Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Shark conservation at Guadalupe?

How many times do we have to put up with those idiots, diving outside the cages at Guadalupe. It seems like every week there is another article, glorifying that illegal activity. The latest installment of "look at me, I'm so cool" comes from "Fins Attached", a non profit out of Colorado, that is supposedly into shark conservation.

In a piece on channel 13 in Colorado Springs, their founder, Dr. Alex Antoniou is quoted as saying
"An ambush predator by nature, researchers have found simple eye contact keeps the massive predators at bay. “As long as you stand your ground and maintain eye contact you’ll see it coming toward us and it’ll just veer off,” Dr. Alex Antoniou, founder of Fins Attached, said."

I guess the good Dr. is still new enough to think he's got the great white sharks figured out. What could go wrong?! But let's assume for a second that the guy is right. Can you tell me, how the guy in the video below is maintaining that eye contact?
 

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

This is just another idiotic attempt at self promotion. These guys don't care that their actions endanger every other shark diving operator and in turn the sharks themselves. When someone is finally going to get hurt or worse, everyone might get shut down. If that happens, I doubt that the poachers will stay away for long and who's going to look out for the sharks and make sure, their fins do stay attached.

If you want to contact "Fins attached" and let them know, how you feel, you can contact them here.

At Shark Diver we believe that only "safe and sane" diving with sharks can help conservation. These illegal activities are simply publicity stunts and do more harm than good.

Why can't we accept these awesome White Sharks for what they are? They are predators, not harmless pets.

Viewing them from a cage is legal, safe and you get plenty close to the sharks.



Close enough? They swim right by the cages and look you in the eye. No need to go outside the cage and endanger everyone.

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, November 2, 2014

"Selfie" shows what sharks are like?

When it comes to sharks, the news coverage is pretty atrocious. It seems like they either portray the sharks as mindless killers, or harmless pets. The people that get coverage, are invariably doing something stupid, or flat illegal.

An example of the stupid kind is the latest report by the "Mail Online". They are posting an article that features a diver taking "selfies" while leaning way out of a cage, while diving with great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe.



This picture reminds me of a professional photographer that was leaning out of a cage, filming a shark and never realized that a second shark was coming at him, with his mouth open. If it wasn't for another diver smashing his camera against the sharks nose, it would have taken the photographers head off. After the dive, the photographer didn't believe that there was a shark behind him and to this day, doesn't believe that he was within inches of being bit.

It is not the shark that you see that will get you, it's the one you never know is there.

For the diver in this picture to make a statement like: 'I began making selfies with all kinds of sharks – mostly for fun. 'Only later I realized that they could show people what sharks are like – when behaving normally, there is no danger.

Yep, you want to show people what sharks are like by taking a "selfie". You could not possibly achieve this by filming the sharks and show, how they behave. Nope, you have to get yourself into that picture to accomplish that.  Trying to get your 15 minutes of fame had absolutely nothing to do with it. Newsflash, while it is true that we are not on their menu, great white sharks are NOT harmless, specially when you are in a baited situation. 


The full article is here.

I don't understand why people who say they love sharks, feel the need to portray them as something they are not. Are those people somehow ashamed that great white sharks are apex predators and not harmless pets.

If you want to come face to face with a great white shark and believe in doing is "safe and sane", give us a call at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com.

We are looking forward to showing you these awesome sharks from inside a cage.

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.

Friday, October 31, 2014

What is it like to come face to face with a Great White Shark?

Allan Davey and his son were part of our first Great White Shark expedition to Guadalupe Island this season. He has documented his experience in his blog, A Truly Great White Shark Adventure.

He writes:
 
"Gunther" nibbling on cage. Photo Allan Davey.
We had sharks visit on every session in the cage which apparently isn’t always the case. There was a lot more action on our trip then on previous trips. ( This has continued on trips after ours ). Two of the larger sharks exhibited unusual behaviour which prompted discussions amongst the crew. They were repeatedly gnawing on the cage and one would get under it and knock it from below. They weren’t trying to attack but they were being aggressive. At one point while one of the sharks was biting the cage, a tooth dislodged and started to flutter down. My cage mate went to grab it then realized what he was doing as he started to reach towards the gaping jaws and quickly and fortunately realized that would be unwise. Made for some great personal experiences but made me ponder what is happening to these sharks and their environment that might explain this behaviour. Then again our Dive Master Martin Graf said that as soon as you think you know something about white sharks they do something unexpected and everything goes out the window.

It was very unusual that during our first 2 trips, some sharks that have been around our cages for years, "Gunther" and "Drogin" were repeatedly nibbling on our cages. There was no food by the cages and they did it in slow motion, with their eyes open and not rolled back. I have never observed that kind of behavior before.

