Thursday, July 31, 2008

Blue Sharks Beat the Odds?

This is one of those classic East coast/West coast stories about sharks that fail to address the overall look at the health of a species.

According to Discovery Blue sharks are not as bad off as once thought:

Although many sharks are experiencing population declines of up to 90 percent now, a new study on western North Atlantic blue sharks has found that numbers of the colorful species there are currently down, but not out.

Other reports had concluded that the region's blue sharks were declining by around 60 percent, but the new analysis reduced the estimate by half, finding that populations of the 12.5-foot-long sharks have dropped by only 30 percent since the mid 1950s, when large-scale fishing practices began in that part of the Atlantic.

Editors Note: The main problem with this story is that "localized good news" from a major new source like Discovery gets transmitted to a huge audience. The facts on the ground point to a worldwide Blue shark population that is in serious decline. Especially hard hit off the West coast where these animals have been tracked migrating to Japan and back...mostly migrating to Japan, fewer and fewer animals ever make it back leading to a virtual collapse of the adult population off our shores.

Sushi for Great Whites

Isla Guadalupe as you know, is simply "infested" with great white sharks. This is the last place on the planet you want to be taking a morning swim.

Which makes fishing for Yellowfin tuna here nearly impossible. What you are looking at is an 80lb tuna caught a few seasons ago who was having a really, really bad day.

The single shark bite from this tuna took almost 40lbs of prime grade sushi away (click image). The shark in question was about 14 feet long. Not huge by Guadalupe standards but an impressive critter none the less.

Diane's Marines-From Habbiniyah Iraq

As the CEO of a shark diving company I have been fortunate to meet some simply amazing people over the many years we have been introducing divers to the wild world of sharks.

Until this year-I have not looked forward to meeting any single group of divers more than I have with "Diane's Marines".

As part of an ongoing and increasingly unpopular war back at home these guys are on the front line, putting themselves, their bodies and their lives at serious risk for the rest of us.

This war is a television conflict for the majority of Americans. For people like Diane it's a daily thing. Here's four faces to this war.

Regardless of any personal views you may have for this conflict, you have to admire and respect these guys for the true grit and determination they show on a daily basis. At a time when you're getting your morning coffee and bemoaning the commute to work-these guys are being shelled, shot at, and enduring conditions the rest of us could not begin to imagine.

Remember these guys are doing this 24/7. Take a moment today to honor these guys. It's real, and we're proud of them and their unflinching service.

Cheers,
Patric Douglas CEO
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkdivers.blogspot.com
www.guadalupefund.org
www.islandofthegreatwhiteshark.com
415.235.9410

The U.S Marines Are Coming to Isla Guadalupe

We got a call a few months ago from Diane. She was looking for an adventure for her "Marines".

Turns out Diane is the hub for a group of hard core city rumblers stationed in Iraq and they wanted to go meet some great white sharks when they came back.

Diane had been searching the Internet, spoken with a few "other" shark diving companies and decided after speaking with us-we were just the thing for her boys.

We could not agree more.

Fast forward to last week. We sent a pile of Shark Diver T-shirts, hats and DVD's over to Iraq for these guys and this morning a series of very cool images showed up (click on image and check out the belt-fed grenade launcher on top of that Hummer).

Here's part of the email we got this morning:

"If I told you the trip came up everyday, I'd be lying because it comes up at just about every meal, or after every patrol. Right now we are all kind of working our through the last few miles klicks of this deployment with that vacation in our sites, and of course the layover on the way back to Chicago in Vegas...but mostly the Sharks. Thanks again!"

There's something about Shark Diver gear and weps. We cannot wait to meet these guys, Semper Fi!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Montauk Monster-It's Got a Name!

If it's strange, weird, cool or an Underwater Thrill you'll find it here.

Right now there's nothing more exciting than this ugly critter who washed up on the East coast last week.

Dubbed the "Montauk Monster", this dead whatever has an Internet full of bloggers screaming about secret government labs, Dick Cheney's bastard son, and a good ol' summer hoax...did anyone notice this critters middle finger?

Here's round the clock coverage for you-in case you happen fall into any of the above categories:

1. Gawker.com

2. Huffington Post

Our money is on the hoax and a damn fine one at that. Wonder if we could attach sharkdiver.com to this one? 600,000,000 downloads and counting!

IEMANYA's First Annual Northern California Bash!

We're big fans and supporters of Iemanya Oceanica here at Underwater Thrills: Swimming with Sharks.

So, naturally when they throw a fundraiser, we're there. See you on August 8th:

IEMANYA's First Annual Northern California Bash!

August 8th, 2008
8 o'clock pm
Fuel Restaurant and Lounge
San Jose, California

Join Us For A Special Evening Of Drinks, Raffles and Dancing

Hosted by
Matt Johnston

Buy Your Tickets Here!

Oh Shark Week-What Happened to You?

Sigh. It's come down to this. We all knew it would eventually, and here we are. Last nights Shark Week show was...scratch that, could have been...scratch that.

