Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays!

It has been a great year for Shark Diver. We went to Fiji, the Bahamas and Guadalupe Island and added a lot of new members to our Shark Diver family along the way. We made new friends, both above and below the water. To all of you, around the world, 

Happy Holidays and a sharky New Year!




Cheers,
Martin and Cindy
Shark Diver
 
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Friday, December 20, 2013

John Travolta saving sharks?

John Travolta has joined the fight against finning sharks for shark fin soup. He has posted this on his website. It's awesome to see, that celebrities are lending a hand in raising awareness to this great cause. 

Thanks John!

I would also like to thank Li Na,  and Yao Ming for their help in turning the public perception of shark fin soup in China. They are huge celebrities in their country and their compatriots seem to be paying attention, consumption of shark fin soup is down by 70%

Cheers,

Martin Graf

CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Do you want to help a shark researcher?

Every year we get hundreds of emails from people asking us, how they can get involved with shark research. This has lead to Shark Diver teaming up with Nicole Nasby-Lucas from the MCSI for a special science expedition to Guadalupe Island next year. This special science expedition gives our divers a chance to actively participate in the Great White Shark photo ID project and learn about the results of various studies, involving our sharks at Isla Guadalupe.

The response has been overwhelming. We have filled the expedition in just a couple of weeks, with many divers still wanting to participate. So we decided to add another special expedition from September 9-14 2014.

This is your chance to be part of this exciting research, which up to today has resulted in over 150 sharks being identified at Guadalupe Island. Some individuals like "Bite Face", "Jaques", "Thor" and "Chugey" are regular visitors and have been seen every year since we started going to Guadalupe Island. You will learn the differences in behavior and migration between male, female, juvenile and adult sharks along with many other interesting things about Great White Sharks and sharks in general.

Nicole has a wealth of information and is excited about sharing her knowledge with you, our divers and research assistants.

If you would like to be part of this experience, we recommend that you book early, since, as with our other research expedition, we expect this one to fill up fast.

The price for this unique expedition is $3300 and it includes a copy of the photo ID book, containing all the identified sharks at Isla Guadalupe. We will also have digital underwater cameras for you to use and you'll get a DVD of your trip to take home with you and share with your friends.

To book or for more information, call us toll free at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275. You can also reach us via email at staff@sharkdiver.com 

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver 

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Galapagos Islands anyone?

Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf

Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the "Nortada", a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and Eco tour experience in the Galapagos Islands, one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world.

You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead - Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks, along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour Islands and Darwin station, where you will encounter the native birds and terrestrial animals of the Galapagos Islands.

Our expedition will take place from August 15-22 2014, which is in the middle of high season, when there are thousands of Hammerhead shark and gigantic pregnant Whale sharks swimming around the islands.

We will be diving off the "Nortada" an 85' live aboard dive vessel that offers 4 lower deck, fully air conditioned cabins with two single lower berths each, private heads, lockers and drawers. There are 2 15ft inflatable, zodiak style, tenders that will take us to the individual dive sites. For our safety, all divers will also be provided a waterproof Nautilus Lifeline radio.
Two 15 foot inflatable tenders with 4 stroke 20HP outboard engines takes fully equipped divers to and from the dive sites.
All divers are provided with a Nautilus Lifeline bi-directional VHF/DSC marine radio with GPS, dive alert and DSMB.
- See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/#sthash.FkieisYV.dpuf

For more information on this exciting expedition, call us toll free at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275 or email us at staff@sharkdiver.com

I hope to see you in the Galapagos Islands in August!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
Shark Diver is excited to announce that we have partnered with Tip Top Diving and the “Nortada”, a brand new live-aboard dive vessel, to offer an unforgettable dive and eco tour experience in the Galapagos. The Galapagos islands are one of the premier Eco travel destinations in the world. You will have the opportunity to dive with Sea Lions, visit Darwin and Wolf island for a once in a lifetime chance to swim with Hammerhead – Galapagos- Dusky, Whale- and many other species of sharks,along with big schools of Tuna and tons of other sea life. You will also get to do some exciting land tours at North Seymour as well as Darwin station. This is truly going to be an unforgettable adventure. - See more at: http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/galapagos-island-adventure/?preview=true&preview_id=10263&preview_nonce=087a9022bc#sthash.76dZGfUl.dpuf
About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is Australia killing sharks? Again?

