Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Shark Bites - Dark Little Secret!

And talking of shit happening.

Michael has unearthed a great post by Eli.
Yes indeed, Shark feeders get bitten all the time - not because those Sharks want to eat them but principally due to errors by feeders and Sharks alike; and much more rarely, because the Sharks do it intentionally, this mainly due to agonism = when they are frightened and/or frustrated and/or cranky and/or aggressive - to wit.

I've heard about this first hand.
This is the old Shark feed in Avatoru, Rangiroa, and the dude had it certainly coming for his inane habit of provoking the Silvertips by literally sitting on the bait and poking them with a metal pointer whenever they would approach - until one day, one of the Sharks decided to show him who is boss!

But I'm digressing as usual.
The fact is that in the vast majority of times, the feeders get away completely unscathed, this mainly because the smart ones are suitably protected - and if not, or should the protection fail, some good hemostatic dressing, a good emergency tourniquet, well-trained emergency responders (!) and a good emergency and evacuation protocol (!) will most likely avert the worst.
And if not, not - so let's not be stupid!

Let's go Shark diving - responsibly!

Enjoy Eli's post!

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Haitourismus und Wissenschaft!

Für undere deutschsprachigen Freunde!

Danke Tom!
Dieses ist mal wieder saubere Arbeit: interessant, informativ, schön bebildert und vor allem wissenschaflich korrekt! 

Viel Spass beim lesen!



In case you've missed it - amazing!
Story here - enjoy!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Hawaii - Shark Feeding and Shark Bites?

Yes this stupidity will eventually get you bitten - click for detail. Source.

Here we go again...
Have you seen, and above all, watched this?

Yes those Sharks are definitely conditioned.
And like Michael, I am 100% certain that they are being fed, be it via suspended bait crates and/or by feeding surreptitiously off the bow like described here, and/or by chumming secretly via the bilge pump like I've been told on the qt.  But whilst I concur with most of what Michael has posted, there are still aspects where I strongly differ.

So there.

First things first: shit happens.
Baited Shark dives are risky and despite of even the most stringent protocols, bites do happen - yes, even to us! But as long as one carries the adequate first aid equipment and as long as the staff are adequately trained (in client relations, too!), those situations can most certainly be managed. In fact and in general terms, Shark dives remain orders of magnitude safer than SCUBA, and regulation is really the very last resort - so let's not get carried away, the more as attributing causality is always gonna be more than a stretch!
And anyway, let's never forget that the folks who generally feed and condition Sharks are not the few Shark diving operators but the thousands of fishermen and spearos - with the known consequences e.g. here and here among many, many such examples!

And in this particular case?
The above matters little as Shark provisioning in Hawaii is illegal both in state waters and according to Domeier, in federal waters, too - tho in view of little Marco's recent and ultimately aborted legislative attempt, I find the latter rather surprising? Be it as it may, it is shit legislation and back then I've been opposing it vigorously - but that was in favor of Stefanie's Hawaii Shark Encounters who keep their clients in total safety inside of a floating cage.

Nowadays I see things quite a bit differently.
Partly for these reasons - but I must also confess, very much also because of Ramsey and her retinue of self promoting Shark molesters!
I'm the first one to grant that her heart is probably in the right place - but for me to ever respect, let alone endorse them, the whole exercise is just too slick and vain and profit-driven, and there are just too many inconsistencies and outright falsehoods, starting with her own name, to her claimed academic credentials, to her claimed research, to her claimed conservation achievements (no they did not "introduce" that legislation, some senators did), and the list gets longer every time I bother to look.
But apart from all that misleading BS, the principal problem remains that those disrespectful media $tunt$ are making a whole generation of young people want to jump into the water and hug sharks - and that those folks continue to spawn and endorse copycat commercial undertakings, see e.g. the Florida troglodytes, or this stupidity featuring this absolute genius in French Polynesia, or the persistent illegal shenanigans in Guadalupe, or little Riley who still just doesn't get it.
And whereas I just personally despise all that gratuitous Shark molesting, I also personally believe that throwing unprotected snorkelers into open ocean is not long term sustainable tourism - especially not in baited conditions where they immediately become part of the food chain!

Which brings me straight to that Shark bite.
The victim has since outed herself in a highly scripted statement and all I can say is, q.e.d. - may she learn the obvious lessons, stop following pied pipers and above all, stop molesting Sharks!

Let's go Shark diving - respectfully!

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Face-to-Face with Dakuwaqa!

It is definitely always Shark O'Clock on Shark Reef - click for detail!

Great stuff!