We also saw some great interaction between sea lions and sharks that Allan has documented with these awesome pictures.

Well, hello there! How are you today?

Hey, wanna go play?




You can read Allan's blog here. Along with a lot of awesome pictures, he also has some great info and tips for photographers. Thanks Allen!

Here are some more samples of his pictures!




Check out the blue eyes!

If you would like to experience these shark up close and personal yourself, call us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com. You can find our expedition schedule at http://www.sharkdiver.com/dive-packages/great-white-shark-diving/

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.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Shark attack, surfer kicking for his life?

Today's headlines of a few Australian newspapers scream "Shark Attack In Australia Had Pro Surfer Ryan Hunt Kicking For His Life""Top surfer who survives shark attack after kicking it in the head"
and Surfer undergoes surgery after shark attack near Old Bar, NSW. 

So what happened? Another surfer attacked by a great white shark? 

The reports are stating things like "A surfer survived a shark attack after kicking it in the head as he rode a wave. Ozzie Ryan Hunt, 20, was attacked by a shark while surfing at Wallabi Point in New South Wales. The beast went for his foot repeatedly during the terrifying incident at around 5.30pm, biting through the board."
and "A shark attack in Australia had a young professional surfer named Ryan Hunt kicking for his life when the shark kept coming back for him in the waves."

Wow, sounds like this guy was lucky and barely escaped with his life! Of course, after reading the reports a little more carefully, you get the real story. After writing the headline "Shark Attack in Australia Had Pro Surfer Ryan Hunt Kicking for his Life" the "Inquisitr" states  "The 20-year-old surfer says the shark attack occurred while he was surfing small waves at dusk. According to Hunt, he was “pretty unlucky to stand on the shark’s head” while at Wallabi Point, which is on the coast of New South Wales, Australia. Needless to say, the shark was not exactly pleased to have a human standing on its noggin."

So the guy actually stepped on the sharks head, OK, still, pretty lucky to get away with his life after being bit by this "beast".  How big was that beast?  Well, lets see what they say about the size. “I tried to kick it off and it bit down again and then it swam up between my legs. I had my hands trying to push down its head, it was about 10 inches wide.”

Wow, the head was 10 inches wide!!! Imagine a 10 inch wide shark coming at you, ....... well, never mind. Another typical hyped up headline. 

And how about the injuries sustained in this "terrifying" "attack"?

   
source
 
Granted, that's a pretty good gash, but by reading the headlines, you'd expect much worse. As to calling this a shark attack, seems to me that the shark was just reacting to being stepped on the head.

Surfer attacks shark, would have been a more appropriate headline.

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, October 29, 2014

No cage shark diving with Shark Diver?

Mens Journal, in it's October issue has an article on "no cage shark diving". In that article, Shark Diver is mentioned  as offering such dives.

"There is definitely a bucket list aspect," says Martin Graf, who conducts trips in the Bahamas and Guadalupe through his company, Shark Diver, which began offering no-cage expeditions in 2012. "

I want to make sure that everyone understands that we do not offer cage free dives with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe! Our cage free diving is only done, where it is both legal and safe to do so, with Tiger Sharks in the Bahamas and Bull Sharks in Fiji.

Our dives at Isla Guadalupe are exclusively in cages and are part of a 5 day live aboard trip, leaving from San Diego. You can find our schedule for these trips here.


In Fiji, we are not using cages and are diving with up to 70 Bull Sharks at a time. Our partners there, Beqa Adventure Divers have been safely operating these cage free dives for over 10 years. They are of course also the guys who were instrumental in the designation of their Shark Reef as a national park. We talked about their good work here.  You can find more information on our Bull Shark trips to Fiji here.







In the Bahamas, we dive with Tiger Sharks. We do not use cages there and only attract the sharks to the dive site, but do not hand feed, or in any way handle the sharks. For more info on these trips, visit our website here.





We at Shark Diver have always been outspoken on the no cage diving that is going on at Guadalupe and have written about it here, here, and here.

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.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Do you want to work with sharks?

My friend Ingrid Sprake, a project director at Projects Abroad has let me know about an exciting volunteer opportunity, to work with sharks in South Africa.