We don't even know where to start with last nights show "How Not to Become Shark Bait". Overall some great images, but the clown suit, oh, the clown suit!

We'll let reporter and blogger Grant Butler review this show for you. He's got a better way with words and right now we're just all hung up on the damn clown suit and no use to anyone...like the damn clown suit this monkey is wearing right now-what the hell? WHAT THE HELL!?

New Shark Dive Site-Nantucket Island

We got the following email from a new shark diving outfit in Nantucket. For our blog fans on the east coast, your shark diving choices have just grown:

Hey Patric,

I'll be conducting shark dives here in Nantucket every week until the season ends in October. Here are pic from our dive on Sat.

I'm operating on a 23' Grady White privately owned boat. We average 10+ blues a day,1-3 makos, and occasional sightings of dusky, tiger, hammers, and threshers. With this years water temps it is possible to dive in 65 -78 degree water in one day so their is opportunity for multiple species. The big players are Blues & Makos. Been doing this for along time and have the operation down to a science. Like I said we run anywhere from 15 - 30 miles offshore depending on the viz...sharks are guaranteed with us!

The pictures attached are from our dive last Saturday, I will keep you guys updated with new material after each trip.

Much Thanks Shark Diver,
Bryce Rohrer
Contacts
Phone: (203)-273-1748
E-Mail: bryce.rohrer@gmail.com
BLOG: www.brohrer.blogspot.com

4 Reasons to Consider Shark Diving

Shark diving adventures have grown in popularity since 1990 with more operators and more dive sites than ever before. Safety and the understanding of sharks and shark behavior have led this unlikely revolution in scuba diving. Prior to the 90’s almost all species of shark were considered dangerous, even the beautiful Black Tip reef shark which today is the proud star attraction at many Shark Rodeos. Here is a short list of why you should consider a shark diving adventure on your next dive.

1. Safety first. Shark diving Rodeos have set the bar for safety and accessibility. This is when sharks are regularly baited to the same place at the same time with a small amount of fish carcass each day. Not enough to feed the sharks but just enough to keep their interest. Sharks will often come to places where they might get a chance at food. Operations like these have acclimated sharks over the years to the presence of divers. This is your chance to get close and personal with a shark, safely with trained professionals watching over your encounter.

2. Sit back and taken in the view. Caged encounters offer a more exciting way to view some of the top big shark species like the Great White and Tiger sharks. Newer cage designs and larger vessels have lead to an ongoing revolution in big animal encounters. Most operations do not require you to be scuba certified and run operations with either snorkel or with a Hookah or surface supplied air systems. With larger vessels divers can now visit more and more remote and pristine shark sites and offshore islands. The era of long range shark expeditions has just begun.

3. The “Eco Factor”. Shark dive leaders are a wealth of knowledge about the sharks you will be encountering. Operations worldwide are tuning to collaborations with shark research and will often have shark biologists on site as crew available to answer your questions. Dispelling the many negative myths surrounding sharks is the foremost concern of shark diving operations. For years the public have only seen the media’s view of sharks. With the help of trained shark staff and a marine biologist, you’ll come to learn that sharks are in fact in decline worldwide. The rewards of a shark encounter like this will change forever the way divers see big sharks. From the media hyped “killing machine”, to a more subtle understanding of the oceans top apex predators and the roles they play in today’s oceans.

4.Time is running out. “The Great White shark is, more importantly, endangered as the apex predator among fish.” Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, wrote this in response to the unregulated mass killing of sharks worldwide for just their fins. Sharks in the hundreds of millions are being taken each year to fuel the growing shark fin soup trade and many species are on the brink of collapse, never to be seen again. Sadly, shark diving encounters may be providing a last look at some of these magnificent predators that have been on this planet prior to humans. The good news is where ever you’ll find a shark dive company, you’ll also find a tireless champion of the species and with that comes eco protections from a growing chorus of thrilled divers and shark fans alike.

White Shark Tagging-SPOT Tags

Very cool white shark tracking data coming from Dr. Salvador Jorgensen's shark team out of Monterey.

What we know and what is being learned about y.o.y (young of the year) is rewriting the book on the entire Western Pacific white shark story:

Dr. Salvador Jorgensen, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University's Hopkins Marine Station and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, belongs to a group which tags and monitors White Sharks.

Dr. Jorgensen has provided us with the SPOT tag track which was attached to Monterey Bay Aquarium's most recent White Shark resident. June 25th was the last time the research team heard from the SPOT tag. Dr. Joregensen says this is possibly because "water temperatures have increased and the shark may be avoiding the surface, or possibly the tag is no longer working. We can't be sure."

Editors Note: The Sea of Cortez is turning out to be a major player in the long term health of the great white shark population and long term survival of the entire species in the Pacific.

PETA Marketing Message

To PETA regarding your latest ad campaign we're going to take a page from the script of Office Space here.


"Umm yeah, we're going to have to ask you to take that, ahhhhhh, ad down now and, ahhhhh, and go ahead and work though Saturday on another one, m'kay?"

