Monday, October 12, 2009

Amos Nachoum - Lies, Deception, and Shark Diving

Amos Nachoum is one of the industries best known underwater photographers. He is a part time group leader and shark diver.

Amos Nachoum is also a confirmed liar.

This post is about The Big Lie that Amos told in 2008/9. A lie about his intentions, his honor, his company, and his "one" shark diving trip to Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

To be as fair as I can - I was once a fan of Amos Nachoum and his underwater work which spans many years and many countries. Now, I am left saddened, and frankly outraged with a man who lied to me personally, and lied repeatedly to an entire shark diving fleet of operators in 2009.

"The Big Lie," was Amos Nachoum's sole desire to take scuba divers out of cages at Isla Guadalupe to join him for what he has coined "The Everest of Shark Diving," face to face encounters with great white sharks. To be clear Amos is not a "shark diving operator" at Isla Guadalupe, he is a scuba guide, dropping into dive sites worldwide for quick expeditions and then on to his next sites with paying clients in tow.

The cost? $5900 USD per diver. The other not so big lie, more of an abject deception really, was the fact that Amos's total time on site with Isla Guadalupe's white sharks amounted to a grand total of three full days in 2008.

Let's look at that. After three days in 2008 Amos Nachoum decided that he was comfortable enough with the small sampling of animals he had met to turn around and offer guided "out of cage shark trips" for $5900 USD per diver. Amos has been diving with whites in South Africa, but as anyone will tell you in the animal encounter business, each site is unique. Each animal group unique. What is acceptable animal protocol at one site is often quite different at another.

For Amos, three days in the company of white sharks at a completely new dive site to him made him an "out of cage expert." For others who have been in the company of these same animals for many years there's a strong belief on a commercial level there should be a barrier between sharks and humans. With good reason.

This is where the Big Lie came to play, as Amos began quietly selling his "Everest Shark Adventures" at dive shows and in backrooms, he started encountering push back from existing operations like mine. Push back in the form of phone calls and face to face meetings with Amos detailing why he should not attempt out of cage "commercial level" shark diving at this site.

The people holding these meetings with Amos were not random dive folks they were industry peers, vested shark diving operators with years of local site knowledge and years of interactions with these animals.

With each meeting Amos became more adamant, stridently proclaiming that he had "no intention" of going cageless in 2009. Amos insisted that phone calls and flyers being made and submitted by him to random scuba divers all over the world "were mistakes," or "incorrect assumptions."

The "Amos Circus" as it came to be known, came to a full boil with me personally this summer (2009) when a phone call out of the blue turned my blood to ice. Amos Nachoum on an airline flight encountered a woman he did not know. In the short conversation that ensued he discovered she was a diver, he whipped out a flyer as asked her to "join him" on a cageless encounter with white sharks to Isla Guadalupe in 2009, at the discounted rate of $4500.

Amos Nachoum was marketing his "Everest Shark Diving Trips" to a woman he did not know and who was only Open Water certified with perhaps 60 hours of diving under her belt. I called Amos immediately. He denied meeting the woman at first, then he denied offering her the "Everest Marketing Flyer."

Amos demanded that I personally apologise to him in public for defaming "his honor and his company" repeating, once again, that he has not going cageless at Isla Guadalupe...ever.

Here's my post.

We have come to understand via a series of emails this week that Amos Nachoum lied to everyone in 2009 and to myself for what appears to be $5900 per diver and a chance to be known as "The Everest of Shark Diving Guide" on his second three day stint to Isla Guadalupe with white sharks.

So? you might say, everyone lies, why take this out on Amos?

Amos Nachoum's behaviour gets to the heart of the shark diving industry, pushing the envelope, and what should or should not be considered safe shark encounters on a commercial level. We have blogged about this over and over, and for the most part the industry is listening.

All except Amos, who as I have come to understand is now "on the offensive" attacking all the operators on site in emails, in a desperate attempt to head off being called out as a "deceptive shark diving guide" and yes, a "bald faced liar."

There's a reason Amos lied to the industry, he knew what he was doing after only three previous days on site was "beyond the limits," he also knew what he was doing was wrong. There's no other reason to lie, lie, and lie again to everyone who asked about his "one escorted trip" this season unless he was fearful of any direct confrontation with operators.

To say I am disappointed with the man is an understatement on many levels.

Mostly due to the fact Amos is so willing to put divers and white sharks in ultimately no win scenarios over the long haul. Yes, he "got lucky" this time but over the long haul the deadly combination of random sharks, random divers, and bad fortune will see this "Everest of Shark Diving," come crashing down with the sharks as the ultimate losers in Amos Nachoum's self made "Faustian $5900 Everest Bargain."

Amos, you can take that to the bank.

As for apologies, I believe sir, you now owe the entire industry one. You can start by posting it on your homepage for the next 6 months - or not. The shark diving industry now knows who and what you are, and I, for one, am sorry to have uncovered it first hand.

Patric Douglas CEO


RTSea said...

Having seen the flyer promoting the cage-less dive, knowing the people Patric references in his post, and having seen some of Amos' denials in print, I was always skeptical and for one simple reason: look at his business model. Amos' entire business is based on big animal/open water experiences. So why would he offer a trip that was not in keeping with his primary claim to fame and no different from what is currently being offered by the other Guadalupe operators?

I still adhere to the position that commercial shark diving operations - those that cater to paying customers - have an obligation to provide an exciting experience that operates under strict safety protocols, in accordance with established government regulations.

Peter said...

amos should be ashamed for playing god with the lives of people and sharks.

it is an established fact he had only three days prior experience with whites at isla guadalupe and that does not make amos a shark expert it makes him an ongoing laibility.

so much for safety.

three days? really amos?

Jim Wells said...

This is no surprise. Amos has a looong history in the dive world of doing stuff like this.

For him it is about money first.

George said...

As a diver, the fact that he's putting the whole industry at Guadalupe at risk, by essentially throwing the regulations out the window (not to mention putting other divers at risk), Amos' actions are disappointing to say the least.

Peter said...

As a diver with exactly three days worth of experience in these waters with these sharks you mean?

George said...


The "as a diver" was referring to me, not Amos. I meant that in the respect that I think he has done a disservice not only to the industry, but to fellow divers, as well. I have 9 days of diving experience at Guadalupe and know better than to think it's a good idea to let anybody, who is willing to pay $5900, out in open water there.

Anonymous said...

Looking through this post I cannot help but feel that something of a double standard is being applied. While on the one hand, this site states that the shark diving industry has huge financial tourism dollars at stake, yet on the other, open water swimming with the sharks is considered shocking. Is this because Amos is the first to do so rather than other dive operators? This entire blog is affiliated with, and run by commercial shark dive enterprises, so I cannot help but feel a degree of cynicism in relation to this response. My response is merely reflecting upon the outrageous level of righteous indignation expressed in this blog by a commercial operator.
Were one to google shark diving, Big Animal Expeditions doesn't even appear for many many pages, but rather, one is confronted by "Dive and Snorkel with Great Whites in South Africa" etc.
In the resume of film in relation to Shark Divers, was there ever any episode of open water swimming with the animals? I can't help but wonder.
My point is, that risk taking is a decision of the individual. Encountering the great gorillas of Africa, going on safari, ice climbing etc, all entail risk and presumably we weigh up that risk when deciding, as adults.
I am profoundly disappointed at the lack of objectivity, and individual attacks which have only served to place your own motives in question in relation to a business competitor.
If a moratorium was called for to review industry standards, using open water diving as a basis for such a gathering that would be one thing. To attack someone is another. I think he was safer swimming with the sharks.


Shark Diver said...


Thanks for your post. Let me be crystal clear here.

Amos has exactly 6 full days of experience with these animals at this dive site.

6 (Six) 1-6

Prior to this latest stunt Amos had three days experience with these animals.

3 (three) 1-3

Does that make any sense to you?

It does not for the vast majority of people who asked, begged, Amos not to take divers outside of the cages on a commercial level.

As Amos coined the term the "Everest of Shark Diving," let's run with that.

Everest guides take safety seriously. You have to spend years on Everest to be considered a guide. Not just on mountains all over the world, EVEREST.

Credible Everest guides know the mountain, the hazzards, and the terrain.

You would not spend three days at base camp as an experienced mountain "climber" and then decide to be a Everest guide. Nor would you play the "assumption of safety game."

Amos put requests, questions, and demands from multiple industry peers and actual Guadalupe Operators (8 plus years worth of experience) aside to sand bag a dive site for $5900 per diver with three site days worth of previous shark experience here.

You want to defend that go ahead.

Is this about something as trite as money, bookings? Not for me.

This is about a man who lied to everyone, misrepresented himself to credible operators with VALID site and commercial diving concerns.

I love the dive industry. Whenever anyone points out serious safety concerns, or serious dive issues the twin dive industry defenses come out:

1. You're just looking to take business away from that guy.

2. What about assumed risk?

Three days site experience "Max" does not make you a local Guadalupe shark operator, or an Everest guide.

As for not finding anything about this trip on Google, read the blog posts,click the links, and look at the images.

Amos was careful to disguise his intents, and lied about his intentions when confronted. Full stop.

Are these the actions of a man who felt he was in anyway on the right side of a safety issue?

Or perhaps with just three days here Amos knew he was taking huge risks?

No. Amos knew what he was doing when he lied to my face, and told me on his "Honor" he would not take random divers outside of shark cages at Isla Guadalupe in 2009.

What Amos did is on the record now.

Amos said...

For Douglas record and everyone else...

Great white shark diving in the cage and out started much earlier that Douglas have experience.

I started shark diving with Rodney Fox in Australia since 1982 and through the early '90. From that on together with Andre Hartmann and Michael when he was learning from Andre...we all together have been diving numerous of time out of the cage in that "wonderful" water off gansbaii

For the record - and for the people who feel the fear - please stay home and do not stop or place obstacle in front of people and can lead and leading - the fact of the matter is...

After last year - (ten days in the water recorded Douglas) and fine days of safe and successful out of the cage operation - Patric bully me to hold operation - he assembled all the other operators - Solmar V and Nautilus and Horizon - I accepted their wish and suspend operation out of the cage as long as everyone keep the company line - early this year i learned that one of the leading filmmaker is shooting open water with free divers and with GWS in Guadalupe...and the Nautilus providing an elevator going down to 30' while diver hang out on top of the cage - double standard or just privileges???

My operation world wide and in Guadalupe is immaculate and totally safe - in 30 years leading diving expeditions from North Pole to the Antarctica and everywhere in between including with Great White safe - i will repeat again for those who have to say something about me and never been with me - my record is immaculate and my result are the same - over 60% repeat business so your bad mouthing and doubting my leadership - only because you never been in my company.

This is America - free society reach for the stars and touch them if you can - just do not hurt anyone - other wise the the lawyers will get you...yes, I am reaching deep and wide across the ocean what wrong with that? and on the way I make sure that I leave only bobbles. It is indeed hard to be a leader as many people afraid to get out of their own comfort zone and criticizes the leader because they look like couch potato...or something like that...

Patric have only slander and throwing cheap shot at anyone he can - he does not do that to Lawrence or Mike who I just followed - why???

One more thought - what is so nobel in irritating and teasing the sharks close to the cage - making the shark behave and act in a behavior which is not natural or authentic - but for entertainment and money making????? there is no science in angry, irritate shark biting cages...

Shark Diver said...


I am dealing with the facts of my post here.

These are the facts.

1. Your total time at Isla Guadalupe interacting with the great white sharks in 2008 was 3 (three) days.

2. You started selling commercial grade out of cage diving experiences ($5900) to consumers based on three full days of in water site experience.

3. You ignored, then lied to operators, including myself, who contacted you about your plans to take divers with three days worth of site experience outside of shark cages.

That's it. Full stop.

There's nothing more to discuss, debate, hash, ruminate over, or write about.

You sir, lied. I care not to know why you lied, or what lead to you to begin lying, or how it came to pass you might have felt compelled to lie, the fact is you lied to everyone involved here.

Enough said. The world knows.

Please refrain from further postings on this blog.

You once talked to me about "Honor," it is time for you to display that "Honor" and apologise to everyone.

You have transgressed in the shark diving world Amos "pushing the limits" in a place you do not fully know with people and animals who have invested close to a decade of their time and energies to.

How you can justify any of this, publicly trash operators at this site, and continue to debate your position is beyond me.

Janet said...

Wow after going back between Fiji's blog and this one I can see a cat fight brewing. Meow.

Here's where I draw the line.

Amos, as an industry guide and long time business owner you should have cleared all envelop pushing with the local site experts, those with say, a minimum of 5 years of operations.

You owed them that much as a guest with almost no experience in those waters.

To ignore then lie to them in person was his ultimate failure and yes, I checked with other owners not wanting to just take shark divers word. He lied and was deceptive to everyone that much is without doubt.

He should fess up instead of going on the attack, admit his very bad mistake and move on to another dive site.

It's pretty clear what transpired and what got people so angry in the first place no one likes being lied to over dive operations anywhere in the world.

Tom said...

There has to be a name for someone who drops into an established dive site, ignores the requests of the existing operators, lies about his intentions, and then goes on an internet rampage to smear as many people as he can after he gets caught lying?

Been watching this blog for over a year, you guys are rarely wrong.

Anonymous said...

Lies about freediving with a white shark?
Why dont you ask Andre Hartman?
He promised to go freediving with me, but he did not keep his word.
And he hat not even the courage to tell me the truth, he asked his friends to write me an email.
What a bigmouthed loser!