Monday, November 2, 2009

Blue Bloggers Welcome Sean Paxton

"Juggling sharks, chainsaws and bowling balls is a personal metaphor adopted for my life and all the opportunity and challenge that makes it worthwhile. In reality, sharks do consume large portions of my time and energy, but it's the connected totality of the world's wild parts that fuels a passion for their long-term sustainability. Dull moments be damned. Here's a stout cocktail of adventure and wildlife; of risk and reward, and an exploration of how it all ties together in some of the strangest ways imaginable. If so much of this wasn't from personal experience, I probably wouldn't believe me, either."

Thus introduced, welcome to the newest addition of the Blue Blogosphere - Sean Paxton

Who are the Blue Bloggers?

As I have come to know them they are thinkers, innovators, trend setters, and conservation gurus. They are those who see things in all shades and beyond the horizon, they are the ones who shape current conservation issues, and sometimes move mountains.

For those who have not yet met the Blue Bloggers, you'll see their work in the shaping of ideas and conservation thought, in new websites, new media direction, and changes in old behavior.

The conservation world needs independent and controversial thoughts, smart ideas and conservation direction.

This is Sean Paxton.

If you were hoping for a dull assortment of "daily blarf", this blog is not for you. If you were hoping for something that challenges, enrages, and inspires, you came to the right place.

Sit back. Set your amps to 11 and please ensure your seat back tables are in the upright position...welcome to

Shark Survivability 0% To 80%

A very large percentage of "shark fishermen" are in fact "accidental fishermen" - like these fine examples from New Jersey.

After watching this video shark conservation folks can do two things:

1. Get angry and rail at all shark fishermen.

2. Produce the tools for shark survivability.

A series of well placed informational videos highlighting catch and release techniques with real sharks would "educate fishermen" how to save sharks. The fishermen in this video unknowing killed this animal. They just lacked any clear idea how to deal with a shark, from gaffing, to hook removal.

With an industry leader like, Guy Harvey, and the backing of the IGFA, these videos would do more for sport caught shark survivability then most efforts currently being promoted.

Education is the golden key to sport caught sharks.

As shark conservation folks why don't we lead this issue instead of reacting to it? Any takers?

Duncan Brake, Jillian Morris - Shark Free Marinas

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative concept was created by the tragic death of a 15 foot Tiger shark in the Bahamas. We have posted about the power of "One Shark" to become the ambassador for an entire species. To make that happen ordinary people need to be engaged to effect conservation change.

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative sought ways to stop the ongoing slaughter of breeding aged sharks worldwide without becoming entangled in the often byzantine bureaucracy of local governments.

The initiative also looked at ways of empowering locals to take charge of their own regions, to become involved and to become conservation minded.

Lastly, the initiative looked at ways that local business could become green and promote that as a business selling point.

Nowhere are the three main goals of the Shark Free Marinas Initiative more aptly displayed but in the Bahamas and Fiji. This week Duncan Brake and Jillian Morris from Oceanic Allstars, both regional ambassadors of the SFMI in the Bahamas, produced an outstanding PSA for both the SFMI and for Bimini Sands Resort - the very first Bahamian Marina to adopt the SFMI.

Weaving the SFMI concept together brilliantly as a sales and conservation PSA, Oceanic Allstars have shown themselves to be savvy marketers of solid conservation PSA's.

After discussions with Luke Tipple, the Director of the SFMI, it was decided to invite Oceanic Allstars as our official PSA source for our entire marina directory. Now all marinas seeking PSA's for their marketing and sales have a direct and proven source to produce those PSA's.

Kudos again to both Duncan and Jillian for their tireless work as a regional ambassadors.

The Shark Free Marinas Initiative is a "people powered conservation concept." Along with Stuart Gow and Da Shark in Fiji the SFMI has grown exponentially.

Guadalupe Island -Trip Report 2009

Editors Note: There are two kinds of people in this world, the dreamers and the rest. Kudos to Jen for being part of "the adventure clan."

Here's her story:

When I was 5, my aunt took me to see my first drive-in movie…Jaws. Now I know what you are thinking…that is way too scary of a movie to be taking a kid so young to, but that movie started it all for me. I have LOVED sharks ever since!!!

I wanted a shark cage just like Hooper’s and even a crappy boat like the Orca would do for my travels…but alas, I never got that shark cage that was on my Christmas list. So in creating my Bucket List, this is the first item - See a great white alive (preferably in the wild).

Flash forward to 2003…this is when I discover Patric and his wonderful company that takes people out to meet the magnificent white shark face to face in this magical place called Isla Guadalupe. I emailed Patric and asked him a few questions about the trip and he called me back and told me everything I needed to know and then some, in his made-for-radio voice. So I decided this was it, when I had the money and was ready to go, I was going with this guy!