Editors Note: It's not like we have anything against PETA, but this poorly conceived ad campaign serves to makes sharks the "bad guys" once again. Of course PETA knows this already. Perhaps if carrots or eggplants were being harvested for just 5% of their total body weight and the rest of the plant was being dumped on the side of the road by poor illiterate farmers with quasi ties to Asian distributors PETA would be up in arms?

Shark Week-We Got That!

For those of you who will be joining us this year at Isla Guadalupe we thought we would introduce you to some of the "locals" that you'll be meeting this season.

This fellow is called "Fat Tony". For reasons that are obvious, he's also one of the "toughest" white sharks on site (check out the scar above his eye).

We have been lucky enough to dive with him over the past four years, and he's usually the first to join us on any given day.

Not all animals at this pristine and unique site are the same and many have "distinct personalities" that become evident once you spend enough time with them. It's a strange way to look at Great Whites, purported to be the "ultimate killing machines". One week with this simply massive Great White will change the way you look at them, trust us!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Sea Monsters-This Ain't No Unicorn Shark Kids!

We love our blog, especially on days like these.

Today's news, sent into to us by blog reader Dave Harper, is from the Jersey shore-some sort of beaked half pit bull half...WTF!?

We're not exactly sure what this thing is but the image alone is enough to keep us up at night. You just gotta zoom in on the head for that extra creep factor.

Oh, and by the way, if you think this could not possibly wash ashore "as is" we'll remind you of the crazy Unicorn Shark we have been blogging about for the past three months.

The ocean is a scary place kids, always swim faster than your buddy.

Shark Week Gets Dirty-Shark Vivisections?

Mike Rowe's upcoming 2008 Shark Week show will feature an "in depth" look into the mysterious Greenland Shark:

Shark gutting lures TV crew

It's enough to turn you off sushi for good.

In the name of science, University of Windsor's Aaron Fisk hauls monster Greenland sharks out of the frigid Arctic depths, then guts them to see what they had for dinner.

Somebody has to do it, says Fisk. And it's why Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs came calling last spring.

Editors Note: The sharks and film crew were under the guidance of an ongoing research project headed up by the University of Windsor's shark team lead by Dr. Aaron Fisk.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Shark Found in Australian Pool-What? You Expected a Turtle?

We blogged about this months ago and at the time (April 1. 2008) it was a big joke. This mornings news shows you that sometimes-the jokes on you:

SYDNEY (AFP) - A shark was found in a swimming pool at one of Sydney's most popular beaches Friday, apparently swept into the baths by a freak wave.

The one-metre (3.3 foot) shark turned up in a rock pool situated next to the open ocean at Cronulla beach.

Cronulla Surf Lifesaving Club spokeswoman Robyn Cole said fisheries officers netted the shark and released it back into the sea unharmed shortly after members of the public reported its presence in the pool Friday morning.

"It was quite calm, just swimming happily up and down at one end of the pool," she told AFP.

"It's funny, though, because we have swimmers who come here at 6am every morning to do laps. It's still dark then and they mustn't have even noticed it was there."

Cole said the shark must have been swept into the pool overnight by a large wave.

"It's the first time we've had a shark in the pool," she said. "We've had seals sunbaking there before, and get dolphin at the beach all the time, but I've never heard of a shark getting caught in a pool before."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Shark Diving East Coast-Sea Turtle Charters

Sea Turtle Charters can get you where the shark action is this summer on the East coast. Home to graceful Blues and Mako's these guys have become quite popular:

"You missed some makos and blues yesterday, they were all over the cage," mumbled a still seasick Noelle Hancock. Noelle is a writer friend of mine whom I invited along due to her interest in conquering a fear (sharks) and because of how she looks in a bikini (good).

Full story

Shark Week-Interview with a Sharky CEO

In celebration of Shark Week the crew (Mary, Lee, Chuck) over at Lake Front Radio interviewed Shark Divers CEO Patric Douglas wanting to explore the wild world of shark diving ...they were not disappointed.

Here's the full interview

From our CEO Patric:

"This was one of the best interviews I have done in a while, simply a great bunch of guys at Lakefront Radio. They have a radio program that actually takes the time to get into meat of the subject, no pun intended".

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Shark Tech-Really Bad Idea

In the world of undersea gizmo's that a diver can get a hold of-this one ranks as the worst idea we have seen in the last ten years since the "underwater soup straw".

Welcome to the "Wasp" a standard dive knife with a kick.

Pumping several thousand psi of compressed air into whatever you decide to stab that's swimming by, it's guaranteed to baloon-i-fy even the most curious, bass, seal, nurse shark, or Al Qaeda type you may encounter in today's vicious oceans.

WTF!?

Bad idea-interesting video. Frankly there's just not anything all that scary diving these days to warrant something this crazy in the hands of any diver at 60 feet.

Sharky Commercial Aquarium Trends

We have blogged about the current trend of commercial aquariums that allow "divers" into their enclosures for face to face encounters with sharks.

Like it or not this is a trend-and a poor one at that. Commercial aquaria were never constructed and designed as underwater public encounter spaces. In 98% of them-these for profit public encounters-are an afterthought. Basically these aquaria are becoming hybrid organizations at best.