If you would like to apply for this position, you can do it here


  • Placement location: Old Harbour Museum, Hermanus, South Africa
  • Role: To work directly with the Shark Conservation Project
  • Main Research Focus: Scientific shark research, shark conservation, education
  • Environment: Marine
  • Accommodation: Shared volunteer accommodation
  • Price: From £1,845
  • What's included? Food, accommodation, airport transfers, insurance, personal webpage, induction and orientation, 24/7 support
  • What's not included? Flights, visa costs, spending money
  • Length of placement: From 2 weeks
  • Start dates: Flexible from 1st February 2015
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This project is perfect for anyone with a passion for marine wildlife and the great outdoors. The South African Shark Conservation Project offers you the chance to get up close to some of the most endangered and mis-understood animals in the world whilst working closely with experts in this field to ensure the conservation of these animals. Volunteers are welcome on a gap year, a career break, for university research or as part of a summer holiday.
Diving with sharksThe Shark Conservation Project is based in the Old Harbour Museum in the coastal town of Hermanus in South Africa. Hermanus is situated on the shores of Walker Bay, which lies at the meeting of two great oceans - the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
The close proximity to the sea enables the project to have a fully operational marine laboratory equipped with experimental tanks housing captive sharks and a touch-tank for educational purposes. The site also houses an education center where a training and outreach programme is delivered to the community, fishermen & the eco-tourism industry.
Here you will find answers to the following questions:

 

What is my role on this Conservation & Environment project?

As a volunteer on the Shark Conservation project you will observe and assist the local scientists with a wide range of on-going and long-term research projects. Your regular activities will include:
  • Assisting with scientific surveys to assess how pollution is affecting the oceans.
  • Monitoring the diversity and movement of sharks, skates and rays in Walker Bay using conventional tagging techniques.
  • Collecting biological measurements from catshark species for identification, conservation and management purposes.
  • Collecting data on sharks, including genetic samples, tagging, movement, and growth.
  • Non-invasive monitoring of the diversity and habitat use of sharks using the baited remote underwater video (BRUV) method.
  • Assisting with sample collection of invertebrates, algae, sharks, etc for better understanding of ecosystem dynamics (food webs).
  • Developing and implementing community-based education activities and programmes.
  • Report and article writing.
A typical working day will run from 7am to 6pm. However, depending on the activities volunteers may be required to start earlier or finish later. Trained local staff are on hand to supervise activities and provide support throughout. The weekly schedule includes conducting lab-based shark behaviour experiments and boat-based shark surveys.
Whilst this project does not include any scuba diving activities, as a volunteer you will have the opportunity to go cage diving with great white sharks, usually once every two weeks. You will also assist in the collection of ecotourism-based data on white sharks. Additionally, volunteers staying longer than 4 weeks will participate in an individual shark identification project. This uses photo ID techniques to develop a catalogue on endemic shark species in Walker Bay.
Part of your stay will include completing the Shark Research Project Course which results in a certification. As part of the course you will see a shark dissection and collect data on a moribund shark.

What are the aims of this Conservation & Environment project?

The primary aims of the Shark Conservation Project in South Africa are to:
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    Diving with sharks
  • Conduct and coordinate research on sharks, their habitats, population dynamics, and behavioural ecology
  • Collect baseline data on marine biodiversity, ecology and habitats within Walker Bay
  • Develop holistic and realistic conservation and management recommendations based on thorough science
  • Collect, collate and contribute consistent and reliable data to environmental, fishery, management and conservation organisations
  • Work with fishermen to develop realistic solutions to fishery issues
  • Provide free education programmes to local communities, schools, fishermen, and conservationists to encourage a broad understanding of threats facing marine ecosystems
  • Use science-based data in a public forum to demystify sharks and promote better understanding of the ecological role of apex predators in marine ecosystems
  • Work with regional educators to develop shark-related educational resources
  • Promote sustainable use of living marine resources through science, education and awareness
The shark research being carried out on the project in South Africa helps to ensure that scientists and marine protection lobbyists are provided with regular and consistent scientific data about the life history, reproductive information, movement and biology of the sharks found in South African waters. This information is vital for devising successful conservation and management strategies, helping to keep these specific shark species off the critically endangered species lists.
The Shark Conservation Project is based in the Old Harbour Museum in the coastal town of Hermanus in South Africa. Hermanus is situated on the shores of Walker Bay, which lies at the meeting of two great oceans - the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.
Sharks play a crucial role in our oceans. Most sharks serve as apex predators at the top of the marine food pyramid. Directly or indirectly they regulate the natural balance of the marine ecosystems, at all levels, and are therefore an essential part of them. Sharks usually hunt old, weak or sick prey and help to keep the prey population in good condition, enabling these more naturally fit animals to reproduce and pass on their genes.
The Shark Conservation Project in South Africa forms part of Projects Abroad’s Global Shark Campaign, which gives people from various backgrounds and ages the chance to help with the conservation of sharks and marine life. Projects Abroad are embarking on a campaign in 18 countries across four continents to raise awareness on shark conservation.

Where will I live on this project?

