will undoubtedly disagree - but Gary and his wife Brenda have been absolutely crucial in every single step of BADs history and for that, we shall always be indebted to them.
But mon, before you ask: not to the point of sharing my cheese!

Gary met Alex the Sharkman here in Fiji in 2009.
That was the International Year of the Shark and we had invited Alex to witness what we were doing in Fiji, namely organizing Fiji's first national Shark conservation campaign. Shark Reef was really starting to blossom, with healthy corals, scores of Fishes but above all, ever growing numbers of Sharks and I remember those weeks as a time of great conversations, great dives and mutual bonding.

They have been friends ever since.
Alex has finally found the time to re-vamp his website and Gary is the first to sit through one of his legendary interviews - and I must say, fantastic job! This is my Gary: one of the original salt dogs, a pioneer of Shark diving and Shark conservation (!) and above all, just a really nice guy!
Chapeau my friends!

Enjoy Gary's interview!
And if you are as fascinated as I am: start reading Gary's autobiography A Life Underwater here!

PS - Nice comments by David here!

1 comment:

jsd said...

Excellent interview, Gary - and thank you for stating publicly the truth about your encounters with a certain self-proclaimed shark behaviour expert.

You have behaved with great dignity over the years ever since you saved Erich Ritter's life only to have him lie publicly and stab you in the back by claiming the fault was yours.

It impressed me at Walker's Cay how, even after a long and exhausting day running the resort, you were always prepared in the evenings to give inspirational talks to tourists about the importance of sharks and shark conservation - unfortunately the details of those talks escapes me as by then I was sampling the rum punches.