Monday, June 29, 2015

Valerie Taylor, the most glamorous shark advocate in the world

With the 40th anniversary of the release of "Jaws", "The Telegraph" has a very nice article on Valerie Taylor. She, together with her late husband Ron, was an underwater videographer for Steven Spielberg's "Jaws".  The article's headline calls her "The most glamorous shark hunter in the world". Though I think "The most glamorous shark advocate in the world" is a much more fitting title, the article itself does a great job of telling Valerie's life story. From her beginning as a champion spearfisher to one of the world's leading advocates for conservation.


The article shows to how Valerie and Ron were being chastised for demonizing sharks "Within the marine conservation world, Ron and Valerie were vilified for their role in a movie that demonised sharks. “It caused the most incredible slaughter of innocent sharks that would never have hurt anybody, and they tried to blame Ron and me,” says Valerie. “To us, Jaws was a fictitious story about a fictitious shark. You don’t go to New York and expect to see King Kong hanging from the Empire State Building. But Jaws was so well done that people took it to heart.”

It talks about why they decided to become conservationists "It was at the Australian Spearfishing Championship in Queensland in 1969 that the pair had an epiphany. “We looked at all these beautiful tropical fish lying on the beach waiting to be weighed in, and I thought, 'What have we done?’ Ron said to me, 'This is terrible. We’re making a living filming beautiful marine animals and then for sport we’re killing them.’” They won the competition but never fished again, instead using their celebrity status to raise awareness. “I was young and beautiful and had long blonde hair, and I’d jump into the sea with any animal and do anything, so I was very successful in the field of conservation,” Valerie says, wryly."

It shows that eventually they became known as conservationist. "By the 1980s, Ron and Valerie - along with fellow conservationists Benchley and his wife Wendy - had regained the high regard of the international conservation community. They successfully lobbied the Australian government to protect the Coral Sea Islands off Queensland, and their documentary films about the wreck of the Yongala, an iconic diving site, and the Great Barrier Reef, proved instrumental in promoting the conservation of reefs. Valerie, who still lives in Sydney, has continued her conservation efforts alone since Ron’s death, as well as continuing to dive with sharks". 
  
Valerie is still a very active diver, despite the fact that she'll be 80 this November. My favorite part is how the article starts. "When I tentatively ask 79-year-old Valerie Taylor if she still scuba-dives, she erupts with incredulous horror. “Oh my God, yes! What else would I do?"

Just a few weeks ago Valerie was diving with bull sharks in Fiji. The picture below shows her diving with the late Rusi at the "Shark Reef Marine Reserve",  a dive that she describes as "The best shark dive in the world!

picture by Sam Cahir "predapix"
You can read Valerie's life story here it gives you a great view of who Valerie Taylor is.

If you want to dive with sharks yourself, give us a call at 619.887.4275 or email us at staff@sharkdiver.com and we'll be happy to give you all the info you need to make your dream a reality.

Let's go shark diving!

Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver
www.sharkdiver.com

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, June 24, 2015

Shark Week at Guadalupe

With "Shark Week" coming up, a lot of you are probably dreaming about what it would be like to be part of the show. How would it feel to come face to face with a great white shark? How awesome would it be to show your friends a movie of you experiencing a "real shark week"?


Well, you can make that dream a reality. We have 2 special film expeditions to Guadalupe coming up on September 4-9 and 9-14-2014. Peter Kragh, Emmy Award winner 2013 for Outstanding Cinematography on Nat Geo's "Untamed Americas", who was also part of many "shark week" specials, is leading those expeditions. He will film you with those great white sharks and show you the tricks of the trade. Just imagine how awesome it will be to experience these amazing creatures in the water, and have a movie to show to your friends. It will be an experience of a lifetime with memories you'll never forget. The next time you'll talk about "shark week", you'll be telling your friends about the time this shark swam by and looked you straight into the eyes.

Peter Kragh

In addition to filming for "Shark Week", Peter was also part of the following productions.

