Friday, December 28, 2007
By the way, we're still trying to figure out how to add some of these nifty high powered targeted lazers to a few of our sharks. We'll update you in 2008 if it happens. The trick is getting a 2000lb white shark or tiger to be still for a few minutes.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Praise be to the Shark Gods, Buddha, Jebus, or who ever you praise be to-Gametaps giving something away for free. JAWS!
Now we know this blog is not about buying things, so when we heard that you can actually play JAWS for free, we had to go play for ourselves. In JAWS Unleashed you are a freakishly large great white hell bent on oceanic destruction. About the only thing you do not have in this bloody fun game are "Frickin Lazer Beams"...too bad
It's fun to be an apex predator chomping through boats, divers, girls in bikinis...and less.
Here's the trick, you need to download the game player, the whole set up takes about 5 minutes and then it's chomping time baby!
Here's the link
Cue the theme -- there's an oversized shark in the water with a taste for humans. The famous Great White has returned to terrorize the Amity shoreline in Jaws Unleashed, and this time, you control the shark! They're definitely gonna need a bigger boat.
Until December 31st and then you have to pay to play or go join a real shark diving company!
For the serious shark diver there's only two places on the planet where divers can get face to face with Tiger sharks. One of these spectacular dive sites is Tiger Beach located in the Bahamas. This unique-sandy bottom dive site allows divers and filmmakers unprecedented access while filming anywhere from 2-12 Tigers at the same time. Not to mention upwards of 40 Lemon sharks as well!
For the divers and crew of Shark Diver Tiger Beach is the perfect next step from Great White shark diving at Isla Guadalupe for those who want to discover the "Wilder Species" of sharks from sub surface state of the art cages and gates.
New for 2008 Shark Diver is working with the research vessel RV Tiburon and is now running 7 day charters from Freeport, Bahamas. This new dive schedule allows our divers a full extra day of shark diving over the old schedule out of Palm Beach, Florida.
The Shark Diver crew will introduce you to Tiger sharks ( Galeocerdo cuvier ) and Great Hammerheads ( Sphyrna mokarran) and "clouds" of Reef Sharks (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) up close and personal. Plus you'll get to snorkel and play with Spotted Dolphins, dive incredible sites complete with wrecks, reefs and more. Packing as much diving and shark encounters as they can into 7 days is what this is latest adventure is all about:
Gotta hand it to the Australians. While they have quite a few of the best sharks sites on the planet to either cage dive or rodeo sharks in for divers, they still have not quite figured out what to do with their whale sharks.
Whale sharks are the largest fish in the ocean-a quick run over to the good old Shark-Wiki tells us:
"This species, despite its enormous size (40 feet), does not pose any significant danger to humans. It is a frequently cited example when educating the public about the popular misconceptions of all sharks as "man-eaters". They are actually quite gentle and can be playful with divers. There are unconfirmed reports of sharks lying still, upside down on the surface to allow divers to scrape parasites and other organisms from their bellies. Divers and snorkellers can swim with this giant fish without any risk apart from unintentionally being hit by the shark's large tail fin."
So why is it that Australia enacted a series of rules and regulations that almost prohibit diving with these magnificent critters?
"This (code) includes a limit on the number of people in the water at any one time with the sharks, minimum distances that boats and snorkellers must keep from the sharks, and definitely no touching of the sharks".
The ONLY thing that will save the whale shark and sharks in general for the future-is divers seeing these animals in person. Too many sharks worldwide are being hunted for just their fins and the whale shark is on the top of that list. Divers who encounter these animals are 80% more likely to want to voice concern to local governments over issues relating to sharks.
Food, or soup for thought.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
So what's NOT to like about this latest South African attraction? It's got man eating Salties (crocs), strong looking cages, babes in bikini's, and best of all it yours for a mere $40 bucks.
Yes, now you too can join the good folks at Congo Ranch for a lifetime encounter with a big reptile:
"Daredevils who wish to attempt this adrenaline-pumping feat are slowly lowered into the heated crocodile pool along with 5 large Nile crocodiles and are protected from the predators by a specially designed cage. Guarded by the strong cage, the crocodiles swim around you sizing you up as a tasty snack."
Perhaps they could use a hand at the advertising. This is Africa after all where last we heard 99% of everything there will either kill you or leave you with chunks missing...but they make a tasty vino!