Why not build a state of the art public dive encounter site complete with sharks, safety and education? Seems like a far fetched idea? We're closer than ever.

Here's the growing list of aquarium adventure dives for your review:

Georgia Aquarium, Atlanta. A whale shark, the world's largest fish, is the prime attraction. One 30-minute dive daily. There is also a swim option, with no diving experience required ($290; www.georgiaaquarium.org).

Florida Aquarium, Tampa. Dive with the Sharks. One 30-minute dive daily ($150; www.flaquarium.org).

National Aquarium, Baltimore. Wings in the Water and Atlantic Coral Reef tanks are available for diving. One 30-minute dive in each tank, every other Saturday. ($295; www.aqua.org).

Epcot Center, Orlando. Epcot Dive Quest, sharks, eagle rays, sea turtles, plus 60-plus fish species, 40-minute dive twice daily. ($150; disneyworld.disney.go.com).

Underwater Adventure at the Mall of America. Offers dives to Fisherman's Hollow and Shark Cove on Wednesday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons ($195). There is a swim option for those without diving experience: snorkeling Rainbow Reef, on Friday afternoons and Saturday and Sunday mornings ($80; www.underwaterworld.com).

Friday, July 25, 2008

Shark Conservation Legislation Passed!

From the RTSea Blog this week and Richard Theiss who's always a great source of eco news:

Here's some goods news as a follow-up to my posting on July 4th regarding pending legislation that should have a positive impact on shark fishing and finning: It passed!


HR 5471 (background)
Announcement on bill passing (Oceana.org)

Ensenada Fish Market, Mexico Y.O.Y

We got quite a few private emails this week from divers and from those that did not or could not believe white shark pups were for sale at the Ensenada Fish Market.

Here's another look. It's an ongoing issue and one best reviewed by the locals in Ensenada. There are many government agencies that oversee fisheries management within walking distance of this market yet in the few years we have been documenting this-more of these animals have been showing up for sale.

Typically these young of the year are sold as swordfish. Many times the skin is ripped off so identification is almost impossible...that's if you know where to look for the skin.

Until Mexico decides to effect change, this is the continuing fate of white shark pups here at this site. Unfortunately these are not Mako pups on display.

Aussies and sharks-Taking back the streets

You know, we have covered this about a million times, but now it looks like Australians are taking back the streets and oceans with new non lethal anti-shark tech. As always there's a catch:

In what is claimed to be a world-first, scientists from the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries and James Cook University have shown magnets can repel sharks.

It is hoped the magnets will keep sharks out of fishing nets set for barramundi.

Trials have been conducted in controlled conditions in Cairns. The research team will soon conduct field trials to determine the practical use of magnets in the gillnet fishery.

The researchers do not believe the magnetic repulsion will prevent shark attacks on people.

Famous Shark Cage To Be Unveiled At Aquarium Sunday

The One, The Only, cage that started it all "Blue Water-White Death". A classic film for sharky types is now on display...just in time for Shark Week. If we had a bigger office we would buy it...heck if we were ever in the office:

Even in print, the flashback to the summer of 1975 and the blockbuster movie, “Jaws” gets the heart racing. For some, either Peter Benchley’s novel or Stephen Spielberg’s film are the reason they won’t get in the water more than three decades later.

There may be no other creatures in the animal world more feared and more misunderstood than sharks. Visitors at the Tennessee Aquarium get an up close view of the powerful bodies, strong and tooth-filled jaws of sandbar and sand tiger sharks in the Secret Reef.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Brave or brainless? Shark swimmer's rising profile

We blogged about maverick shark diver Mark Rutzen a while ago. Now some in the media and in the blog world are beginning to ask the same questions:

Diver Mark Rutzen is increasingly making a name for himself across the globe as a man who's willing to get closer to sharks than any other.The free-diver and former fisherman, who is currently diving off the coast of South Africa with Great Whites, touches and even rides the massive predators - in the wild.

Rutzen says the key to staying alive is a matter of manners.

"You have to introduce yourself to the animal, you can't just go up to it and grab hold of it," he told News Ltd. "The biggest mistake any free-diver could make would be chasing the animal through the water."

Rutzen says he relies on experience and a "telepathic understanding" to avoid becoming a meal.

Editors Note: After reading that last statement Rutzen is beginning to sound like both Erich Ritter who once claimed he could swim with big bull sharks after slowing his heart beat down-and Tim Treadwell who claimed he could walk with Grizzlies after adopting their posture. Fact is these animals allow us access on their terms and their terms only. It is a matter of time and one fatal decision on the part of the animal that always changes this equation.

"Just because you can do a thing-does not mean you should".

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SharkWeek 2008-Shark Diver, Ocean Reef & Bathys Hawaii celebrate

Luke TippleLuke Tipple, Marine Biologist and Adventurer, is developing his own Science based show with GRB Entertainment of Los Angeles. While the show is coming together Luke continues to offer his technical and scientific knowledge to top research and entertainment teams worldwide. This year Luke was asked to be the dive safety officer and shark behavior specialist on Discovery Shark Week's premier show MythBusters.