Volunteers live together in shared accommodation in Hermanus, with 2 - 4 volunteers sharing a room. A local housekeeper looks after the volunteer accommodation and prepares three meals a day. Packed lunches are provided on days in the field.
You will be met at the international airport in Cape Town and be transferred to Hermanus, 1.5 hours away.
Diving with sharks
The local food consists of plenty of rice, potatoes, bread, chicken and starchy root vegetables. Tropical fruit like papaya, mango, pineapple and watermelon are available in season. Vegetarians can be catered for.
Hermanus offers a variety of activities, including kayaking, fishing, hiking, boat-based whale watching trips (in season). There is also excellent scuba diving, and some of South Africa’s most beautiful beaches. There are many restaurants, art galleries and local shops to visit. Since it is situated only 1.5hours from Cape Town, volunteers can easily access the city and all it has to offer.
You can join the Conservation & Environment project in South Africa for two or three weeks if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work within the local area please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.

Again, the link to apply is here and if you would like more information on this and many other volunteer opportunities, you can find it here.

This is your chance to make a real difference.

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.

No more drumlines, let the shark killing begin?

Shark Year Magazine just published this:


Western  Australian Government to take action to protect human life when necessary due to an imminent shark threat
 
The State Government has reached an agreement with the Commonwealth Government that will ensure in the event of a shark attack or threat; immediate action can be taken by the Western Australian Government to implement the imminent threat policy.
 
Premier Colin Barnett said this would enable the State Government to respond quickly in the event of a shark posing a threat, or after an attack.
 
“It is important that that we can take action to protect human life when necessary due to an imminent threat, without delay,” he said.
 
“Protocols are being developed to this effect, consistent with Federal environmental law so no ongoing further approvals would be required from the Commonwealth,” Mr Barnett said.
 
“The Federal and State governments will work together so that the State Government can take appropriate action to protect public safety when there is an imminent threat from a shark, as was the case in the recent attack in Esperance.”
 
“This approach strikes the necessary balance between protecting public safety and protecting our environment,” he said.
 
The Premier confirmed the State Government had withdrawn its application for Commonwealth approval of the drum line shark hazard mitigation program.
 
In light of the recommendations from the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority, he said that the application to the Commonwealth had been withdrawn.
 
“We have withdrawn the application after reaching agreement with the Commonwealth which enables us to take immediate action when there is an imminent threat,” Mr Barnett said.
 
“This will mean we will not need to wait for approvals from Canberra in the event of an imminent threat.”
Source: Government of Western Australia

I wonder, what this really means. What constitutes an imminent threat? I'm not sure that Barnett, who doesn't seem to know a whole lot about sharks, is a good person to answer that question.Shark diving, swimming with sharks, cage diving, great white sharks,
After diving with great white sharks for 14 years, I've come to the conclusion, that these sharks are "predictably unpredictable" and I wouldn't know, how to reduce the already miniscule risk of a shark attack, other than avoiding certain spots or spots at certain times. In my opinion, if they are concerned about swimmers safety, they should spend the money they use for shark mitigation on additional life guards or better equipment for them. That might actually save some swimmers from drowning, a far greater risk than getting bit by a shark.

We shall see, how this turns out. 
We cage dive with great white sharks, swim with sharks at Isla Guadalupe Island.
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 23, 2014

Do sharks feel pain?

There have been quite a few articles written on wether sharks feel pain or not. There is a lot of contention on both sides of the issue and the debate has gotten quite personal and ugly.

"Dr. Bob" with big bite marks on his gills.
"DaShark" has summarized what's going on quite well and you can read his thoughts in his blog here.

I'm on the fence on the issue myself. I love sharks and personally would like to see a complete ban on shark fishing. Having said that, I know that this is an unrealistic expectation and that is why Shark Diver started the shark free marina initiative and began working with shark tournaments to include a catch and release division. Now catch and release has become highly controversial as well, specially in light of post release mortality and the above mentioned "can sharks feel pain" debate. Catch and release, with it's post release mortality rate, is certainly not ideal, but it's far better than catch and kill, with a 100% mortality rate.

As far as the pain is concerned, I'm not a scientist, so I can't argue with scientific facts. I have been diving with great white sharks at Isla Guadalupe for 14 years and my observations have led me to think that they do not feel pain like we do.

Ila France Porter, in her blog, writes "Since animals cannot tell us how they feel, scientists have searched indirectly for evidence about their subjective experiences, in the studies of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and behavior. Researchers have developed strict criteria, all of which need to be met, before they can conclude that an animal can feel pain". 

Fish meet all of these criteria, as has been shown in a wide variety of experiments. (Sneddon et al 2003, Reilly et al 2008). 

