Saturday, December 28, 2019

TC Sarai!

Oh well.

It is finally slowly departing.
And for you who have asked: Thank You, we all are well and normal operations will resume shortly, hopefully early next week.

Let's go Shark diving!

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Here we go!

Well well, lookee lookee.

I just knew it.
The Winter has been way too warm, to the point that this year's Bull Shark life cycle has been accelerated, with birthing and mating happening 2-3 weeks early. And since the ocean has never quite cooled down, now there is already a lot of hot water up north. And here it is bloody hot.
So hello coral bleaching and cyclones!

This would be a Cat 1 to Cat 2.
Yes it's only a forecast by computer models - but I for one am personally convinced that this time it is accurate, so there. Metvuw here; Windy here; Himawari here!
But who am I to say!

Anyway - you know what to do!

PS - NaDraki here!
PPS - They're expecting the cyclone to slow down as it approaches Fiji, gather strength and become a Cat 3+. Not good for the West and also Kadavu and Southern Lau.
PPPS - it is now a cyclone named Sarai, and continuing to intensify.

PPPS - not good.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019


Click for detail!

Once again I'm mighty relieved.
As always, this is for you El Diego!

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Guadalupe - I stand with Mike!

Read this and then, watch this  pathetic shit.
I'm being asked to comment, so there - though for you who are eagerly expecting the usual epic pile of blood and gore, I got bad news as the following has been edited by Tashi Blue and is consequently way nicer than the usual fare on this blog.
So sorry! :)

First and foremost, this is obviously very sad.
Stouffer has definitely been grievously injured and may indeed have perished after they managed to shake him free of the cage. But although it sure looks that way, we do not know for sure - and considering that those GWS are incredibly resilient,  he may also have survived against all odds. In fact some guests on that cruise did claim to have seen him again, behaving "strangely", once activities were resumed after the accident.
So fingers crossed that he turns up again in the future.

Mike Lever is a good man and personal friend.
He is a co-founder of GSD and in many personal conversations and decisions I have witnessed, I have found him to be highly ethical, intelligent, professional, and conservation and safety conscious to the max.

But most importantly.
When the authorities issued the new rules, it was actually Mike who first implemented the new cage design - and this incidentally very much against the wishes of some of his clients, see e.g the stupid comments by the insufferable Ms. Cobb right  here!

And this?
CONANP (who  have incidentally done nothing wrong - and have also most certainly taken no bribes!) are clearly mistaken as the relevant measurements are not between vertical bars as wrongly suggested in the infographic here.
Instead, there must be no more than 35 centimeters between horizontal bars as clearly stated in the regulations (= 5.6) here and here, and in the legally binding “Wildlife Sighting Permits” from SEMARNAT.
Now you know - you're welcome!
And guess what.
The distance between the horizontal bars of the cage of the Nautilus UnderSea is fully compliant!
Detail detail - but it is all-important!
In brief, the fact of the matter is that Mike Lever's cages are fully compliant, and that claiming anything otherwise  is defamation pure and simple.

And just to be clear: there was no fault by the crew, either.
That Shark was clearly interested in something or somebody inside the cage and decided to change course and charge the cage, twice, entirely voluntarily = it is crystal clear that there was no error in bait handling, no teasing, no goading, nor any other nefarious human behavior leading to the entrapment of the Shark. In fact several experts testify that this is unusual behavior - tho considering that this is a predator and a male, I'm personally not terribly surprised to witness what to me looks like aggressive behavior!
In any case, this is clearly just a freak accident and incredibly bad luck.

Which brings me straight to those pathetic FB posts.
The dude is some insignificant animal molesting macho self promoter who however appears to have great media outreach in Mexico. I note that despite of claiming to be a conservation activist, or whatever, he has never done anything for Mexico's Sharks despite of the country's infamous Shark fishing tradition that is specifically leading to the demise of not one but many of those endangered and protected GWS in Baja.

In fact this was his comment on the Solmar accident.
IMPRESIONANTE huh - and what about him and his YouTubers pals illegally feeding from the cages to attract the GWS who then slam into them. Nice, respectful marketing, too!
HipĆ³crita anybody?