Journey to the South Pacific /  IMAX / MacGilivray Freeman Films 
Untamed Americas / National Geographic
Secret life of Predators / National Geographic
Under the Sea 3D / IMAX 3D
Life / BBC
Deep Sea 3D / IMAX 3D
Planet Earth / BBC
Valley of Sharks / Living Oceans Foundations
Hubble 3D / IMAX 3D
Wild Wild West / National Geographic
Reef Wranglers / Gurney Productions / Discovery
Humpback Whales / IMAX / MacGillivray Freeman Films
Black December /Gurney/Discovery
Shark City / Gurney/Discovery
Battle of Giants, Off the Fence / National Geographic
Jurassic Arctic, National Geographic
Ultimate Guide to Shark Attacks / Gurney/Discovery
Transparent Ocean, Burning Gold/National Geographic
I’m Alive, Gurney Productions/Animal Planet
Inside Natures Giants, Windfall Films
Blue Planet / BBC
 

Peter will be sharing his professional knowledge and help you create your very own "shark week special". Learn some tricks of the trade and get tips on how to shoot and edit your movie.

This is an amateur video from last season. Just imagine how much better your video will be, with Peter's professional help.

video

September is the best time to see the greatest numbers of sharks at Guadalupe Island. You'll see some of the big boys like "Bruce", "Jacques", "Bite Face" or "Chugey" along with many others. They love to come close to the cages and look you straight into the eyes. I'll never forget the first time a great white shark (Shredder) did that to me. It got me hooked on shark diving and after 14 years, I'm more excited than ever to go back and see who's going to be there.


The price for this experience of a lifetime is $3300 and is all inclusive. On top of Peter's professional help and advise, you'll be pampered with sumptuous meals from chef Mark and the crew will do everything they can to spoil you on your 5 day expedition to Guadalupe Island.  We even include a free GoPro rental and of course your own trip movie. The only "extras" we have are the tip for the crew and any shark diver gear you may wish to purchase.

For more information or to reserve your spot, call us at 619.887.4275 or toll free 855.987.4275 Email staff@sharkdiver.com

Let's go have a "real shark week"!

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, June 21, 2015

Sad news out of Fiji

I just heard the terrible news that iconic shark feeder Rusi (Rusiate-Balenagasau) from Beqa Adventure Divers has passed away.

Rusi 1960-2015 with his sharks.

I just got back from Fiji a few weeks ago and had the privilege to dive with Rusi and his beloved bull sharks. I can't say I knew him well, but his love for the sharks and his dedication to their conservation was obvious. I fondly remember watching him feed his sharks and it will not be the same without him.

Rusi 1960-2015

My sincere condolences go out to his family, friends and all the guys and gals at Beqa Adventure Divers.

Rest in peace Rusi!

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, June 18, 2015

Anyone can help save sharks

Do you want to help save sharks, but think there is nothing you can do, because you live too far from the Ocean? Do you think "I'm alone, what possible difference can I make"?

Well, there is good news! You can do something!

PADI, the professional association of dive instructors, through their Project Aware has launched a campaign to raise awareness for the huge problem plastic garbage entering the oceans presents.

Please help to save me! Thank you!

From Project Aware: Did you know that a staggering 250 million metric tons of plastic could make its way to the ocean in the next 10 years? And that as much as 70 percent of marine litter has been estimated to end up on the seabed.
Marine debris comes from many land and ocean sources. Yet few of us understand that our trash can travel over land, down streams, rivers and storm drains to the ocean. 

That's why Project AWARE is collecting marine debris data from divers. We're painting a clear picture of the underwater trash that threatens ocean life and building a case against ocean trash for all to see. 

Follow The Ugly Journey of Our Trash to discover more about its journey to the ocean and its dangerous impact on our marine life. Poster versions available in Chinese, Korean, Dutch, German, Italian, French, Spanish and Russian.

Watch and Share the Ugly Journey of Our Trash.

 

 

Help by educating your community, friends and colleagues on how our rubbish becomes the ocean's problem.






Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver 

Shark Diver is running great white shark expeditions to Guadalupe Island from August - November, tiger shark dives in the Bahamas from April - November and bull shark trips to Fiji from May - June.