The blog further states that "the animal should be able to learn to avoid a painful stimulus. This should be so important to the animal that it avoids the threat of pain right away. The painful event should strongly interfere with normal behavior — it should not be an instantaneous withdrawal response, but long-term distress."

and "Yet no evidence has ever been produced to support the idea that an animal could live successfully, and survive, without the ability to feel pain, which is an important warning sensation. It would result in inappropriate behaviour, and the fish would go straight into evolution’s garbage can. Only a small percentage of fish who come into the world live to adulthood, and any weakness would doom them"

My problem with these statement is this. If they are true, how would white sharks, along with other species, whose mating is an extremely painful event, survive? If their feeling of pain causes them to  "avoid the threat of pain right away" and "the pain strongly interferes with their normal behavior", wouldn't they learn to avoid mating in the first place and thus become extinct?

The very survival of a lot of sharks is dependent on what would be a very painful mating procedure, pain, that this article says the animal feeling it, would avoid at all cost.

I know, this is not going to be popular, but based on the above reasons and my observation of sharks with severe bit wounds, like "Chugey" in this picture, swimming around without any signs of distress, I'm not convinced that they feel pain in any way similar to humans.

Like I stated above, I'm not a fan of catch and release fishing and don't want people to mistreat any living creature. What I'm saying though is this. If we want something to change, we have to address it scientifically and not emotionally. It's easy to convince other people who love sharks as much as we do to protect them. If we want to save sharks, we have to convince those who do not share our love for the sharks to change. In order to do that, we need scientific facts and not rhetoric.

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.

How to conquer fear of sharks? Break the law?

Frightened of the water? Go swimming with great whites. that is the heading of an article in the "Telegraph", published a couple of days ago.

Catchy phrase! So is this article really about conquering the fear of sharks? Well, I don't think so. The article is really about Jean Marie Ghislain, one of the guys we have written about here when we talked about the out of cage diving that is going on at Guadalupe Island on various occasions. We all know that it is illegal to do so and, if anything were to happen on those dives, could threaten all the shark diving operations there.

Jean-Marie Ghislain posted pictures like this.


When we wrote about him, he of course was outraged by my comments and responded with this statement.

"Hello Martin, I am the owner of those images and I was very surprised to see them on the blog article you posted. I would like to ask you to immediatly remove them from the web as well as the comments that concerns them- which dont correspond to the reality in that specific situation. The person who is facing the shark had to push the shark away as it was a very intrusive personality and he touched it as little as he could and the dive was aborted immediatly. I don't want the images to be used in a provocative way when they don't reflect the reality of what happened. And I especially don't condone or encourage physical contacts with sharks, but in this specific instance, it could not be avoided by the diver- as I said, he got out of the water right away after the occurence. I am looking forward to hearing from you soon, Thank you, Jean-Marie Ghislain"

So after removing the "offending" pictures and publishing his response here, he is now featured in this article on the "Telegraph"

Jean Marie Ghislain is quoted as saying. “One day in Guadalupe [an island off Baja California in Mexico] three of us were swimming with two great whites. One was a young macho who just wanted us out of the water. But there was this huge, five-metre female who was the coolest shark I’ve ever met. She played with us for one and a half hours and she wanted the contact - she was free to move wherever she wanted, but she clearly wanted company.” 

When I said they were not having shark conservation on their minds, while they did this out of cage diving, but rather did this for a "look at me" publicity stunt, Ghislain was outraged and asked me to remove that comment immediately. He said that it didn't correspond to the reality of that specific situation and that they left the water immediately when the shark got too "intrusive". Now Ghislain has the guts to publish the comment above.

Turns out that the article is not really about conquering the fear of sharks, but rather a promotion for his book "shark: fear and beauty". Again, no self interest involved here at all! "sharkcasm" intended.

It is really bad, when guys can blatantly disregard a law, endanger all the other operators at Guadalupe and pretend it's about shark conservation. Make no mistake, this is not about shark conservation, or getting people to conquer their fear of sharks. This is all about self promotion and making money.

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 9, 2014

Shark conservation at it's best!

Great news out of Fiji. "DaShark" has just sent me an email, letting me know that the Shark Reef Marine Reserve Fiji has been officially designated a National Marine Park.


Celebration from Dave emery on Vimeo.


Thanks to all the guys and gals at Beqa Adventure Divers! Because of your tireless efforts, the sharks and all the marine creatures are now officially protected. Also a huge congratulations to all of you, for being named the official management team for this newly created park. They couldn't have picked a better group.

For all of you, that think a project like this is easy to accomplish, consider this. From the very beginning, none of the stake holders was opposing this project, but it still took 11 years to get it done. Remember that the next time you think that someone's efforts are not getting any results. Projects like these get accomplished by people who don't need instant gratification, who don't let set backs discourage them and who have a lot of determination and perseverance. The gang at Beqa Adventure Divers has all that in spades.

