Friday, April 11, 2014

"Expert" advice on avoiding a shark attack?

The Huffington post had this nice article yesterday, telling their readers  "What Not To Do Around Sharks, According To The Experts"

I have to admit, I was curious as to what we should not do around sharks. After all, we can always learn something new.

The first think they mention, "Don't freak out!"  Fair enough, splashing and thrashing around wildly, is definitely not advisable in the company of sharks.

The second thing is "Don't try to escape by swimming and splashing away furiously". Kind of like the first one, but again, not bad advise.

Third "Don't turn your back to the shark!" OK, good idea. Not that I think you have to be an expert to come up with that, but like I said, good idea.

Fourth, "Don't completely rely on shark repellents" I don't think the general public relies on shark repellents anyway, but with those snake oil salesmen or women, trying to sell shark repelling wetsuits, (pictured below) it's good to point out, that there is absolutely no proof that they work.

Fifth, "Don't force a moment! touching, riding or forcing any type of unnatural interaction with a shark should be completely off limits. The growing number of videos featuring shark and human interactions can give the average swimmer the false impression that sharks can be easily approached"

Wow, now we are getting somewhere. This is really good advise, specially considering all the people who get bit by nurse sharks, because they pulled their tails. I really thought the experts nailed that advise.

But,.........  they didn't leave it at that. They had to go on and qualify that last statement by saying
"Unless you're an experienced professional or your name is Kimi Werner (pictured above)"
Wait, you are saying if you are an expert (and Kimi Werner certainly qualifies as an expert, this being her first visit to Guadalupe and all) you can go and touch the sharks?!

The article goes on to say "But even the most experienced divers consider the huge risk factor when approaching a shark and only do so after making an educated assessment." So even though it's a huge risk, even for the most experienced divers, it's OK for them to do it? Even though it's illegal at Guadalupe to dive outside the cages, it's OK for them?

Of course, I get it. This is no longer about conservation or what not to do around sharks. This is simply  another one of these "do as I say, not as I do" kind of crap. What I really want you to do is "look at me, because I'm so cool!"

When they go on to say "More importantly, Werner and her dive partner never intended to 'ride' the fish, saying that the interaction happened naturally" , they really loose all credibility. They must have read my blog here, where I talked about how a photographer explained a picture showing a diver riding a shark by saying that the shark had a "very intrusive personality" Right, the shark wanted Kimi to ride her! I call BS on that!

This whole Huffington post article is exactly why these idiots are doing these stupid stunts. They get into the media. They get their 15 minutes of fame. Unfortunately it's those kinds of "experts" that the media relies on, when it comes to covering anything shark related.  How can they quote an "expert", that tells people not to do what they themselves do? Aside from giving hypocritical advice, by giving these guys the publicity they seek, the Huffington post actually promotes the illegal diving outside of cages and riding sharks at Guadalupe.

Martin Graf
Shark Diver

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