But that was then - so why the outrage and media circus now.
And why the appalling xenophobic focus whereby the people's anger is being directed more at Mike's nationality than at his claimed breach of the rules.
Let's maybe look at some circumstantial evidence shall we.
There is the issue of the origin of that video.
This is not the footage from a single camera but actually, it is a small edit from two cameras filming from two different cages. Having been shown this precise edit a while ago, I know for a fact that there's only one possible provenance, and that is from the Nautilus Fleet itself.

And bingo.
Having looked and also asked questions, there's clearly one disgruntled employee who  has a big axe to grind, had access to the video and disposes of good contacts to the media - and lo and behold, she is indeed busy running her foul little mouth behind the scenes.

Yes she did indeed once again manage to get fired.
But not because of some nefarious conspiracy by Mike but instead, for her unbecoming public behavior when she was partaking in a cruise on the NBA as an employee - and yes there are plenty of witnesses to that = you staunch defenders may want to reconsider your position as right now you are frankly looking like total suckers!
BUT, I also notice that it is asserted that
she stated clearly that this was an accident and not the result of human negligence. She also stated that the vessel’s cages are compliant with regulatory requirements and that the crew did everything possible to save the shark, while ensuring the safety of the divers. She did everything, ethically and professionally...!
And then there would be little media man Mauricio.
He doesn't appear to mind helping mooching foreigners as long as they do his bidding - but I hear that he is not amused by Mike's continued collaboration, and support of Domeier and Nicole, and by Mike's opposition to the mooching Sharkwater.
And, he is some sort of consultant to the park authorities who were given the footage. So may the leak have originated with him - and are we really to believe that he does not know the precise rules he helped draft? Questions questions!
And anyway, everybody knows that he will do anything to please those $harkettes - and in turn, Ocean Barbie is all-too-happy to propagate the lies, the more as doing so will undoubtedly add to her reputation - and trust me, it has!
And so it goes, same old same old!

Anyway - long story short?
This is nothing more than an orchestrated hit job on Mike.
If one can reproach him anything, it is that he has obviously failed to grasp the potential gravity of the situation and missed getting ahead of the curve and media feeding frenzy by being the first to publicly report the accident. But then again, considering that this was clearly a freak accident, there seemed to be be zero upside in engaging in public self flagellation.
So they did what appeared sensible then, ie inform the authorities and hope that the video would not surface - and NO, there was definitely no need, let alone right for the public to see those horrible images!

But be it as it may, it remains crystal clear that Mike objectively holds no blame for what has happened to Stouffer - not legally which is obviously all-important but also not ethically as nothing unusual/nefarious was done by the crew.
  • His cages are fully compliant with the regulations - and therefore, the whole story that he was asked but refused to change their design is nothing but a total fabrication

  • He holds no responsibility for the Shark choosing to slam into the cage

  • There was an observer on board who immediately informed his superiors about the incident - which totally negates the accusation that Mike was trying to hide the accident from the authorities - and why would he. And he has also neither bribed anybody, nor has he lied.
In fact I am sure that he will be fully exonerated.

And then, there needs to be a reckoning.
The way I see it, Ms Domingo is in an ocean of legal trouble.
Mauricio as the stated source of the leaked video edit quite likely too.

The little macho dude?
He is either fully complicit in fabricating and spreading the slanderous lies, or just simply reckless, unprofessional and stupid for allowing himself to be used. But he is also gleefully milking this story for the advancement of his own reputation as activist and media influencer = $$$.
And for that alone, were I Mike, I would sue his sorry ass for his patently brazen and reckless attempt to destroy my credibility and livelihood  which only serves to deprive Mexico of millions in Shark eco-tourism revenue, and thousands of shark divers from realizing their dreams to observe these majestic creatures.
But that's obviously entirely up to Mike.

To the smirking competitors, THINK.
This is quickly morphing into a runaway train that may well endanger the industry as a whole. Whether you like it or not, and whether you like Mike or not: you're all in this together. So be smart, stop the backstabbing and show some public solidarity. And once it blows over, you can resume hostilities.
But not right now - and anyway, you know the man and know he did not do it.