If there's one thing we absolutely "Geek Out" on here at UT it's fresh white shark shark tracking data. Without a doubt the TOPP program-Tagging Of Pacific Predators-is the 300lb Research Gorilla when it comes to white shark data with it's tagging and fresh data feeds to legions of hungry shark fans.
Barbara Block is the research brainchild behind TOPPs from Stanford. Keep this website handy and check in with your favorite sharks as they get tracked all over the Pacific and beyond.
Here's three reasons to love TOPP:
1. Cool data links with close to real time tracking
2. It's absolutely free
3. If you dive with sharks this is the latest intel.
This latest tracking study was done with the help of John O'Sullivan, curator of field operations for the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
While this series has not put a dent in "Reality Television", it has shown the major studios that with a few good writers, a nice beach, and an investment in some quality talent, you CAN produce a hit-and create legions of fans in the process.
For those of you who just cannot wait, here's the official trailer. While sharks do not play a role in this series, we're still hoping that somewhere along the line they make an appearance. These unlikely castaways live on a damn beach after all-so where's sharky?
We know that great whites tend to be big swimmers, think of them as the long haul truckers of today's oceans. Minus the beer gut, 8 track tapes, and penchant for Denny's food.
It was a huge surprise though when researchers in New Zealand (yes, they have whitey there too) released their current tacking data on a shark they named "Kerri". Here's the full report with data translation for those that do not speak in meters.
Wednesday December 26, 2007
A great white shark has set a long-distance swimming record after travelling 3000km (1864 miles) to the warmer tropical waters of the southern Great Barrier Reef.
While there is evidence of Australian sharks crossing the Ditch, the journey of Kerri - a 4.4m female shark - is the first evidence that it is a two-way process. (14 foot shark)
Kerri was tagged by scientists at Stewart Island in March. Her effort beat the previous record for a New Zealand shark by 200km (124 miles)
Department of Conservation scientist Clinton Duffy said that for years it was thought great whites that ended up in New Zealand were stragglers.
"We blamed the Aussies. But we definitely have our own sharks because they breed here."
Mr Duffy said other results from the tagging project suggested that great whites in the south-west Pacific may comprise a single population.
Three sharks tagged at the Chatham Islands in 2005 all travelled north to subtropical or tropical waters and ended up respectively in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Louisville Seamounts which is northeast of New Zealand.
"Our tagging results show these sharks can be highly mobile, though they may also hang around seal colonies for several months at a time while feeding on seals."
Little is known about habitat requirements, migratory behaviour or interactions with white sharks elsewhere and the programme is expected to shed light on these patterns.
In 2005 scientists discovered that the sharks could make deep dives, some to over 900 metres (2952 feet) during their migrations and electronic data from the tag could provide more detail.
Attached to the dorsal fin, the tag was designed to detach after a pre-determined time and float to the surface before transmitting data such as location, depth and temperature to a satellite, which emails the results to scientists.
It began calling home on December 18 and, ever since, Niwa fisheries scientist Malcolm Francis' inbox has been filling up with fishy news - he will send it away for decoding in about 10 days, when all the data have been transmitted.
"When they're in the open ocean most of the time they're quite close to the surface but periodically they make deep dives - and we don't know what they're doing down there."
Scientists think the sharks are diving to feed on squid the same way sperm and pilot whales do, or they're listening in for whales' breeding grounds.
"There's some evidence they can attack and kill calves, they can certainly take advantage of a still birth and people have even suggested that the afterbirth could provide a meal."
"At this stage we don't know what route Kerri took, or how quickly she travelled to Australia."
But it looks like the sharks can live anywhere, Mr Francis said.
"Up until eight or 10 years ago people thought they were an inshore coastal species that lived in shallow waters but quite a lot of them head for the tropics and the open ocean, and there is a fair bit of traffic between Australia and New Zealand."
The tagging programme has been a collaborative study by scientists from Niwa, Department of Conservation, Germany's Shark-Tracker and the Washington University.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
You HAD to know this was coming. With the movie rights, book deals, and morning talk show invites, shark attack victims make out pretty well on the media these days.
Obviously if you're one of the .002% of the global population who has a nasty run in with a shark (think getting hit with lightning) the upside is not so bad. So, along comes this beer hound with a story that seemed just TOO good to be true. Faking a shark attack because you fall through a window at a party is about as low as it gets.