Since this is Luke's first time on Discovery, and since he is working very hard on a show of his own at the moment Luke's sponsors got together to celebrate by giving away some cool gear.

To win just watch MythBusters on Shark Week during July 28th through August 3rd, 2008, go to our contest page and answer a simple question related to the show (HINT: check out the dive gear… we are his dive sponsors after all!).

You could win the prizes above, a great dive watch, an amazing dive mask, or a chance to get face to face with a great white shark.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

On behalf of all of Luke's sponsors, we look forward to seeing him in many more great shows in the future and thank all of his fans for watching, it has been our pleasure to believe in and support Luke's efforts in both entertainment and educating people about sharks and science. Please tune in and sign up to win some great gifts as a token of our appreciation for your support.

Island of the Great White Shark-Can't Wait for Shark Week 2008?

The most anticipated white shark documentary of the past decade is Island of the Great White Shark.

Shown to early rave reviews at select Aquariums nationwide this film is now available to the public, just in time for Shark Week.

The film is visually stunning with a deep and personal look at both the sharks and the research efforts to study them at the far flung and remote island of Isla Guadalupe, Mexico:

"There are so many films about great white sharks that show the animal being aggressive and attacking its prey. As a shark enthusiast, I am tired of this type of portrayal. I want to see movies that show the great white in its natural behavior. I want to actually learn about the shark. This DVD does exactly that... it teaches me... about the shark, about the science being conducted, and about what it's like to actually be in the water with these magnificent creatures. Kudos to the filmmaker for taking a risk and making a movie about real research".

"This is a very good film on the reality of the Great White. It gives the other side of the story. The one the media forgets to tell".

Ensenada Fish Market, Mexico Y.O.Y

We have been keeping track of the Ensenada Fish Market for the past three years.

The issue here is the sale of white shark pups as "swordfish". We have been documenting each and every trip we take down to this market with images of the animals we find on site.

Typically we are seeing a minimum of up to 3 animals for sale at any given time. We also enjoy the local Baja Fish Tacos (non white shark) while we're here...if you have not yet had a Baja Fish Taco in Ensenada, go here first.

Over the years we have uncovered one family who are the prime shark fishery here. These are hard working folks who know where to find sharks and how to fish them. For them it's a tough livelihood-they barely make a living.

Where some people see a travesty, we see an opportunity. Very little is known about young of the year in Mexican waters. Monterey Bay Aquarium is leading the charge along with TOPP's and a small group from Mexico working the Sea of Cortez.

One of the primary goals for this fish market should be DNA sampling of these sharks. As a ready made sampling site this fish market is more than the final destination for white sharks, it could also be useful to research.

Shark Week 2008-Shark Trust Wines

We got the following email from the folks over at Shark Trust Wines. As huge supporters of this plucky shark brand we're more than happy to pass on the offer to our shark fans.

As far as we know this is the only shark branded wine on the planet...this is why we serve it proudly on all our shark vessels:

Greetings!

It's here...our favorite week of the year...SHARK WEEK! Stock up on Shark Trust Wines this week and get ready for 7 full days of shark programming on the Discovery Channel. With every case of wine purchased this week at sharktrustwines.com, we will include a shark topper. No need for special codes online. We will automatically send the topper.

Cheers,
Melanie CEO
Shark Trust Wines


Georgia Aquarium P.R Backlash

We have been updating you on the Georgia Aquarium's efforts to bring the public to their captive Whale Sharks in a new and some say...yes we say-ridiculous manner, with the addition of paying "thrill divers".

Those in world of commercial aquariums dance a fine line between captive animal ambassadors and commercial exploitation.

Monterey Bay Aquarium has managed that fine line with their ground breaking white shark program. If there was ever a road map to follow this program would be it. Unfortunately the folks over at the Georgia AQ have not seen this map.

Meanwhile the rest of the research and whale shark community remains unimpressed and in some cases in open rebellion:

Georgia Aquarium invitation riles some conservationists

Isla Holbox, Mexico — Georgia Aquarium officials want to hold the next international whale shark conference in Atlanta, but some conservationists bristle at the idea because the world's largest indoor aquarium exhibits the huge polka-dotted fish.

Full story.

Editors Note: One look at the Georgia AQ website and the Monterey Bay AQ website shows how P.R is won and lost by pushing the envelope from
captive animal ambassadors to commercial exploitation. Georgia AQ needs to make a decision fast. Either break with traditional aquaria completly and become a full fledged commercial operation, or cease allowing "thrill divers" into captive whale shark enclosures. Clearly there's little room for a hybrid operation that seeks to maintain credibility within the research and traditional aquarium communities.

Croc vs Leopard...Now THAT'S Interesting!

Our shark fans need us like their "morning latte" because of unbelievable stories like this one and you know we cannot pass on a story like this.

Yes, it's a bit far away from the world of sharks, but heck we covered a similar story Croc vs Shark a few months ago.

