Tuesday, May 6, 2008
We were there to see Whale Sharks. For a while this small little bug infested island (Utila) looked like the next "big thing" for Whale Shark encounters.
While Utila did not pan out over the long haul-two great chance encounters have changed my life and the lives of many others since then. The first was a meeting and unbelievable dive encounter with Karl Stanley owner of the deep diving submarine Idabel. With him I discovered the absolutely jaw dropping world of deep sea exploration and deep water sharks. It was truly shark diving at a whole new level.
The other, a chance meeting with a young Australian and marine biologist, Luke Tipple. How time flies when you consider back then we were only in our 3rd season of white shark encounters. Luke called me back then to say that he was coming to the states to work for me. He's never been a guy who minces words or deeds and I quickly took him up on his offer. It remains one of the best decisions I have ever made. Luke distinguished himself as one of the most serious and dedicated dive operations and overall vessel managers I have ever seen. His abject love of sharks, the ocean, and our divers was outstanding and infectious.
Fast forward to today. Luke's been looking for a new job, this time as television host. After watching his rise from operations manager to film and television coordinator for Shark Diver I have been impressed with Luke at every turn and wanting to see him reach his dream of being a wildlife show host on Discovery or Nat Geo. He's got raw talent and drive and quite frankly he's got the stuff that makes great show hosts. The ability to be natural on camera and draw the audience in.
In the sometimes harsh world of television and film production you either have "it" or you do not and no amount of editing will change that for you.
Luke's new website from the guys at 689 Design brings him one step closer to that dream. This summer he's been working with some of the top film crews in the industry shooting sharks in the Bahamas and his future has never looked brighter. Sometimes chance encounters can be a good thing.
Patric Douglas CEO
Spotted rare baby shark surfaces
A FRIDAY night fishing trip became exciting after a baby shark was caught just off the waters of Naqara Island and Wainadoi jetty.
The shark was brownish-yellow and had black spots. The man who caught it is Horace Morell of Vatia, Labasa. Mr Morell, who now resides on Naqara, said he had seen other sharks but not one of this colour and shape.
"I was surprised because I have never seen a shark with spots and yellow. I smacked it but my wife said to let it go. I threw it back into the sea. Instead of swimming away, it circled the boat and came back so I caught it again and put it in a cage.
"I haven't decided what to do with it yet but I think I will keep it for a while. I used fish bait to catch it. It has a small mouth and gills. It looks like a Leopard shark because of its black spots but I am not sure."
Mr Horace said he wanted to get in touch with shark feeders of Beqa who might be interested.
He said he was able to put his hand in the shark's mouth. His wife Mele said it was also the first time for her to see that kind of shark.
She said they might give it to someone willing to look after it. In the meantime, they have not weighed their options on whether to sell it for research.
Beqa Adventures Divers Limited operations manager Andrew Cummings said the description of the shark could mean it was either a Leopard or Zebra shark. He said it was a particularly uncommon find in Fiji waters but said the shark was harmless.
Researchers and staff at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium
rescued a young Bottlenose dolphin last year who's tail was unfortunately lost to a crab trap.
What they did with her after that is nothing short of amazing:
"CMA's marine life stranding response team is one of the nation's most successful. Many of the sick or injured animals we rescue are released after rehabilitation, but some become permanent CMA residents, due to the extent of their injuries. Residents include dolphins, sea turtles and river otters. The most amazing rescue story of all is Winter's."
Aiming to protect beachgoers, state regulators say they expect by the middle of this month to enact a ban on chumming for sharks and other within 300 feet of the beach.
The law, which was drafted by the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural resources with input from Orange Beach officials, generally prohibits anyone from targeting sharks by chumming or bloodbaiting, whether it's with fish parts or synthetic attractant.
With state budgets slashed how are they going to enforce this new regulation?
In the dive industry and the shark diving industry there are leaders, dreamers, and all the rest.
Our little shark blog hit the Internet back in December with it's off hand brand of looking at the people in shark diving industry and the oceans eco side.
It was a hit. Thanks to our readers who liked what they saw and wanted more.
We're happy to see "others" out there copying what we do. In a strange way having someone copy you is a nice compliment. In a strange way.
It would be nice to see them come up with something original for a change as well, but like we said there's the dreamers and all the rest. Heck we'll take the compliment;)