This is getting ridiculous. According to a couple of articles in the Australian, the Western Australian government has again decided to kill great white sharks. According to one article "Large sharks that swim into designated 'kill zones' near popular swimming and surfing beaches in Western Australia will be hunted by professional fishermen." The article quotes the fisheries minister Buswell as saying "This does not represent a culling of sharks. It is not a fear-driven hunt, it is a targeted, localised shark mitigation strategy,'' 

Wait a minute, did Mr Buswell say this is not a culling?  They are baiting hooks to catch and kill sharks, but it's not a cull. Only a politician can say something like that and actually think it makes sense.

A second article in the australian also states that "Treasurer Troy Buswell, who loses the fisheries portfolio on Wednesday, admitted it was likely other marine animals would be caught with the baited hooks, and it was possible tagged sharks used for research could also be caught by the new policy.
But the government insisted public safety came first."
There are a couple of things that don't make sense. Let's look at this a little closer.

1. The director of the Conservation Council of Western Australia correctly states that "This new cull policy amounts to indiscriminate fishing, and will not only cull potentially risky sharks, but we can expect to see dolphins, turtles, seals, nurse sharks and a range of other marine life killed off our beaches." So, since the baited hooks will not only target large sharks that are in the area, but also kill other marine life, the hooks will actually lure sharks into the area, because they will be attracted by the animals caught by the hooks. So how exactly is that going to make the beaches safer?

2. Targeting large sharks doesn't make a lot of sense, since it is actually the younger sharks that tend to be more inquisitive and less cautious than the adult ones.

Once again, politicians cater to the uneducated public and want to be seen as doing something, even if what they are doing isn't going to help and quite possibly could make the situation worse.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Great White Shark Expedition with scientist Nicole Nasby-Lucas

If you have been following us on Facebook, you probably already heard the news. Shark Diver is proud to announce that we are offering a special "Science Expedition" to Isla Guadalupe from September 19-24, 2014.

Nicole Nasby-Lucas from the Marine Conservation Science Institute will be on board, sharing her research with our divers and showing them how to identify the sharks.
So fare the database has over 150 individual sharks identified and some of those individuals have visited Guadalupe Island every year since first being identified in 2001. It is amazing to see how those sharks change in size and behavior.  

This expedition is a unique opportunity to be part of the growing database. Should we find a new shark, which is fairly likely during that time of the year, the group will get the opportunity to name the shark. Imagine seeing a shark on a future television documentary, knowing you were there when we first encountered that shark. All the participants will also get a copy of the photo ID book, containing all the identified sharks at Isla Guadalupe.

The price for this special expedition is $3300. We recommend that you book early, since we are already 60% booked and this is a very unique opportunity to be a part of the ongoing study of our sharks.


To book or for more information, call us toll free at 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275. You can also reach us via email at staff@sharkdiver.com

I hope you can be part of this exciting expedition!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Good news? Bad news?

Popular wisdom holds that Sharks do not get cancer. That is why shark cartilage is widely used to prevent/treat cancer. Turns out that popular wisdom is once again proven wrong. According to an article in "livescience" sharks can indeed get cancer.


Credit: Andrew Fox and Sam Cahir
The article states Recently, researchers in Australia noticed a large tumor protruding from the mouth of a great white shark, as well as another mass on the head of a bronze whaler shark. The great white's tumor measured 1 foot (30 centimeters) long and 1 foot wide, according to a study describing the tumors published online in November in the Journal of Fish Diseases.