And the pathetic media frenzy?
It is what it is and like always, it'll blow over - but to you all-knowing couch farting Shark tourism experts and self-appointed criminal investigators out there who know NOTHING but continue to regale everybody with your ultracrepidarian diarrhea: scripta manent, and we shall most certainly remember.
And yes I know I know....

Remains the question of those cages.
I notice that those idiotic proponents of out-of-cage diving with GWS, foremost of which that horrible slimeball Amos, are using this to slam cage diving as being bad for the Sharks.

Obviously there needs to be change.
Rules or no rules - over the years, a few Sharks have died and several have been injured during caged dives, and that is just not acceptable.

But this can be remedied.
E.g. by even more stringent bait handling rules and above all, by even smaller cage openings all the way to using sturdy aluminum mesh like they do in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
And to avoid the Sharks getting in and/or the people leaning out, those large openings for the photographers' big dome ports may have to go completely, or be replaced with some sort of transparent viewing ports like in  Hawaii - and fuck the vociferous likes of Ms. Cobb who are financially irrelevant anyway.

But going cageless is nothing but a fool's bet.
Private ventures by intrepid thrill seekers, and professional shoots are one thing - but let there be no doubt that when it comes to commercial Shark tourism, cage diving is the only way to conduct safe and long term sustainable dive operations with White Sharks.
In brief, the cages need to stay - and like I said many, many times, let's please not have the inmates run the asylum.

Let's go Shark diving - sustainably!

To be continued no doubt.

PS - personal declaration, or whatever, by Domingo here = much personal ass covering and vindictive verbiage  - but I equally notice that she does not state that the cage was illegal, or that the crew did anything wrong.
Her assertion that it was she who first informed the authorities because Mike would not is a bold faced lie = during that trip, there was an observer from CONANP who immediately informed his superiors - and no, it was not at all clear, and still isn't, that the Shark had perished.
Plus, again, she was not fired in connection with this accident but instead, for her conduct whilst on a cruise on the NBA - which is of zero importance here anyway.

PPS - Domeier here. Agree - but there can, and should be improvements.

PPPS - Ramon  trying to get his 10' of fame here. Ever since Nicole, he is desperate to remain relevant, with little success - and this total stupidity only makes him look like a cheap opportunist.

PPPPS - Patric here. Agree and disagree. 
YES - getting ahead of the curve would possibly have been good - tho back then it wasn't at all clear that the Shark had likely perished (and even now we do not NOW - see Craig's comments below) = there was most certainly no perceived need for a public mea culpa
NO - right now when everybody is hyperventilating, remaining silent is the way to go. 
AND - there will undoubtedly be a reckoning = keep watching this space!

PPPPPS - truly remarkable comments by Craig Ferreira right here. Could not agree more, see above!

PPPPPPS - a friendly GWS cage diving operator writes,
FYI Re: Cage design, I found that shark penetration problems are largely resolved in the positioning, or complete removal of the (trapping) VERTICAL bars within the viewing/camera gaps ... in particular in the corners. Our vertical bars are centrally positioned in the viewing gaps and nosey sharks slide out sideways through the corners.
Excellent suggestion - thanks!

PPPPPPPS -  Craig again here. To cite another authoritative voice,
The sad thing is that the uproar created around this incident does affect shark cage diving around the world, a non-consumptive tourism activity, whilst shark demersal longliners are decimating our shark populations and this where the focus should be. In South Africa, we are seeing a real impact on our shark populations and even our protected white sharks are accidentally caught, but not reported. If only the social media warriors would not be hypocrites and focus on the overfishing versus cage diving which in South Africa is the only official monitoring and conservation of this species taking place
PPPPPPPPS - more pathetic xenophobic showboating, and outright defamation by Allende here. 

PPPPPPPPPS - gloves are definitely off. Talk about being a total hypocrite. But, ride bene chi ride ultimo = keep watching this space!

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