Sunday, January 31, 2016

GWS hunting Strategies - Paper!

Marine Dynamics, serial enabler of good research! Source.

Very nice!

Check this out!
No need to write a synopsis as it is open source and also, because there are really nice ones here and here. Great to see that this is once again brilliant research that has been facilitated by Marine Dynamics, a proud member of Global Shark Diving!

And the take-away message of it all?
What once again strikes me, is how behavior is being mediated by the environment (= climate, geography, habitat but also occurrence and/or migration of prey etc) but also by factors like gender, age and of course, individuality - and this all within one and the same species! 
And yes I'm very much repeating myself!

Incidentally, that's what we very much experience here.
We basically conduct two types of feeding, i.e. by hand and from a suspended wheelie bin - and over the years, we have observed that each feeding modality has created its own Shark tribe, with only extremely few individuals switching from one source to the other. In fact, when we briefly discontinued hand feeding after the passing of Rusi, some of the hand feeders appear to have wandered away, only to slowly start coming back once regular hand feeding was resumed.
Maybe individual Sharks learn a preferred strategy early on and then continue favoring it as long as it works, which would also explain why some of the cage dive operators report that the same individual GWS appear to attack the teaser baits always in the same way.

But of course all is relative.
These are trends and not absolutes, meaning that in all likelihood, behavior happens along a continuum and very likely also evolves as prey wisen up and circumstances changes. Plus, Sharks with wide trophic niches are also likely to dispose of an equally wide array of predation strategies.

But I'm digressing as always.
Great paper, and well done to everybody involved!

Friday, January 29, 2016

World Class Liveaboard Adventures!

Great stuff - and the variety is simply spectacular!

Mike Ball Dive Expeditions are obviously a member of Global Shark Diving, your one stop shop for responsible, safe and long term sustainable Shark diving!


Thursday, January 28, 2016

Tributes to Rusi!

We are all very grateful for this.
Thank you Jayne and Michael for having collected these touching tributes to the great late man.
Please click for detail.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Guadalupe - new Shenanigans!

Oh for crying out loud - again?

This is really very disappointing.
I see at least three breaches of the regulations:
  • 6.13 It is strictly forbidden to offer any bait or to feed great white sharks from inside the cages (= no hang baits attached to the cages, sharks may not eat the bait, and definitely no hand feeding).

  • 6.15 The operator responsible shall terminate the diving practice of any person who allows any part of the body to extend outside the cage or who tries to leave the cage when it is submerged.

  • 6.16 It is strictly forbidden to touch the sharks.
And of course this was in no way some spontaneous occurrence.
This was planned and protracted, as indicated by the different bait (at least one head and one patty) and different divers; and it is equally obvious that some of the crew must have been complicit and as a minimum, provided the ropes and the bait - or may the bait handler and Shark grabber be a crew member and not a customer?

Be it as it may, some arses need kicking! 
Clients are clients, and some of them will always try to push the limits, and promise extra tips for special favors; but reckless crew and possibly even skippers that endanger the clients and harm the investors by jeopardizing the reputation and ultimately, the economic survival of the business need to get fired.

Mind you, just my 2c.
To be continued no doubt!

PS - more thoughts here.
PPS - check out the comment by the owner of the vessel in the comments section!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Sharks are Cool!

Michael with the great late Paul Walker - source.

Love this video!

Well done Michael.
Enjoy - or maybe not! :)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Trip Advisor - 200 Reviews!


Check this out!
So first and foremost, a big Vinaka Vakalevu to everybody who took the time to pen a report.

And the negative ones?
They basically come to the conclusion that the owner is an asshole which a) is certainly true and b) the owner, knowing the circumstances, wears with pride! Having said that, the owner has definitely mellowed - and thanks to mouth-to-mouth propaganda, we're also getting to host far fewer jackasses! :)

So here's to that.
And to many more stellar, insightful and sometimes, really very witty reviews by our customers!

Phantom Divers join Global Shark Diving!


Needless to say that I'm elated.
Ever since I started blogging, about the then problems in Playa del Carmen, e.g. here, Chino and his group of passionate Shark divers at Phantom Divers have been advancing in leaps and bounds.
Thanks to the remarkable progress both in terms of conservation but also protocols, Playa is now  among the very best and most sustainable Shark diving destinations anywhere. This has taken an enormous effort both personally but also very much financially, and I must really commend them for their unwavering tenacity and passion.
So welcome aboard my dear friends - this is highly welcome and highly deserved!

GSD will of course continue expanding, albeit slowly.
We are really fully beholden to our mission and principles, meaning that potential candidates need to undergo a  rigorous vetting process where they must above all document a proven track record in every single one of our principles - and lemme tell you, with every candidacy requiring the consensus by all members, that is a tall order indeed!

But, we're already working on the next candidacy!
Onward and Upward!

HT: Eli, for having made the introductions. Thanks brother! :)

Friday, January 22, 2016

Sustainable Shark Diving - Funds needed!

Eco-Bulls - stellar pic by Danny!

Now Rick has run into a brick wall.
He writes,
The Sustainable Shark Diving website is (according to the web designer) ready to launch. I think it looks good from a design perspective. But I'm still not happy with the reviews and rating functionality. It needs some tweaking to provide what I hoped to have. But I need to find a coder who can actually program for that, i.e. code the final steps of the rating functionality so it is performing as I hoped. 