So this is both good news, hopefully fewer sharks are being killed for the cartilage, the bad news, ... sharks can get cancer. I hope that the good news in this case outweighs the bad, since I've only seen a few sharks with cancerous growths.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Paul Walker at Guadalupe

The Marine Conservation Science Institute has named a new great white shark at Isla Guadalupe Paul Walker, in honor of the late actor/director who was a big advocate for shark conservation.

As most of you know, Paul Walker died tragically in a car accident on November 30. MCSI's statement on their Facebook page states. "It is our pleasure to introduce to you a newly named Guadalupe Island White Shark: Paul Walker! Named in honor of our late friend and ocean advocate"

Meet Paul Walker, our newest addition to our Isla Guadalupe photo id database. (photo by Phil Colla)

I've been diving with the great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe for 13 years and definitely developed a special relationship with some of the sharks. I'm happy to see that by naming this young shark in honor of Paul Walker, his name and legacy will live on. Hopefully we'll see him for years to come, watch him grow and remember a great ocean advocate, every time we see him.

Rest in peace Paul Walker!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another catch and kill order for a great white shark?

Congratulations Australia! You have done it again. According to "The Australian" a catch and kill order has been issued for what is believed to be a great white shark that killed a surfer over the weekend.

The article states 35-year-old Chris Boyd, was attacked on Saturday morning by what's believed to be a great white shark at the popular surf break Umbries off Gracetown, 270km southwest of Perth. Mr Boyd, originally from Queensland, was killed instantly when he was mauled by a great white shark while surfing at popular break “Umbies” off Gracetown, 270km south of Perth at about 9am WST yesterday

It then goes on to say that The state's fisheries department issued a catch and kill order for the shark, saying there was an imminent threat of more attacks in the area. The fisheries department is quoted as saying they weren't ''just going to randomly kill sharks - it depends on what they see''

This is ridiculous. What exactly are they going to see? Since they say that the shark that attacked Mr. Boyd was "believed" to be a great white shark, how exactly are they going to determine that a particular shark is the right one, if they don't even know the species for certain? 

This is another typical reaction for a government agency. Do something, no matter how stupid, just to appear to be doing something.

Our heart goes out to the family of Mr. Boyd, but indiscriminately killing an animal is neither bringing Mr. Boyd back, nor is it making the ocean any safer for anyone else.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Great White Sharks playing cupid?

So what does it mean, when you meet a great white shark at Isla Guadalupe and have it look you straight into the eyes? Well, for 2 of our divers this year, David and Fabiola, it meant something very special. Here is a message I got from them just a few days ago.

Man, it was much more than a good time aboard the horizon... this trip and fulfilling the dream of being with the great whites of Guadalupe was so intense, that Fabiola and I realized we should really be together and got married just 2 weeks ago We'll never forget those moments. Thanks for everything. Cheers, David and Fabiola

Congratulations David and Fabiola! It was awesome, having you on board and I wish you all the best for your future together. I'm looking forward to diving with you again with the tiger-sharks in the Bahamas.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Coming face to face with a great white shark. A spiritual experience?

We just finished our 2013 season, diving with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe. We had the pleasure to be able to introduce 173 divers to our smiling friends!

Here is a letter from Jen Saunders, one of our divers, describing her experience.

A Shark Story: The Day I Saw God (He Healed Me)

As the only agnostic member from a devout Protestant household, I was always the black sheep at family reunions and was probably prayed for by aunts, uncles and grandparents more than anyone else in the Saunders clan. I just never bought into the whole “God thing”, but always maintained the highest respect for all walks of faith and those who follow various teachings. 

The year before my father passed away from pancreatic cancer we had a conversation about faith and God. My father, a retired professor of English literature, asked how I could feel complete without knowing and feeling the presence of a higher power. I simply replied by stating that his question was equivalent to one asking how I can sleep at night without having ever seen a space alien. My dad was unwavering in his notion that the little pit of emptiness I had always felt in the back of my soul stemmed from my disassociation with a spiritual deity, but it wasn’t until I journeyed to Isle de Guadalupe and gazed into the eyes of an 18 foot great white shark named Thor that this emptiness was filled with an awe for a god that had been absent all my life. 