"DaShark" writes in his blog,  

Oh boy has this been an adventure!


It is the result of a whopping 11 years of constant advocacy, cajoling all the way to begging: hundreds upon hundreds of e-mails, dozens of formal meetings and position papers, several governments, multiple ministers, five different village chiefs chairing numerous village meetings with ever changing village committees, having to wait for the outcome of the ultimately failed Fiji Shark Sanctuary campaign, and the list goes on and on and on. And mind you: all these years and enormous effort had to be invested into a conservation project that was completely undisputed and where every single stakeholder had given his approval since the very beginning!

This just as an aside and as a warning to those groups that want to quickly parachute in and get fast results and instant gratification - this is not how Fiji works!


This would not have been possible without the help of a lot of people. So in his blog he is thanking them, for their help in getting this reserve created.

We are highly grateful to Government and specifically, to Frank Bainimarama for not only having single-handedly saved our sorry ass back then in 2010, but for getting Cabinet to finally endorse it. And an enormous shout-out goes to Aisake Batibasaga, Principal Research Officer at the Department of Fisheries, for his unwavering support and encouragement all throughout this interminable process. It is thanks to his very personal effort that it got tabled, and for that we shall always be grateful to him.

Vinaka Bati, you're a good man and a good friend!



Our massive thanks also go to the village of Galoa.

Shark Reef lays is within their fishing grounds, and I must really say that contrary to others, working with them has always been easy, and fueled by mutual trust, respect and above all, honesty. To celebrate this event and show our appreciation, we will very shortly increase the marine park levy, with all incremental funds flowing to Galoa only.

Vinaka vakalevu!



And then there's our unmatched team.

Here's to James for having founded BAD and to Andrew for his excellent leadership, loyalty and hard work; to Papa and Nani that have been invaluable guides when navigating the treacherous waters of local protocol; to Rusi, quite possibly the world's best Shark feeder and my dive buddy who continues to inspire me every single day; and to the BAD boyz an gals that always make me so proud.



And then!

Here's to those wonderful people that have been helping us since the very beginning - for a decade of friendship, counsel and encouragement, and above all, for stellar company and shared adventures: Valerie and the late Ron, Juerg, Gary and Brenda, the Hawaii gang of Jack and his disciples John, Rob and Richard and least but not least, Alexander Goldknecht of the Shark Foundation who funded our first patrol boat, continues to fund Juerg' research and is a sponsor of the ongoing GFSC.

And to you, the many loyal friends we've made on the way, and the thousands upon thousands of visitors that have enabled us to keep going and finally achieve our vision of a tourism-based integrated Shark research and conservation project, and reach finally this milestone.

And to our detractors - your have only strengthened our resolve!

Thank you so much!
There is one person I would like to thank for "getting it done".  Thank you "DaShark"! I know you like to stay behind the scenes and are not seeking the public accolades, but in this case, I have to say, Vinaka vakalevu Mike!

There are a lot of people out there, that say that feeding sharks is bad, period. I wonder if any of them have created a national marine park? This is an excellent example of how real conservation works. This park would never have been created without the shark feeding program. It was the catalyst to get all the stake holders on board and would have been impossible without the funds collected from the divers.

Shark Diver is proud to partner with Beqa Adventure Divers for our Fiji Bull Shark adventures next May. If you want to join us, when we visit this newly created national park, call us at 619.887.4275 or email us at staff@sharkdiver.com

Our 2015 dates are May 8-17, May 15-24 and May 22-31.

Let's go Bull 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.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A 99.999999% effective shark repellent!

Finally, after years of careful research and countless hours spent analyzing shark bite data from all over the world, after comparing all the shark repelling products on the market, we at Shark Diver have found the one shark repellent that works in give or take 99.999999% of the time.

But first, a little background on our research. To obtain our data, we have been diving with Great White Sharks at Isla Guadalupe, Tiger Sharks in the Bahamas and Bull Sharks in Fiji.

Everyone is always skeptical about the testing methods used to obtain the data. The companies advertising their products always say that you can't test the product on humans, because of the dangers involved. We are so confident in our shark repellent, that we put our own butts on the line to proof the effectiveness. More than anyone else can say. ... Oh yes, we have taken some pictures, documenting our work, for all you naysayers out there.



Ooops, the shark came a little close here.


A Tiger Shark showing no interest in biting the diver.

But what about the supposedly most aggressive shark, the Bull Shark?


Wow, that was close, but once again, even a Bull Shark didn't bite the test subject.

But how about a lot of Bull Sharks?

video


The video shows, that the sharks came close, but again, showed no interest in biting our test subjects.