Well in life things happen and priorities change and shark diving was put on the way back burner but was still going to happen someday.

So it is Monday, August 11, 2008 and I sit down at work to read my emails and one in particular catches my eye:

Hi Jennifer,

Congratulations you were drawn as our Grand Prize Winner for the Luke Tipple promotion. You have won the Dive with Great White Sharks at Guadalupe Island. I will send you out a pack in the next two weeks with all the information to book your trip, and connect you with so you can answer all your questions. (check out the website to get the general idea.) You do not need to be Scuba Certified for this trip.

I read the email over and over again in my head and then asked a co-worker to come read it and tell me what she thinks and she says, “it looks like you just won yourself a shark diving trip!” So I get on the phone to call my best friend, Nicole and I read the email to her and start crying, my lifelong dream is finally going to come true and it would be in September 2009!

I can’t say enough about Patric and the Horizon crew. Everyone was so nice and helpful from Aaron helping us with our weight belts to Mike being right there with a cold drink of water when we got out of the cages to Patric himself being kind enough to “Count” the sharks for us and Mark making sure that I never saw one piece of cilantro or raw onion on my plate! The whole crew was fantastic, the boat was clean and in order and the food was great. Martin, our dive master was very informative and extremely patient which came in handy when he was teaching me to clear my mask and regulator. I love the ocean and spend my summers snorkeling the southern California coast and this was my first time diving. It only took about 15 minutes to get the hang of breathing with the regulator and be comfortable in the cage and once the sharks arrived I forgot all about that regulator.

In the movies they always show sharks, whites in particular, with black, lifeless eyes, which does not help in them being feared but I can tell you that their eyes are far from lifeless. When a 15 foot great white swims 1 foot in front of your face you can see that it has a beautiful blue iris and as this shark swims past you can actually see it focusing on each diver.

They are very curious and cautious animals and whey they cruise past the cages you can’t help but look at them more as graceful than menacing. I was a shark lover long before this trip but seeing them in the wild has made me want to do more to help protect them and now I need to win the lottery so I can go on EVERY trip EVERY season!

Yours in sharks,
Jen McCormick

Following Expedition Blogs - Mining Gems

If there's an expedition blue blog out there we're probably following it.

The facinating world of our oceans is at your desktop each and every day. You never know what will catch your interest.

This caught our interest.

From the blog Oceans Watch Expedition, this post is called Aid Meets Tradition:

Chris comments: here in Moussau the community is still very traditional. I was interested to see how the fishermen use coral stones to weight their hooks to get down to 30 m where the bigger fish are.

They tie a piece of coconut palm leaf around the stone then put the hook through the leaf. When the stone hits the bottom a sharp tug pulls the hook out of the leaf leaving an un-weighted hook on the bottom. The bait they use is a piece of condom!

The condoms are supplied to the communities free by a family planning NGO. All the fishermen we met used condoms as bait and are very grateful to the NGO for endless free lures!

Worlds Largest Oil Spill - On Fire

We have been covering what is now the world's largest oil spill. Ten weeks into the disaster a "blazing middle finger" erupted in the Timor Sea this week as the actual drilling platform caught on fire. No crews were on board at the time and no one from PTTEP the company responsible for the platform knows how it started.

The ongoing disaster is being curiously under reported by main stream media. Estimates of 400 barrels of oil being spilled each day are coming from the oil company and not independent agencies who estimate many more barrels are gushing from this once productive well head many kilometers under the sea bed.

Oil Disaster Week Ten Numbers

70 - Number of days the Montera Oil Platform spill has been sending oil into the Timor Sea.

74,000 - Number of kilometers the spill now covers (the size of Liberia).

11, 760,000 - Estimated number of gallons of crude oil spilled off the coast of Australia.

NBC's Today Show D- on Sharks

If there was some kind of award for shoddy, hyper inflated, negative shark coverage, NBC's The Today Show would get it.

Over the past several years they have been the media leaders in 1970's style "horror shark" media hits.

If there was an award for honestly in shark media, new Blue Blogger Dorsal Fin would get it.

This week DF earned an extra tall shark statue for calling out The Today Shows ongoing and dare we say it, "moronically half fabricated shark based clap trap."

Actually, we liked that so much we'll say it again, "moronically half fabricated shark based clap trap."

The media's responsibility for balanced shark reporting is paramount and the only way they will be made to come to their senses is if we all take the time to point out when they stray completely off the media reservation.

In The Today's Show case that is several times a year, with few if any media hits highlighting research, science, and the ongoing decimation of worldwide shark populations.

Balance. In the world we live in it is needed now more than ever.

Kudos to Dorsal Fin for providing some.