As an avid scuba diver and lover of marine life, I had read various books on the great white shark. These creatures are pure perfection of evolutionary art. They boast six thousand pounds of muscle, are the only animal that devours its weaker siblings in the womb, is immune to cancer and is constantly awake. While navigating south from San Diego on the two-day boat ride, I thought about these facts and asked myself if there was a single creature higher than the great white so designed to live forever. 

Before I open the pages into the details of my spiritual awakening, permit me to set the stage: Upon entering the cage it only took about 10 minutes before the first shark appeared. It circled the cage carefully studying each diver. In the movie ‘Jaws’ the rugged shark hunter Quint states that great whites have “lifeless eyes, black eyes, like a doll’s eyes”, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Great whites have a variety of eye colors that include blue and brown. Additionally, each shark made eye contact with every single diver. Later that day a great white named Thor made eye contact with me. I don’t know if sharks can sense emotions in humans or if our heart rates serve as a language they can understand. I stared into Thor’s eyes and felt a calming wave of warmth wash across the face of my soul. I looked into his intelligent eyes with awe and total respect, as a misunderstood creature, and marveled at his powerful mass. Just then he moved in and slowly approached the cage while never breaking eye contact with me. Then, two feet from the cage bars, he broke his path and headed to the right of the cage. Before he vanished into the blue, he swerved to the side and met my gaze once more, as if he was saying “farewell for now fellow soul”.

We shared a moment. I was sure of this. As a well-travelled individual who has lived and seen enough to fill 10 lifetimes, never had I witnessed something so spiritually moving. I felt the presence of a divine being within this shark. This powerful, sensitive creature that never sleeps imprinted his soul into mine. 

Two months later I can happily report that the emptiness I once felt has been filled. Perhaps my father was right; it may be that my soul simply needed to be filled with the spirit or energy of something ethereal and divine. 


Going face-to-face with a great white shark isn’t just reserved for the thrill-seeker or the curious. This is an excursion I would recommend to anyone who feels a void deep within their being, or someone who is suffering from any number of personal or health issues. The great white shark is a healer; he is the misunderstood shaman of the sea. 

Coming face to face with a Great White Shark can mean a lot of things to different individuals. What is universal is the fact that you will never forget the first time a Great White Shark looked you straight into the eyes.

Let's go shark diving!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Aussie kills Great White Shark in self defense?

According to a report in "The Daily Star" a tuna diver killed a 6 meter long (19.8 ft) great white shark. The article states:

"It was either the shark or him. South Australian tuna diver, Dean Stefanek, 38, battled a 6-meter shark for 30 minutes and lived to tell about it.
Although, he said he regrets having to kill the massive White shark, he said he felt it was either the shark, or him.
He said he volunteered to jump into a tuna pen to try to kill the injured shark."


Now this is complete rubbish. If the report is accurate, how could it have been the shark or the diver, since he is saying that he volunteered to jump into the tuna pen to kill the shark. Since he wasn't in the water to begin with and jumped in specifically to kill the shark, he can't exactly claim self defense!

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Thursday, October 24, 2013

What is it like to come face to face with a great white shark?

Recently we had Tony Consiglio join us on a great white shark expedition to Guadalupe island. This is his report on XM sports, about his experience, coming face to face with a great white shark.
 