So what is this incredible shark deterrent, that is so effective, that if it were a drug, it would be the most effective drug ever produced? So effective that there is not a single safety device out there, that has a better success rate? Well, it is quite simple actually. The common denominator for all the people that went into the water for thousands of years is this. The were all human! Being human gives you such a miniscule chance of getting bit or killed by a shark, that there is simply no way to design a device that will statistically lower your chances of getting bit by a shark. Think about it, what else is 99.999999% safe?

So let's go out and enjoy the ocean. Just be careful on your way there and watch out for those rip currents.

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, September 30, 2014

Cageless diving with Great White Sharks. Good idea?

This is for all of you who are thinking that it is a good idea to go outside of a cage and dive with Great White Sharks and say that they treat you as one of their own. Check out this video shark diving, great white shark diving, swimming with great white sharks, great white adventures, shark cage diving


Imagine if the smaller shark would have been a diver. Still think it's a good idea?  Still want them to treat you as one of their own?
 Isla Guadalupe shark diving, shark cage diving california.
When will we learn to love the sharks for who and what they are? They are wild predators, not freaking pets. I'm not ashamed to say "I love those Great White Sharks, but the feeling is NOT mutual!" They are not capable of loving us. That doesn't mean that they are mindless killers either. They are fierce predators that are neither out to eat us, nor do they want to be touched or hugged by us.

Let's go "safe and sane" shark diving! See and appreciate them for what they are.

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, September 9, 2014

Pictures and trip report from Guadalupe

Marie Tartar has posted some great pictures and written a blog about her recent trip to Guadalupe Island with us.

Cage diving, swimming with sharks, shark diving, at Isla Guadalupe. experience a real shark week
On her FB page she writes. "Just when you thought it was safe to go back on Facebook...more sharks! Great white sharks, in residence for the season at Guadalupe Island, Mexico. See more pics on my blog:" http://aperturephotoarts.com/white-sharks-guadalupe-island-mexico/




Marie also posted this video.

Thanks for sharing your experience along with your great pictures Marie! It was nice having you come out with us. I enjoyed introducing you to "my" sharks at Isla Guadalupe.

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.

"Chugey" is back at Guadalupe

Just how rough a life do Great White Sharks have? We have talked about the amazing healing power of these amazing animals here and it looks like they really need that ability to heal. Chugey, the shark we were talking about in that blog, is back at Guadalupe Island and it looks like that he hasn't gotten any more careful since he got his face bit. He is sporting some brand new bite marks to add to the scars from his previous bite.

As a reminder, here is what he looked like 2 years ago.


Here is what he looks like with his old scar and new bite marks.



This is another picture of Chugey, taken by one of our divers, Marie Tartar.



It's great to see him back at Guadalupe acting like nothing happened. I continue to be blown away by both their ability to heal and never showing any signs of discomfort or indication that they are in pain, when swimming around with severe bite injuries. Chugey is one of our "original" sharks at Isla Guadalupe, having visited the island every year for well over a decade.

Tonight we leave on our first science dive of the season. Nicole Nasby-Lucas, who is of course the person responsible for our photo ID database, will be coming out with us. Thanks to her, we can individually identify the sharks and also have a history of when they visited Guadalupe Island.

We have seen a few new sharks this season and I cant wait for her to add them to the database.

What will he be named?


If you would like to come out with us, we only have two spaces open for this season, one each on September 19-24 and on November 5-10. We are also booking for next season and some expeditions are almost sold out. Don't miss your chance for an amazing trip of a lifetime. Call 619.887.4275 or email us at staff@sharkdiver.com for more information or to reserve your space.

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, August 27, 2014

A whole lot of fighting going on at Isla Guadalupe.

We have seen an unusual number of sharks with fresh bite marks at Guadalupe Island this season. It seems like most sharks, over about 12 ft long have some kind of new bite marks on their bodies. Chugey has another nice bite to his head, a new shark's face is all messed up and Kendric has a big bite on his tail. It seems like Thor and Bite Face are the only large sharks that haven't been bitten.


I've also noticed a much bigger interest in the cages, by sharks who have been around for years and are used to them. Gunther was nibbling on the cages on a bunch of different occasions. It was definitely not a predatory kind of biting. Their movements were almost in slow motion and when they bit on metal, they didn't react to it at all........ strange. It's amazing, how these sharks just keep surprising us with new behaviors. I call it "predictably unpredictable".


I'll keep you updated on what we encounter on our next 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 sharkcrew@gmail.com.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Epic pictures from Guadalupe!

On our recent expedition to Guadalupe Island, we had a couple of talented amateur photographers on board. Kyle and Tiffany Chapman. They documented their "real shark week" with these pictures, all taken with a Gopro!












As you can see, the sharks have been very cooperative so far this season. They are coming right up to the cages and are checking out our diver. When the swim by, they look you straight into the eyes. I can never get too much of that.