No, this is not the same croc and no, this did not happen in Australia...land of dangerous wildlife and the crazy people who live with them.

Shark Fishing Vessel Ho Tsai Fa No. 18

We blogged about this mystery illegal shark fishing vessel off the coast of Bali last week.

At the time rumors of a dead and or missing captain and a murderous crew were part of the ongoing story. Now that story is beginning to firm up and the details are amazing. Which leads us to the simple conclusion "shark fining is bad business".

Dark oil and darker rumours seep from Bali beach's ghost ship


ATTEMPTS to refloat a Taiwanese "ghost ship" that ran aground on Bali's best surf break have foundered, prompting fears of an environmental disaster.

Police have described the vessel as a crime scene, confirming its captain may have been murdered. Taiwanese investigators have arrived in Bali to carry out their own inquiry.

The Ho Tsai Fa No. 18 has a chequered history. It was apprehended off Costa Rica in 2003 with 60,000 kilograms of illegally caught shark fin. Early this year, Greenpeace activists intercepted the ship fishing illegally in the Pacific.

We're Baaaack-Now 30% Sharky-er

It's tough having a job that takes you away to the US Virgin Islands for a "site inspection", but that's where we have been for the past 7 days. Our email is filled with a heap o' shark stories we need to cover.

Let's begin in South Africa:

Startling Great White discoveries

Scientists now know exactly how much time each shark spends waiting for takeaways at Seal Island.

Long considered a mysterious monster from the deep, the great white shark is actually from the shallow — and no longer all that mysterious.

That’s according to a group of pioneering researchers who, using sophisticated electronic tracking equipment, have compiled the first-ever detailed swim-maps of several great white sharks in Mossel Bay.

So far this year five sharks — Zulu, Kiddo, Pasella, Roxanne and Sampla — have been fitted with electronic tags that show not only the shark’s position, but also its depth and the surrounding water temperature.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shark Heroes-Australia's Sea World Vet Team

You gotta hand it to the team from NSW Sea World who dramatically saved a shark after it had "swallowed" a fishing gaff...complete with embedded hook. The entire crew here at Shark Diver salute this team.

What transpired in Australia this week is perhaps the greatest shark rescue story in the past ten years:

Scuba divers snapped these photos of the gentle shark swimming near Julian Rocks in the Cape Byron Marine Park when they first thought the shark had attempted to swallow a broomstick.

"It was swimming along, it looked quite healthy and didn't seem to be suffering but it became obvious if that thing stayed in its mouth, it would be the death of the shark - it couldn't be eating too well," diver John Natoli said.

Full story with images and video.

Josh Lay-Found-Nice Guy Too!

Got a phone call at the office, this time from the real "Josh Lay".

You know the old saw "the truth is sometimes stranger than fiction?", well we pretty much proved that today.

Turns out Josh is a real person, and was really looking to book 3-6 divers to go white shark diving at Isla Guadalupe.

While we were wondering why the entire world was suddenly calling us looking for Josh-Josh was wondering why his new cell phone had gone dead and no one was calling him.

A perfect case of cellphone-itus, when new tech get's you when you least expect it.

Oh, and by the way Josh is a nice guy with a great sense of humor;)

Who's Josh Lay? We'll Take the Thai Massage!

This week we got a call from a "Josh Lay" wanting some information about a white shark diving trip for 3-6 divers to Isla Guadalupe. On the outset it sounded like an honest phone call, we gave him our standard sales pitch and closed out the conversation.

Here's where it went south. All yesterday, and part of today we have been getting phone calls asking for "Josh Lay". In fact a good buddy of ours from Main who owns www.sharkdiving.com
called us to say he had a hot lead for a party of 3-6...you guessed it "Josh Lay".

The number Mr.Lay left behind to contact him is 323.240.9xxx that number is linked to our home office number here in California, so when you call it you get us!

Amusing? Yes. Whoever this "Josh Lay" is, he knows all about call forwarding, and has a great sense of humor. We have spoken with half the fleet in South Africa, a small shark diving operation in Honduras and a crazy German from Thailand who's got some kind of shark diving and beach massage service...for our money the Thai operation sounds like the winner!

Live Giant Squid Dissection-Museum Victoria

You just know we can't pass up a giant squid story so when news broke that there was going to be a live dissection of one, we just about went all kaddywompus here at the office:

Scientists are hoping to learn more about a giant squid, when it is dissected in Melbourne tomorrow July 17. 2008

The 245 kilogram squid was caught by fishermen off the coast of Portland in May.

The giant squid will go under the knife at Museum Victoria.The procedure will be open to the public and streamed live on the internet.

Call us geeks, but this sounds like a a whole lotta fun. If the servers do not crash we'll see you tomorrow in Melbourne!

Illegal Shark Fishing Vessel Ho Tsai Fa No. 18

After months of hunting, two documented sightings, and a high seas chase the Ho Tsai Fa No. 18 has surfaced...this time buried into a reef-minus her captain.

Greenpeace reported this illegal longliner working off the coasts of Java and the hunt has been on ever since.