My Swim with Great White Sharks – An XN Sports Special

 

A 50-square foot cage suspended me just below the surface of the crystal clear waters of the Pacific Ocean 140 miles off the coast of Mexico. I had 200-feet of visibility all around me. I was on full alert.
There was a school of several hundred mackerel that moved together as if controlled by a single brain. Families of fur seals would occasionally swim by to play. A couple of sea turtles even showed up.
But none of those were the reason I had traveled to Isla Guadalupe. I was in search of something bigger. More elusive. Mysterious.
I wanted to see a great white shark.
I had never had any plans or desires to willingly put myself within arm’s reach of a great white. If having a window seat on the Universal Studios’ Jaws ride was as close as I’d ever get to one, I’d have been ok with that.
After all, they’re ruthless man-eaters, and the only chance I’d have against one is if I had a bullet and it happened to be chomping on an oxygen tank.
At least, that’s what television and movies wanted me to believe.
So, while I had never had any dreams getting in the water with some of the ocean’s largest predators, when I had the opportunity to join Shark Diver on one of its excursions from San Diego in early October, I decided I had to go.
The company’s slogan is “Safe and Sane Shark Diving,” which is much more welcoming than the “Don’t Go in the Water” of Jaws. And since there were no Sharknados in the forecast, any concerns I did have were quickly erased.
Shark Diver CEO Martin Graf has been leading these trips to Isla Guadalupe for 13 years. He is a Swiss-born former professional cyclist who raced competitively for nearly two decades with some of the best athletes in the world. Now he makes his living by providing anyone the opportunity to connect with these animals that captivated him years ago.
Martin Graf - Shark Diver
Shark Diver CEO Martin Graf leads the shark diving excursions to Isla Guadalupe. Cindy Michaels-Shark Diver
After taking up scuba diving following his retirement from racing, he made his first connection with a great white, and he has been captivated by them ever since. A shark named Shredder looked him in the eye and they bonded. Graf feels that these sharks remember him when they see each other multiple times, even if they hadn’t seen each other in five years.
So if these sharks can form even a basic bond with a human, and if one named “Shredder” can look at a person and not make him shark food, how dangerous could it really be?
“I think that the white sharks, or sharks in general, have the biggest disproportion of the perceived danger versus actual danger, and it’s because of the fact that they live in the ocean,” Graf says. “People are afraid of what they don’t know.
“Sharks just have that reputation of being dangerous, whereas bears are much more dangerous to a human. If you’re within 10 feet of a polar bear, say, you have a very small chance that that polar bear will not attack you. Whereas if you’re within 10 feet of a white shark in the water, you’ll have a minimal chance that they might even try to come after you or even try to check you out.”
Graf has actually seen and helped identify about 150 sharks at Isla Guadalupe during his years going there. And he can name each one just by a description of its color pattern, size, and markings. He has spent enough time with these animals to make me fairly certain that I would be able to return to the mainland with all, or at least most, of my limbs.
During the 25-hour trip out to the island, in between the visits by dolphins playing in the boat’s wake, Graf made me feel that I would become friends with the great whites from the moment I met them.
Maybe I would see Chugey, who had just recovered from a terrible injury. Or Quetzalcoatl, who was seen earlier in the season for the first time in eight years. Or maybe Lucy, who is missing a piece of her tail, but still manages to survive.
#56 Quetztalcotl
Quetzalcotl swims up to the camera during a previous shark diving trip. Martin Graf-Shark Diver
I was finding that I was already starting to look at the animals in a different way. My beliefs of them being aggressive and dangerous creatures were already being replaced by thoughts that they’d be more likely to join me for a game of poker.
And, I wasn’t alone. There were 17 other people joining me on the trip from around the world. Along with several from the United States, there were three from England, two from Iceland, and another from Canada. Some had been on shark dives before. Others had not. But everyone couldn’t wait to get into the water.