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. By phone 855.987.4275 or 619.887.4275

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

White Sharks Shock California Lifeguards?

The Inquisitr's headline reads "Shark Drone Shock Lifeguards" 

They report:  "A new shark drone used by Southland lifeguards in California reveal shocking evidence of the number of sharks swimming near the shoreline at Seal Beach. It wasn’t something lifeguards there were prepared to see."



Imagine the shock these lifeguards must have felt. Who knew that there were sharks in the water? Where have these guys been lifeguarding all their lives? At a pool?

Actually, when reading the article, you'll find out that the lifeguards are perfectly capable and were not "shocked" by the drone footage. They write: "The Chief Seal Beach Lifeguard, Joe Bailey, tells CBS News Los Angeles  This morning, we launched it and 10 minutes later, we knew there were 10 to 12 sharks all in the Surfside [Beach] area"

The article further states: "Bailey loves the shark drone. It’s easy and safe for everyone to see where the creatures are and when to steer clear of them.
“It works great. It flies up about 100 feet, looks down a wide area, and when we see the shadows, we’ll go down and focus in on them.”
A juvenile Great White in waist-high water at Surfside was captured by the drone Monday morning. At the time, there weren’t any swimmers in the water."

And here is my favorite part of Joe Bailey's statement according to the Inquisitor “If we get bigger sharks or we get sharks that are aggressive, we’re actually going to close the water. But right now, we have sharks that are 5- to 6-feet long, non-aggressive, acting like normal sharks, feeding on bottom fish, doing exactly what we would expect them to do. That’s why we have it posted just to let people know that they are there.”

Great response Joe Bailey! No hype, no scaring anyone and promising a reasonable response, should there be any potentially dangerous sharks coming too close to swimmers. I believe that closing a beach for a period of time is the best response to the sighting of a potentially dangerous shark.



Overall a good article, if only they could find a headline that is not in direct conflict with the article. Maybe something like "Lifeguards NOT worried about white sharks swimming off the coast"? 

Read the entire article here

Cheers,
Martin Graf
CEO Shark Diver


Shark Diver is running great white shark expeditions to Guadalupe Island from August - November, tiger shark dives in the Bahamas from April - November and bull shark trips to Fiji from May - June.

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.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Shark attack in North Carolina

Yesterday, two teenagers were bit by a shark in North Carolina and got severely hurt. This serves as a reminder that, no matter how much we may love these sharks, they are not harmless pets. We have to stop portraying them as either mindless killers or harmless pets that just want to be hugged.

source
Before I say anything else, I want to send my best wishes to the victims of these attacks. Regardless of how rare shark attacks are, it doesn't help them that the chances of getting bit are slim. They got hurt and have to live with the consequences for the rest of their lives.

If we want to protect these awesome and important predators, we have to start portraying them the way they are. We have to educate people and give them a real understanding of sharks. If we keep telling them that these sharks are harmless and just want to be hugged, we loose credibility, every time someone gets bit. We have to acknowledge that sharks are not harmless. We have to say that there is no need for fear, but that we have to respect them. Every time we post pictures of bikini clad "shark whisperers" holding on to a great white shark and try telling people how harmless they are, we just reinforce their belief that we are out of touch with reality. When we do that, people will not listen to us, when we tell them how important the shark are to a healthy ocean environment.


We have to acknowledge that sharks do occasionally attack, but let's put things into perspective.  Time after time, people point out things that are more dangerous and kill more people than sharks each year. I'm actually hard pressed to find something that kills fewer people than sharks do.

So why is it that people are generally afraid of sharks? When we go into the water, we are in an environment that is foreign to us and people tend to be afraid of what they don't know. Our fear of sharks is similar to our fear of flying. Even though airplanes are the safest form of transportation, there are more people afraid of flying than taking any other mode of transportation.  Part of the reason is that just like when a plane crashes, every time there is a shark attack, the news goes around the world and creates a perception that sharks are more dangerous than they really are.

Every time we go into the Ocean, we have a chance to see a shark and an even greater chance to be seen by one, yet shark attacks remain extremely rare.

