Monday, August 17, 2009

Hawaii Shark Diving - Getting Involved

Woke up this morning at 6.00 am Hawaii time.

Stefanie Brendl owner of Hawaii Shark Adventures had hot coffee going and a game plan...early morning shark diving on Hawaii's North Shore.

Any day you wake up a 6.00am on a Monday to cage dive is a good day.

I joined her and her crew this weekend in solidarity with Joe Pavsak owner of North Shore Shark Adventures for a series of high level meetings to discuss the future of shark diving in Hawaii.

As a shark diving operator I felt it was essential to be present and be involved with fellow operators in their greatest time of need.

This is not the first time I have been involved in the industry for the industries sake, and will not be the last.

Shark tourism is under a full frontal assault here from a group of individuals bent on shutting down an estimated 40,000 Oahu shark tourism seekers each year. This issue is cut and dry, there are no gray areas.

The loss of Hawaii to the anti-shark diving folks, with the hysteria driven tactics their well networked teams are using, would be a black eye to the rapidly growing $300 million dollar global industry.

We need to take charge and work together to ensure the industry succeeds everywhere. Watching old competitors Joe and Stefanie come together and unite was a good first start.

Back to the dives. We arrived at Haleiwa Harbor as the sun came over the horizon and met a small group of tourists who had come from as far away as Texas. They were all excited to meet a shark and had woken, in some cases, as early at 4.00am to do it here - today.

The thing about Hawaii shark diving is location. 15 short minutes outside of the harbor I was jumping into a simply massive shark cage in 80 degree waters, descending into the clear blue world of the shark...25 of them.

To say this was my kind of shark diving is an understatement, warm waters, tons of sharks, and good times. The two couples from Texas were in 7th heaven as two large female Dusky sharks cruised by, eyeing divers, making slow passes in front of large viewing windows made of polyglass.

You cannot help but be impressed with this level of shark diving, ease of access, site availability, safety, and sharks as far as the eye can see. Surprisingly we were not even chumming, but more on that in later posts.

We came back to port two hours later, happy, and at 9.00am ready to begin a day. In my case it was racing to the state capitol to meet and greet with some important legislative folks there to talk shark tourism. More on that later.

Suffice to say, these two operations are worth saving, and they cannot do it alone. With the industry backing we will all benefit from Hawaii shark tourism. Getting involved is as easy as a phone call, email, blog post, or good old fashioned plane ticket.

Patric Douglas CEO

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