The first day of diving began before the sun came up. Chef Mark of the M/V Horizon cooked up a delicious breakfast (as he did for every meal) as us divers prepared for the day. We changed into our wetsuits while watching the sun rise on the open water of the Pacific, which, in itself, was worth the price of admission.
At 8 a.m., the first groups of divers got into the cages. Floating in the water off the stern of the boat, the two cages hold 8-10 divers at a time. Each diver gets his or her own regulator so everyone can stay underwater, about five feet under the surface, and focus on spotting any nearby sharks.
Diving shifts last an hour, with the next groups immediately replacing the divers who are finishing up. The process continues throughout the day, with only a half-hour break for lunch.
Sunrise
The sunrise over the Pacific Ocean as seen from Isla Guadalupe. Cindy Michaels-Shark Diver
I got into the cage for the first time during one of the morning shifts. I was one of several people on this trip who had never been scuba diving before, so, even though this technically wasn’t scuba diving, it was still going to be a foreign experience. In fact, I had never even worn a wetsuit. Putting it on the first time was a bit like fighting a life-sized rubber chicken, then trying to wear it. After eventually winning that battle, I felt like I had been shrink-wrapped, but I quickly adjusted.
I waited for my other four cagemates to take their spots, then followed them into our submersible chamber. I was expecting a shock of cold ocean water as I took the plunge, but I was pleasantly surprised with how reasonably warm it actually was. Even adjusting to breathing through the regulator was fairly easy.
It didn’t take me long to get settled in the cage and find a sort of routine. I’d stand and look out toward the open water for a couple minutes, then turn around and look back under the boat. Then I’d kneel for a while and look toward the bottom.
I repeated the process for 60 minutes, with no luck. The crew members on deck chummed the water and repeatedly tossed bait bags, but the sharks didn’t seem particularly interested in coming to say hi to me.
It was more of the same when I was in the cage in the afternoon, too. There was plenty of marine life to admire, but it was a great white I was looking for.
Tony Getting into Cage
Martin Graf helps me get into one of the cages. Cindy Michaels-Shark Diver
The day wasn’t a total bust, though. I still did get to see my first ever shark. While in the galley doing some reading during an off shift, I heard a call of “White Shark!”. One of the crew members had spotted one swimming around the boat.
I joined the rest of the passengers on board in rushing toward the railings and followed the pointing arms of those already watching it. It was not far off the starboard side and moving toward the cages just a few feet below the surface. I was hoping its dorsal fin would break the surface, just like in the movies, but it never did.
Still, though, the water was plenty clear enough to get a good look at it from above the surface. It had an awe-inspiring and imposing presence. I followed it down the boat as it made its way toward the stern, then just in front of the cages, before it swam off into the blue.
I couldn’t imagine what it would have been like to be in the cage at that moment. The faces on the divers as they came out of the water said it all. It was an experience of a lifetime.The incredible pictures they were able to get with their waterproof cameras looked like they belonged in National Geographic. I couldn’t wait for my own encounter.
I would have loved to have continued diving into the late afternoon and early evening, but sunset comes early in the northeast cove of Isla Guadalupe. Mount Augusta, which reaches an elevation of 4,257 feet, blocks the sun shortly after 4:00 p.m., so visibility all but disappears. The pursuit would have to wait until morning.
Mount Augusta
Mount Augusta serves as the backdrop in the northeast cove of Isla Guadalupe.
Day two was very similar to day one. The weather was gorgeous. It was the perfect type of day to spend on a boat and dive for sharks. It just so happened I missed out on them again. As with the day before, there were a few that stopped by. I just wasn’t in the water at the time. With only a half day of diving left, my desire to see a shark in the water was only increasing.