Behold Joanna's post about her visit with us.
Joanna is the current Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society Australasian Rolex Scholar, and we are proud that she continues in the hallowed tradition of making Fiji the first destination in her year-long itinerary. Should you be interested, you can follow her adventures on Facebook, Instagram and on her blog.

Vinaka Joanna.
From the team, we wish you fair winds and following seas - and above all, heaps of adventure, inspiration and fun! And to our dear friend, the indefatigable and adorable Jayne who had to sit this one out: get well, and see you real soon!

Enjoy Joanna's post!

Friday, May 17, 2019

What Shark is this??

Notice the caudal peduncle - click for detail!


This is from the second 15m dive at Shark Reef a few days ago. 
For once I was not diving, and the footage is courtesy of Martin who is here for his yearly Bull Shark fix. I'm being told that the Shark was curious and circled above - but with a gaggle of Bulls dominating the feed, she remained wary and never tried to join the mêlée. 

At a reported 3 meters in length, this is a big Shark.
When they first told me, they stated that she was an emaciated, sickly Bull Shark - but from the video I can instead discern that despite of the tumor and the buckled first dorsal, she is in rather good shape. I also notice the elegant sinuous way she moves, and the keel-like bulge on her caudal peduncle, both of which are not at all diagnostic of Bull Sharks, sickly or otherwise.

So what is this?
Years ago there was another mystery Shark with a similar shape of the caudal peduncle. Back then, somebody stated that it was a Dusky - but that's a Shark living off continental shelves and we are obviously on an island, so today I'm rather skeptical.

I got my thoughts but would love to hear yours.
Opinions welcome - here on the blog and not on Facebook please!

Thank you!

PS! - May, 2022: having now sadly witnessed several moribund bull sharks, I can state with absolute certainty that this is one of those - likely Lumpy who had a large tumor and was getting ever more emaciated last time I saw her. Those Bulls are real badasses and will fight, and even compete for food til the very end.

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Beqa Adventure Divers presents!

Thank you Tom.

As always he is delivering in spades.
Behold his awesome little promo video, and blog post about our latest conservation initiative, My Fiji Shark that illustrate perfectly his rapid progression from researcher to professional conservation photographer and scientific journalist to now also filmmaker and editor. 

As a quick reminder.
This is all about assisting Government in the implementation of two key commitments it has made at the 2017 Ocean Conference: Fiji-wide Shark and Ray conservation and management where stuff is happening behind the scenes; and improved coastal fisheries management where we have already embarked on an aggressive schedule of anti-poaching patrols together with the Ministry of Fisheries.

Big kudos to the project team.
Our stalwart Peni and Mans are looking back on close to a decade of scientific and awareness work for BAD, and it certainly shows both here but also in our publications and in the reviews where their passionate surface interval talks are consistently being praised by our customers.
Guys, Vinaka Vakalevu for your commitment, dedication and loyalty.

And then there is Tashi Blue.
Our indefatigable Conservation Director has hit the ground running, and My Fiji Shark is entirely her very own, very personal initiative from initial concept to weeks upon weeks of preparations to final implementation.
In fact she has, and continues to personally curate every single aspect from the stellar logo to having personally built the entire website including every single description of the Sharks, every single element of the Adoption Pack and every single Upgrade. And now that everything is up and running, she personally writes every single post on Facebook and Instagram and every single report, personally shoots and edits every single video, personally sources every single garment and bespoke jewelry and personally manages every aspect of outreach and marketing, like she will then personally oversee all disbursement and related conservation initiatives once they will finally eventuate. Talk about unbridled passion, meticulous attention to detail, utmost professionalism and total commitment!
Thank You. I'm proud of you. And I love you.

Enjoy Tom's video!

Please, Adopt Your Shark Now!
Thank you!

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Goodbye, Doc.

Doc and his lovely family. Source.

What a tragedy.
I had been away, and had missed the horrible news of Doc's passing.

No, no eulogy here - others knew him so much better.
We did meet a few times and did like each other, and have corresponded frequently, sometimes also for this blog. My recollection of him can be summarized in "larger than life": brilliantly intelligent; utterly fearless; eminently entertaining and charming, and ludicrously witty; opinionated, authoritative and passionate; zero tolerance for mediocrity, bullshit, posers and charlatans; lived life to the fullest. Mensch.
And he was such a brilliant scientist and mentor who has given us so much and above all, touched so many lives.

And then, there are Jeremy's book, and his synopsis. And of course, the eulogy by the Sharklab, and the many loving testimonials.
And this.

Such a lovely man - I will miss him greatly.
My heart goes out to Marie and the family.

Thursday, May 02, 2019