We have already found 6 new sharks and 15 that we know from previous seasons have returned so far. I can't wait to go back tonight and see, who else is showing up.

We have only 4 spaces left for this season, on our November 5 expedition, that we just added 3 weeks ago. Reserve your space, before it is too late. Call 855.987.4275 for more information, or email us at staff@sharkdiver.com

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, August 17, 2014

The boys are back at Isla Guadalupe.

We just finished our second trip and the action continued, where it left off on the last trip. A lot of familiar faces are back at Guadalupe. Our boys, Don Julian, Horizon, Kenric, Geoff Nuttall Mike, Drogin Thor and Micks are all back and Lamini, a little female from last season was also around. We counted a total of 15 named sharks, along with 4 new ones and a few we haven’t identified yet.

There seems to be a lot of fighting going on at Guadalupe right now. Many sharks are sporting brand new bite marks. I saw Horizon take a big chunk out of a bigger sharks head, which is very unusual, since the hierarchy is usually established based on size. (we haven’t identified the bigger shark yet) Chuggy, who we talked about last season, having recovered from a nasty bite to his head, came by with some very fresh bite marks on his face. The big gash from 2 seasons ago, is now just visible as a black scar.



With all that fighting going on, I hope that those idiots who dive outside the cages, thinking the sharks are accepting them as one of their own, are wrong. I have seen, what those sharks do to smaller sharks and those guys would indeed be very, very small sharks.

Oh, did I mention that the sharks got close?



We are just about to board another group of divers. I will update you on our season, when we get back in 5 days.

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.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

What is happening at Guadalupe Island?

We just came back from our first expedition to Guadalupe Island. It was, what can I say, phenomenal!. We saw over 20 different sharks, with both familiar and new faces. I’m happy to say that Jacques, Bite Face, Johnny, Thor, Squire, Gunther and #148 are all back, safe and sound.



Jacques and Criss Cross


Criss Cross, who we haven’t seen in a few years also showed up, missing a big chunk of flesh, in the right pelvic area, but the injury seems fully healed. These sharks seem to have a rough live, but their healing ability is absolutely remarkable.



Criss Cross with new mutilation.
After a flat calm crossing to the Island, the action was non stop on day one. Bite Face and Gunther competing for who can his picture taken more often. One diver ended up taking 7000 pictures in one day!!!

Gunther also showed a new and unusual behavior for a white shark. He came up to the cage, very slowly and proceeded to bite the cage in various places. He was going in slow motion and though it didn’t seem to be a predatory kind of biting, it is just another reminder, that it is definitely a good thing to stay inside the cages, despite what any “expert” says to the contrary.


Think being outside is a good idea?

On day two the action didn’t slow down. It actually got even better. We lost count at 13 different sharks, at least four of them being new individuals, that have not been added to our photo id database.

On our last day, the sharks gave us an unbelievable send off. At least 10 individuals came by to say goodbye to our divers.

We only have a couple of hours, before we leave again on our second "real shark week". I can’t wait to be back down there and introducing a new group of divers to these magnificent creatures.

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, August 3, 2014

Cage free shark diving at Guadalupe?

A couple of days ago, I wrote about this video, that was taken aboard "our" vessel "Horizon" last November.


REMUS SharkCam: The hunter and the hunted from Woods Hole Oceanographic Inst. on Vimeo.

This video is part of the Discovery Channels "Shark week" episode "Jaws strikes back" and is scheduled to run August 11th at 9 pm. Watch how the scientists used "shark cam" to track the hunting behavior of the enormous Great White Sharks at Guadalupe Island.

If you want to experience your own "Real shark week", we have just added another expedition to our sold out season. From November 5-10, which is exactly the time this was filmed last year, we'll take another lucky group or divers, to visit these magnificent sharks. Call us at 619.887.4275 or toll free 855.987.4275 to reserve your space. You can also email us at staff@sharkdiver.com or visit www.sharkdiver.com for more information.

All our divers on our Guadalupe Great White Shark expeditions are in cages. If after watching his video you still think it's a good idea to dive outside of a cage, think again. This video shows, what I've been telling our divers all along. "It's not the shark you see, that will get you, it's the one you don't see". Anyone going outside a cage to ride or hug a shark, to show you that they love us, is either a fool or just interested in self promotion. If you claim to love the Great White Shark, you have to respect them for what they are. Awesome predators that are neither out to get us, nor are they harmless pets. Any promoter or operator telling you that you can safely dive outside of cages at Guadalupe either doesn't know what he's talking about, or just wants your money.

We at Shark Diver do not offer out of cage "experiences" at Guadalupe. It not only illegal, but foolish to do so.

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.