And that night, after a steak dinner, that need grew even more. Mauricio Hoyos, who knows as much about great whites as just about anyone, took a boat ride from his home on the island and came aboard for the night to give a brief lesson on great whites, as he often does on these excursions. Hoyos owns a Ph.D. in animal behavior and lives on Isla Guadalupe for three months a year. He has studied these sharks in this area for nearly 15 years and has gotten to observe their habits over long periods of time.
“It is a beautiful animal,” Hoyos says. “And the thing is, most of the time, they are afraid of us. We are big animals, and with the bubbles they think ‘What is that?’ This is not an animal from this ecosystem. So in most of the cases it is very hard for me to get close to them. It’s not like in the movies like if you go to the water, they are going to attack you. No. They are very conscious.
“The white sharks, when you have a tuna head floating, they do not come and get it. They circle around two or three times and they come close, and then they go away, and then on the third time maybe they are going to get it. So it’s not what everybody thinks.”
Hoyos gave a presentation about what he has discovered through his research. The truth is, there are so many more questions than answers about these creatures. Experts aren’t even entirely sure why great whites return to Isla Guadalupe year after year.
The sharks travel between Hawaii and Baja, California every year, spending about three months at Isla Guadalupe in late summer/early fall. Theories for their annual visits range from it being a mating ground to a great source of food. There is an abundance of tuna and elephant seals, which are among the sharks’ favorite foods, in the area.
Regardless of the reasons the great whites converge on the island, it makes for the best place in the world for humans to see them, because of the high population in the area (which Hoyos believes could be as many as 200) and the fact the water is so clear. Most of the humans on my trip had gotten their opportunity. I was still waiting for mine.
On the morning of the day we headed back to the mainland, I wasn’t taking any chances. I woke up early to get in the cage as soon as it was in the water. I thought maybe my luck would change as the sun rose.
Tony Shark Diving Cage
I wave to the camera as I wait for a shark to swim by during one of my final dives. Cary Humphries-M/V Horizon
It didn’t.
I climbed back onto the boat thinking I would leave Mexico without doing what I had traveled thousands of miles to do. But I wasn’t giving up. We still had a few hours before we raised the anchor. When my next rotation came around, I was ready.
After 10 minutes or so in the water, I turned around to look under the boat, and there it was. About 40 feet in front of me was a 14-foot shark. I held my breath as I watched it because I wasn’t going to miss any part of this moment. I didn’t want the bubbles from my regulator to block any part of my vision. I didn’t want any of my focus to be wasted even on breathing.
The shark swam from right to left in no apparent rush to be anywhere. It moved so gracefully for an animal so big. It didn’t seem the least bit interested in any of the aliens in its environment banging on the metal cages. It just continued on its way, moseying past all of the other fish swimming around.
After about 10 seconds, it faded away. I spent the next 45 minutes looking everywhere, hoping it was still in the area and was coming back. I wanted to see it again. I wanted it to come closer.
Shark
A great white swims from right to left by the cage, much like the one I saw. Martin Graf-Shark Diver
To those who know nothing more about great whites than what is in the movies or on the news, that may sound strange. A week before that, it may have been weird even to me. But after all I had learned about these sharks in the few days before that moment, there was nothing to fear, but everything to experience.
That ended up being the last shark I’d see on the trip. And, while I was hoping I could have seen a few more from under the water, I was not at all disappointed. I had seen and learned more than I had ever expected, and I now have a newfound appreciation and fascination for these animals.
The amount of mystery that still surrounds great whites makes them so much more intriguing. Graf says for every new answer he gets to a question about them, he ends up with several more questions. He’s been learning about them for 13 years. I felt the same way after five days, and it makes me want to know more.
And I will. Because it turns out diving with great white sharks is addictive. I will return to the waters of Isla Guadalupe, and I will continue to be fascinated by these mysterious creatures of the deep.