Karma says this guy should stay out of the ocean for the next three years:
Fake Shark Attack
Thursday, December 24, 2007
A man who said he had been attacked by a shark has been accused of making it up after his arm went through a glass window and he is now facing jail.
Scott Wright told reporters he thought he was a "goner" after being bitten on the arm by a shark last Friday at Bondi Beach, Australia.
It is now claimed that he was injured several days before. He is also facing jail over robbery charges, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Monday, December 24, 2007
With X-Mas just a few days away here's a gift idea that had the crew here at UT running to the store to buy some vino.
The good folks at "The Shark" sent us a few of these gizmos to test run over the past few days and nights.
We're here to report that the media hype is all that and more..this is one serious wine opener!
Top Three Vinos We Tested from Wine Spectator
1. Cuvee le Bec from Beckmen Vineyards (California). A blend of red grapes. "Blends are oftentimes a good value," says Rayyis. Vintners "are making good wines without getting hung up on particular grape varieties." He says this Rhone-style wine is "consistently really good."-Corks in these bottles are real and the shark thingy tears them out in no time.
2. Deadly Zins Zinfandel from Michael-David Vineyards (California). "It flies off the shelf and deservedly so," says Fredrikson. -Corks are plastic and the shark thing makes short work of them.
3. Banfi Centine, Rosso di Toscana (Italy). "A good Chianti Classico nowadays retails for about $18 and up," says McCarthy, who calls this "a great alternative." Good with tomato pastas or steak, he says. - Dry cork, shark thing works with a few pieces left behind..tasty vino!
Sunday, December 23, 2007
There's only a few places in the world where divers-who are crazy-can get face to face with Great White sharks with the added safety of a cage. For many in the scuba world and beyond these critters are the pinnacle underwater thrill, a close encounter with the "Man in the Grey Suit". You may want to even consider the "Grand-Tour", a visit to each shark site in under one year. For many shark divers this remains the Holy Grail of shark diving.
Be sure to save up in advance as the total cost with flights, hotels, tips, and a few beers for the fearless shark gals in South Africa will set you back about $30,000. If you put it all on Visa they may even stick you in a commercial..Priceless!
Top Three White Shark Encounters:
Who Dives There: Rodney Fox
Six miles off of Gansbaai, off the Western Cape of South Africa, lies Dyer Island. This is the original white shark destination and the granddaddy of them all. These low, rocky islands serve as a breeding ground for a wide variety of seabirds, while it's neighbour, a rocky outcrop called Geyser Islet, serves as a home for a large resident seal population. Put those two together and what you have is a prime time wildlife buffet for the great white sharks. White sharks, especially juveniles but also a few adults, are seen on a regular basis in the channel between the two islands where they feed on a variety of seals, often leaping completely out of the water "Air Jaws" style. This natural feeding ground is the main reason that many divers consider
Who Dives There: Apex Predators
Isla de Guadalupe-Mexico
Who Dives There: Shark Diver
"Fins Cut, Live Sharks Tossed Back"
This is the headline from New Zealand this week. Sadly, where the rest of the planet is just beginning to understand how bad shark fining is, the good sheep farmers in New Zealand have a "Quota System" for shark fining. Then they become surprised when this happens:
Sharks are being caught in the Nelson region and illegally thrown back alive with their fins removed.
Department of Conservation Abel Tasman ranger Stu Houston said he came across a fishing boat in park waters on Tuesday, which had caught about 29 1m sand sharks and cut off their fins, throwing the mutilated sharks over the side. Some of the sharks were still alive.
"It's such a waste," Mr Houston said. "I've been a ranger down here for 14 years; that's one of the worst things I've seen, to be honest." It is legal to catch sharks for their fins in New Zealand, although under the Animal Welfare Act the sharks must be dead when thrown back.
Sharks in New Zealand are caught under the quota system, and mainly sold to Asia. Landing only the fin gives fishermen room to store more valuable fish. Mr Houston said if people knew the practice was legal they would be appalled. "Is that what we do in New Zealand?"
He said he approached the fishermen, who were on a boat from the Nelson region. The boat was fishing between Adele Island and the mainland, and kayakers and water taxis had seen the dead and dying sharks. DOC would not be taking any action as it was a Fisheries Ministry issue, Mr Houston said.