Locals scavenging the ship have discovered holds full of tuna and shark. The captain is also missing reportedly killed by his own crew.

June 2008 Commercial Shark Landings in Ecuador

The following numbers come from Instituto National de Pesca, Ecuador. These are the official reported numbers of shark Landings for June.

The actual numbers are much higher and do not reflect illegal shark fining where the carcass is dumped.

June 2008 :

Pelagic Thresher : 281,9 tons (t).
Silky Shark : 74,8 t .
Blue Shark : 53,7 t .
Smooth Hammerhead : 25,7 t .
Scalloped Hammerhead : 10,8 t .
Shortfin Mako : 3,0 t .
Carcharhinus spp : 0,5 t .
Thresher (Alopias spp): 0,2 t .
Brown Smoothhound : 0,1 t .
Bigeye Thresher : 0,1 t .

TOTAL : 450,8 t in the month of June 2008

Ref. : Instituto National de Pesca.

One country. One month. One total. 901,600 pounds of sharks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Y.O.Y Great White Washes up at Nantucket

Let us be the first to absolutely identify this critter as a great white-young of the year.

Monday July 14, 2008

By Jason Graziadei

Martha's Vineyard may have shark sightings, but Nantucket now has the real thing.

A seven-foot shark washed up on a beach off Sheep Pond Road Monday, and Marine Department officials believe it is either a young great white shark or a mako shark.

Representatives from the Division of Marine Fisheries will travel to Nantucket Tuesday to inspect it and attempt to identify the shark.

"It could well be a white shark, but we're not going to confirm what it is until we take a look tomorrow," said Lisa Capone, a spokesperson for the Division of Marine Fisheries.

After being discovered by several children on the beach, DPW workers along with an ATV police officer towed the shark off the sand and into a front-end loader parked on Sheep Pond Road.

Lifeguards and ATV police officers pulled swimmers out of the water at beaches along the south shore earlier on Monday after beachgoers reported seeing a shark in the water, beach manager Jeff Carlson said. A similar shark sighting was reported near Miacomet beach on Sunday afternoon.

In Time For Shark Week-July 25th Interview

LakeFront Radio is pleased to announce its July 25th interview with Patric Douglas CEO of Shark Diver.com. www.sharkdiver.com, www.sharkdivers.com, www.islandofthegreatwhiteshark.com

His business helped pioneer White Shark Cage Diving in the USA. He has a very interesting history and professional past and his company offers some of the most exciting and unique shark diving adventures that anyone can imagine.

They offer cage diving expeditions at Isla Guadalupe from their luxury yacht, where visibility is 100 feet. If you want something different to spice up your life or vacation experience, you will NOT want to miss this exciting, entertaining and educational show all about The Great White Shark and Shark Diving, just in time "Shark Week", starting July 28th, 2008

So come on back and listen in on July 25th at Noon Eastern Standard time or anytime after that to download the pod-cast of this special show.

Remember, www.lakefrontradio.com where we bring together Lakefront Professionals from across the Nation.

Where The Basking Sharks Are...4146 feet!

Researchers using the latest tracking tech have discovered a quirky window into the ongoing mystery of the Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximus.

They dive deep, in one case to 4146 feet. Another mystery revealed is the bi-coastal nature of these critters- turns out these animals are both citizens of the U.K and Canada.

Worldwide tracking efforts are discovering this to be the case with almost every pelagic species tracked, making regulations and management all the more challenging.

We're just hung up on the 4146 feet deep dive. What are they doing down there?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Heidi Klum-Shark Chick Spawns Shark Diver Hood Craze

The guys from Neutral Dive Gear posted this Heidi Klum story today. It quickly answered the burning question of why dive hoods like this exist.

They're not just a fashion statement. Ya wanna to go shark diving with Heidi? Get the gear:

There is only one thing that can really be said in regard to this story; there are roughly 45 very, very, very happy sharks swimming around the Bahamas these days. Supermodel Heidi Klum swam in shark infested waters in a bid to make her a stronger person.

The 35-year-old took part in the brave challenge for a documentary for the Discovery Channel. She tells America's OK! magazine, "I jumped into the water with 45 sharks without a cage in the Bahamas. That was a really good experience."

"I'm not saying that everyone should swim with sharks, but sometimes you have to jump over your own shadow in order to learn something that you will never forget for the rest of your life. Then you know you can conquer your fears."

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Teamshark California-What Became of Them?

Off the coast of California there used to be a company called Team Shark. They were one of the original blue and mako shark operations in California.

We say "used to be" because aside from a cool website this company has effectively dropped off anyone's radar.

So we ask the question of the day:

What happened to Team Shark?

If you happen to know or work with these guys feel free to alert us, we're as curious as the next shark blog... and that would be all three of us!

Bill Wieger-Shark Artiste

Shark diver Bill Wieger joined us a few years ago at Isla Guadalupe.

At the time he was fresh face in another week long batch of excited divers we see each season, but we quickly came to know Bill as an artist.

On his first expedition to I.G he was introduced to a simply stunning female shark we named "Mystery" for her ability to just appear when she wanted to and vanish just as quickly.

As you know by now the I.G site is known for 100 foot visibility-so that's a pretty neat trick considering this animal is simply huge.

Bill went home and reproduced "Mystery" as a sculpture and now produces limited editions for interested divers and shark fans worldwide. As you can see from this image, he's got talent!

Right about now about 20% of you have your credit card out and we're pretty sure he will not mind if we post his email for interested buyers: billwieger@att.net

Old School Sharks-Renewable or Raw Product?

We have come a looong way with sharks. Just 60 years ago these animals were considered the "bane of man" to be exterminated at every opportunity.

With the advent of commercial shark diving brought about by the adventures of those few plucky early pioneers like Rodney Fox and others-sharks slowly evolved from "mindless man eater" to understood and respected wildlife.

At least as far as the diving public saw them.

You have to look at this image from 1946 with a bit of nostalgia. We're in a different world with sharks now. The abject fear of these animals is gone for the most part, and commercialization of them both in terms of renewable eco tourism and raw product (fins) have replaced that fear.

Now it's a race. Will we lose these animals to the raw product guys or will we save these animals with tourism?

Thailand Fish Cakes Anyone?

There's a big shark, then there's this critter. We're not sure which is more "concerning" for your average swimmer.

Found exclusively in Thailand these giant catfish feed an anything they can get into their gobs. Including, people.

Here's the caption:

Two Thai fishermen show off a 646-pound giant catfish they caught in the Mekong River in the Chiang Khong district of Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand in mid-May 2008. The fish reportedly scared some tourists.

Editors note: Yeah, no doubt over a few Red Horse beers.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shark Diving-Beqa-Leading the Pack

In the world of non caged "monster sized shark encounters" one site, bar none, has been leading the pack-Beqa Fiji. You have heard about this site on a day boat dive in Florida, seen it in magazines, and cannot move an inch on You Tube without seeing another stunning video.

The company who's also been leading the pack in conservation at this site is Beqa Adventure Divers.

Now on to the video, feel free to say "Holy Mother!", after watching this clip, we did:

Friday, July 11, 2008

Island of the Great White Shark-Harvard

From Richard Theiss CEO of RTSea Productions this afternoon:

There will be a screening of Island of the Great White Shark on July 17th at the Harvard Museum of Natural History

I'd like to think that it's because the documentary resonates with people other than die hard shark lovers. Hopefully the realistic portrait of white sharks, the ongoing research, and the conservation message presented in the film will reach as many people as possible, especially those people who are convinced that great white sharks are the Darth Vader of all sharks.

I will not be in attendance at the screening, but Dr. John Mandelman, resident shark expert from the New England Aquarium, is scheduled to be there for follow up questions and discussion about shark issues. Things couldn't be in better hands.

So, if you're in the Boston/Cambridge, MA area next Thursday, check it out.

Shark Productions-Case in Point

This email came in this morning. Not sure where we'll go with this one as at least one of our hard and fast criteria for good shark productions does not seem to be there, the all important "budget". Although it does seem "interesting":

Hello there,

I have a film crew and actors all of which are at the very least dive master certified, and one of which is a marine biologist specializing in shark research. We are filming a television show that showcases our travels and adventures across the world. Right now half of our crew is out in Koh Tao, Thailand filming and due back at the end of August. We are low budget and high thrill show with a crew and cast ranging between 5 and 8 people. I saw on xxx that you are offering exclusive trips for film crews and was curious if you would accept our company on one of these voyages. Hope to hear from you soon.

Cheers,
XXX XXX
XXX Biscayne Blvd, Suite XXX
North Miami Beach
(317) XXX-XXXX

Remember that "Unicorn Shark?"

We blogged about one of the most unlikely looking critters we have ever seen a few months ago. At the time only a few images of the deep water "Unicorn Shark" were available. Now a video has surfaced with even more shots.

Either this is a hoax, or as we said back then, a new shark "we're hoping get's to 20 feet in length so we can go dive with it!"

Hunt on for shark in Tuggerah Lake

Remember that 21 foot white shark discovered lurking about Tuggerah Lake, Australia? We blogged about it last week.

You gotta hand to to the Aussies. When not battling all the "things that will kill you" in their country, they are alternately grilling, drinking beers...and hunting down the "things that will kill you".

Case in point a semi-serious effort is being mounted-as we blog-to catch that 21 foot white shark:

THE hunt is on for a huge 7m "son of jaws" great white shark cut loose from a fishing net off Canton Beach on Wednesday.

It is the second great white found in Tuggerah Lake since 2005. It comes on top of three other shark sightings in the lakes system in as many years. Experts fear the great white may be trapped in the lake unable to reach the sea because The Entrance channel is too shallow.

Of course the crew here at Shark Diver are available as "consultants" if anyone down under wants to hire us as white shark experts. Unlike George Burgess-we work for BBQ and beers. Given that this "hunt" should last well into the summer, we're thinking that's a pretty good deal!