Thank you Toni for coming out with us and sharing your experience with your readers!

Cheers,
Martin Graf and Cindy Michaels
Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at at staff@sharkdiver.com.

Monday, October 21, 2013

No more shark fin soup in China?

Have the Chinese seen the light and stopped eating shark fin soup?

According to an article in the Washington Post that is exactly what is happening in China. The report states that  "consumption of shark fin soup in China is down by 50 to 70 percent in the last two years,” 

It goes on to state  "Thanks to a former NBA star, a coalition of Chinese business leaders, celebrities and students, and some unlikely investigative journalism, eating shark fin soup is no longer fashionable here. But what really tipped the balance was a government campaign against extravagance that has seen the soup banned from official banquets"

We talked about this a few months back, when China first announced that they would stop serving shark fin soup at state dinners and we are happy to see that the changes are happening faster than anyone anticipated.

We are always happy to report when things are changing for the better and want to thank the Chinese people for caring about our Oceans and the sharks that are such an important part of it.

Cheers,

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Shark sentenced to death?

Strange things are happening in Australia. According to a report on sharkyear magazine and the international business times a shark has been sentenced to death, because of a suspected attack on a diver. "A catch and kill order was issued and staff have been sent to the dive area about 180km east of Esperance to deploy capture gear."

While reading the article I realized, that victim was diving in an area that is known for various species of large sharks "A spokesman for Surf Life Saving said the coast off Esperance was dangerous for divers, as many big sharks are seen in the area on a regular basis. The species of shark is unknown, but both tiger sharks and great white sharks are known to the area."

So how are they going to determine which shark
to kill, if they don't even know the species that was responsible for the attack? Now I can understand the urge to do something to make the ocean safer for divers after an attack, but to just go out and indiscriminately catch and kill a shark doesn't accomplish anything.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Superhero Shark Wrangler?

Ocearch seems to be on a publicity campaign to promote their tagging of great white sharks again. This article on CNN is a bit ridiculous, even by OCEARCH standards.

The headline is calling the captain of the Ocearch vessel, Brett McBride, "Shark wrangler who sleeps with the fishes" The article it goes on to say:"Imagine you're sitting at the bottom of the ocean, amidst 500 sharks in a feeding frenzy.Would you: A.) Swim to the surface as fast as your trembling legs could take you. B.) Find a weapon to arm yourself with. C.) Fall asleep. Brett McBride fell asleep. For a minute. While hundreds of three-meter-long Galapagos sharks swarmed around him during a feeding frenzy off the coast of Costa Rica."

Ocearch lifiting shark out of the water.
That should tell you something about the intelligence of the guy. Falling asleep while scuba diving is an act of heroism, but a great recipee for a disaster. The article states "The 46-year-old shark wrangler doesn't suffer from some kind of severe narcolepsy. Instead, he was merely proving a point -- these fearsome predators aren't going to be interested in you, if you're not interested in them." How is falling asleep while SCUBA diving and risking to drown, proving a point that sharks are not interested in you? It's just another stupid stunt to impress an uninformed public and make him out to be a superhero.

Their definition of a superhero seems to be someone who gets his boats lines tangled in the props, which forces him to dive in order to free them. Wow, who knew that this makes one a superhero. I've performed dives like that myself and never felt particularly heroic doing them. Heros are people like firefighters, paramedics, soldiers etc. who risk their lives for the benefit of others, not publicity seeking idiots. Interestingly, most of those real Heros are a lot more humble than these Ocearch publicity seekers.

Dr. Domeier tagging a shark without lifting it.
Mc Bride goes on to offer other words of "wisdom" "When the shark is taken out of the equation, the squid populations explode. They're voracious eaters so every night they'd eat the baby fish -- swordfish, tuna, marlin. The fish are being wiped out, not by man, but by squid. And that's because man took away their main predator -- sharks," said McBride.  Wow, I wonder where he get's that info from. Is that a scientific or a PIDOOMA (Pulled It Directly Out Of My A..) statement? 

The fact that Ocearch still insists on stressing the sharks by taking them out of the water to tag them, when Dr. Domeier has shown that it is no longer necessary, clearly shows that they are much more interested in what makes for good TV instead of good science.

We at Shark Diver support responsible shark research, but we do not condone sharks being abused in the name of sicence, just to get TV ratings.

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver

About Shark Diver. As a global leader in commercial shark diving and conservation initiatives
Shark Diver has spent the past decade engaged for sharks around the world. Our blog highlights all aspects of both of these dynamic and shifting worlds. You can reach us directly at staff@sharkdiver.com