French Pass resident and charter boat operator Danny Boulton said he had written to Fisheries Minister Jim Anderton about the issue as he was so concerned. Shark finning happened regularly throughout the Sounds, he said. Mr Boulton said he had a BBC cameraman on his boat one day who was appalled to see the practice.
The cameraman had worked around the world and said many Third World countries didn't fish that way. It was a waste, Mr Boulton said, and he was concerned fishing was depleting the species. "These sharks, I see them on the reefs, they are really beautiful to see."
Ministry of Fisheries Nelson inshore fisheries manager Scott Williamson said a Richmond company processed shark fins. The value of the fins depended on the species, and some sharks were reasonably lucrative. He was not aware of the Abel Tasman incident, but would be looking into it, he said.
The ministry's main responsibility was to ensure the sustainability of sharks and it had released a consultation paper on shark management and conservation. Submissions on the paper close on February 1. For more information visit www.fish.govt.nz.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Shark diving adventures have grown in popularity since 1990 with more operators and more dive sites than ever before. Safety and the understanding of sharks and shark behavior have led this unlikely revolution in scuba diving. Prior to the 90’s almost all species of shark were considered dangerous, even the beautiful Black Tip reef shark which today is the proud star attraction at many Shark Rodeos. Here is a short list of why you should consider a shark diving adventure on your next dive.
1. Safety first. Shark diving Rodeos have set the bar for safety and accessibility. This is when sharks are regularly baited to the same place at the same time with a small amount of fish carcass each day. Not enough to feed the sharks but just enough to keep their interest. Sharks will often come to places where they might get a chance at food. Operations like these have acclimated sharks over the years to the presence of divers. This is your chance to get close and personal with a shark, safely with trained professionals watching over your encounter.
2. Sit back and taken in the view. Caged encounters offer a more exciting way to view some of the top big shark species like the Great White and Tiger sharks. Newer cage designs and larger vessels have lead to an ongoing revolution in big animal encounters. Most operations do not require you to be scuba certified and run operations with either snorkel or with a Hookah or surface supplied air systems. With larger vessels divers can now visit more and more remote and pristine shark sites and offshore islands. The era of long range shark expeditions has just begun.
3. The “Eco Factor”. Shark dive leaders are a wealth of knowledge about the sharks you will be encountering. Operations worldwide are tuning to collaborations with shark research and will often have shark biologists on site as crew available to answer your questions. Dispelling the many negative myths surrounding sharks is the foremost concern of shark diving operations. For years the public have only seen the media’s view of sharks. With the help of trained shark staff and a marine biologist, you’ll come to learn that sharks are in fact in decline worldwide. The rewards of a shark encounter like this will change forever the way divers see big sharks. From the media hyped “killing machine”, to a more subtle understanding of the oceans top apex predators and the roles they play in today’s oceans.
4.Time is running out. “The Great White shark is, more importantly, endangered as the apex predator among fish.” Peter Benchley, author of Jaws, wrote this in response to the unregulated mass killing of sharks worldwide for just their fins. Sharks in the hundreds of millions are being taken each year to fuel the growing shark fin soup trade and many species are on the brink of collapse, never to be seen again. Sadly, shark diving encounters may be providing a last look at some of these magnificent predators that have been on this planet prior to humans. The good news is where ever you’ll find a shark dive company, you’ll also find a tireless champion of the species and with that comes eco protections from a growing chorus of thrilled divers and shark fans alike.
'Tis the season for best wishes to all. From us here the UT Crew, we wish you the very best this holiday season. 2008 will bring about a whole new slew of amazing Underwater Thrills and the UT Crew will be here to bring them to you.
If it's wet, if it's bizarre, if it's wild, you'll find it here at UT.
Back in October 2007 at a small island off the coast of Baja called Isla Guadalupe, a group of cage divers were treated to a real live shark attack. In the history of cage diving at this dive site live predations on seals have been rare events with only one other recorded event back in 2005. Seems the seals at this unique and stunning island are not all that dumb after all and tend not to get eaten. This is your National Geographic moment for the day. It could also be your Shark Week moment for the day as well.
Either way, here's a 15 foot Great White Shark-doing what they do best. Warning this video is graphic and features decapitated seals, lot's of blood, and one very hungry Great White shark: