Saturday, August 1, 2009

Douglas Kiesling - Whale Shark Video

In a controversial video bound to raise a few eyebrows underwater photographer Douglas Kiesling takes us into the world of unregulated shark encounters:

Here is the video from this past weekend while I was out on location in the
Gulf of Mexico with our Southwest Florida Weather Paparazzi, Brian. We were working on a Coral Reef video project when we encountered a pair of the largest sharks in the world, Whale Sharks. The first Whale Shark was about 25 feet in length and the second Whale Shark was at least 30 feet in length.

The most amazing thing that happened was that when the group of divers we were with in the water got near the larger Whale Shark, it stopped and let everyone rub its back and head. It acted as if the divers were there to clean it and must have thought we were a cleaning station. This gave everyone that was in the water with the larger Whale Shark a once in a lifetime experience since this was out in the wild and is an extremely rare event.

In the video below, I shot the footage in the water while Brian was on the boat and shot the topside footage. That is until put his camera away and jumped into the water with the rest of us to swim with the gentle giants.

Guadalupe Island Mystery - Leachia dislocata

The great Guadalupe Island Squid Mystery seems to be solved with an email we received this morning and it looks like we might be contributing to science.

Aloha Annie et al.,

The squid is Leachia dislocata . It is the third arms that are elongated, not the fourth but this is difficult to tell from the photograph. The squid looks (pigmentation) like it is close to maturity. I hope that it was preserved. It is a valuable specimen and should be sent to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History (c/o Dr. Eric Hochberg).

Best wishes,

Editors Note: The specimen was saved, and then thrown out last night as it was sitting in the chefs freezer on board the MV Horizon. The good news is the crew went "dumpster diving" as soon as we called and our little Leachia dislocata has been brought back for the nick of time.

Science ain't pretty sometimes but the crew of the MV Horizon and Shark Diver will go to almost any lengths to help it along.

The Paxton Brothers - Shark Fishing and Conservation

Shark conservation efforts typically run the extremes, like many complex user and socially emotional animal issues. Within the conservation community stances like The Humane Society "no take" to other "catch and release" groups seem at times at odds with the overall issue of saving sharks.

One duo, the Paxton Brothers, take a middle road. Acknowledging the rights of fishermen to catch sharks, at the same time pushing for strong catch and release methods and tagging protocols.

Change begins when you recognise the validity of your conservation subject to do what they do.

We support the Paxton Brothers for the middle road in shark conservation. Changing habits is a long term investment in time, outreach, and understanding.

Shark Diver