I set a goal of $4K which should get me through the immediate coding needs and also provide some upkeep funds.
I really have not compiled a thorough business plan for this yet, but I think this tranche of funds will allow me to complete the database coding, add the site optimization I’d like to see - and even throw a bit to an intern to help administer the site over the course of the year provided the use really takes off.
I suggested he try crowd funding, and here is the page.
Sustainable Shark Diving is going to be the Trip Advisor for Shark ecotourism, and will be invaluable in propelling the global Shark diving industry towards a more long term sustainable model, much along the lines of the Global Shark Diving alliance of responsible operators.

If you care about Shark ecotourism, please do make a contribution.
Rick is 100% legit and I am convinced that he will manage any funds with great circumspection, integrity and absolute honesty.
For what it's worth, we support him one hundred percent.

Thank you very much.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Virtual GWS!

This is actually pretty cool.

I must confess that at first it left me kinda underwhelmed.
But then I discovered that one can change the POV with the cursor, and this even when the video is paused, leading to a completely different experience.

Enjoy - and don't forget to set it to highest quality!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Shark Bytes!

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’.
Hear hear!
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.

Required reading!

JASA Shark Expedition!



Oldie but very much goodie.
Of course Jimmy is the ultimate image freak geek, and loves but above all, understands his Sharks like no other - and it sure shows! 
And yes, JASA are obviously a member of Global Shark Diving, your one stop shop for responsible, safe and long term sustainable Shark diving!

Enjoy - and you can find one or two more videos right here! :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Guadalupe - the Regulations!

Click for detail!
My bad.

After so much ranting, I've totally missed them!
So here they are, in English and Spanish -  and they could not be clearer!
Do read them and pass them around!

I must really say that I like them.
Yes they are a tad stifling, possibly unnecessarily so - and no I'm definitely not alluding to the ban on going cageless and taking selfies etc which I very much applaud!
But this is after all a biosphere, meaning that the special circumspection is totally warranted. And after all the shenanigans by the shark molesting bimbettes all the way to the adrenaline junkies and their enablers, it is also not unsurprising that the pendulum has swung the other way. The really good news being that it will not at all affect business as instead of being suckered into the Great Slide (we miss you buddy!), the operators will instead be able to continue to offer an awesome, safe and long term sustainable experience with a likely minimal ecological impact, like it should be.

And the dreaded enforcement?
Looks like even there, progress has been remarkable. 
Two completely unrelated sources report that Ritter and his sharkitarians have been prevented from exiting the cage, incidentally much to the dismay of the poor googly eyed suckers that were coldly refused any refund, mind you by Ritter and Wirodive. 
Which begs the question, are they still fans?

And the other perpetrators?
Dunno - but by the same token, for the first time, I am really hopeful. 
And yes, mark this day in your diary! :)

So here's to that - and very well done indeed!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Friday, January 08, 2016

CO2 and Sharks - Paper!

Read this.

Granted it's only one species, and the tests have been performed in a lab - but it stands to reason that under the same environmental conditions, those effects will be at least similar in the wild, and this for all Sharks.

Long story short?
Where many Shark conservationists are still stuck in species conservation (or god forbid, in finning bans), we really need to shift to a more holistic view that takes into consideration all the major threats to the marine ecosystem. Like Jaguars will not be able to survive without jungles, even the best protected Sharks will not survive if we continue to destroy their habitats and annihilate their prey.

You may want to re-read this.
It's old and thankfully, there has been progress on several fronts; and still, I believe it to be correct in its broad outlines - especially when it comes to the part about sustainability, and the need to refrain from uninformed activism and radical positions!
As in e.g. Jupiter - boy has that been an education!

I'm digressing as always.
Enjoy the paper!


Great video!
This was shot aboard the luxurious Nautilus Belle Amie, the new flagship of Nautilus Explorer & Nautilus Belle Amie. The Nautilus Group are a member of Global Shark Diving, your one stop shop for responsible, safe and long term sustainable Shark diving.


Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Running of the Bulls - Full House!


Didn't I say that they would be running soon!
We're still being niggled by the tail end of Ula, and diving has been challenging - but the action is fast and furious, with more and more of the big females popping by for a snack. Already sighted: Crook, Hook, Bum, Monica, Chica, Bumphead, Curly, Maite, Pointer, Blunt, Tip, Nani, Shorty, Junior, Fold, Nick, Pecker, Mrs. Jaws, Lefty, Saddle, Steps and Taryn - and this in only 3 days of Shark diving!

And the mating?
I'm still stumped as all we see are healed scars, like the ones on Nick at the top. And even more surprisingly, today we were visited by none other than Whitenose, meaning that the party may well be already over!
Or may this be merely a temporary lull like last time?

We shall see!
In any case, we're already at 45+ bulls, tendency very much increasing.

Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Rodney Fox Highlights!

Amazing Shark action - source.

Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions are a member of Global Shark Diving, your one stop shop for responsible, safe and long term sustainable Shark diving.

Sunday, January 03, 2016

Boomerang Cyclone?

Looks like we're in for some trouble.
If you play with the time line at the bottom, you will discover that Cyclone Ula that has been afflicting Tuvalu before hammering Vava'u and Southern Lau will not dissipate in the south like anticipated but instead track back all the way to Viti Levu and then depart towards Vanuatu and finally, New Cal.
Amazing to say the least.

Well, it's only a forecast so this may change - hopefully!
But for now, that's what we got to plan for.
You know what to do!