Shark Diver has been diving with sharks for 15 years. We never forget that we are dealing with predators and conduct all our dives with safety in mind. When diving with white sharks, we use cages. When we dive with tiger and bull sharks, we have strict protocols in place to make sure all our divers have a safe and exciting experience. By showing our divers that we use a safety protocol, we are also telling them that we have to respect those sharks and that they are not harmless pets.


Meeting the sharks from the safety of a cage!

When we tell people about sharks, let's tell them the truth. Tell them that we have to be aware and take reasonable precautions when going into the ocean. Tell them that we shouldn't touch them, pull them by their tail or ride them and most importantly, let's lead by example. Stop promoting these irresponsible divers who touch, ride and hug the sharks, by not sharing their self aggrandizing pictures and videos.

Great White Shark with some "love" bites.
 
I've been diving with sharks for a long time and absolutely love them. But as I always tell our divers, "Make no mistake, I love these sharks, but it's NOT a mutual feeling". If you love sharks, love them for what they are, don't humanize them, don't make them into something they are not. If you try to make them out to be something they are not, you don't really love them. You want them to be something they are not.

Let's go and meet those sharks!

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, June 14, 2015

"Expert" advice by Julie Andersen

Once again I've been scooped by "DaShark", who beat me to the punch in pointing out Julie Andersen's hypocrisy in her latest post, telling us to "Do as I say and not as I do". I other words he pointed out what a complete hypocrite this "Shark Angel" and "shark expert" really is. She once again showed that she is much more interested in promoting herself, rather than shark conservation.

Read "DaShark's" blog here

Back in 2013 Julie wrote an article for "SCUBA Diving" where she wrote. "The topic of touching sharks can spark heated debates. It’s an inner turmoil I wrestle with often, having spent hundreds of hours underwater with them. A quick Google search reveals many images in which I am brazenly touching sharks. Yes, it is something I did (and often still am tempted to do), but it is something I don’t encourage. In fact, just the opposite."

I have to admit, that I did have a problem with her stand, because she gained her fame by touching and riding sharks and once she had that name recognition, she didn't want others to get in on the act and compete with her for sponsorships, money and fame. Ok, we all make mistakes and who hasn't done something we are not proud of? I thought: "at least she admits that she did something that wasn't good and is changing".

Skip a couple of years and here is her latest post on  "Shark Angels"

It's time to change your perspective.

Watch this stunning new video from Built By Wildman featuring founder Julie Andersen showing the world sharks aren't what they seem. Give sharks a chance. After all, it's about our oceans... and our collective futures.
 


video


What they really meant to say it this "It's time to change your perspective. Watch this stunning new video from Built By Wildman featuring founder Julie Andersen touching sharks and showing the world she isn't what she seems. She says "Don't touch sharks!" while still doing it herself. Give Julie a chance. After all, it's about her... and her future as a spokesperson and her ability to maintain her fame.

We at Shark Diver promote "Safe and sane" diving with sharks. We respect the sharks by not touching them and staying inside that cages at Guadalupe Island. We realize that is is all about the sharks. Protecting them and supporting conservation is our primary goal. 

If you want to come and experience what it feels like to come face to face with these awesome predators in a safe and respectful way, give us a call. You can reach us at 855.987.4275 or via email at staff@sharkdiver.com


We dive with great white sharks at Guadalupe Island, with bull sharks in Fiji and tiger sharks in the Bahamas. 


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.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Biggest Great White Shark?

Mauricio Hoyos shared this video on his facebook page. It was filmed at Guadalupe Island.

You can have your own encounter with these awesome creatures this fall. (Minus the touching of the shark part) All of our divers are staying inside the cage at all times. Shark Diver is proud to only conduct "safe and sane" shark dives and we respect the animals by not touching them. You'll never forget the first time you see them swim by and look you straight into the eyes. It is truly an experience of a lifetime.

We do have a few open spaces for this year and are already booking for next year. Call us at 855.987.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com for more info, or to book.

video

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.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Great White Sharks at Guadalupe

I can't wait to go back to Guadalupe Island this fall. For all of you joining us this year, here are some pictures to wet your appetite. If you haven't booked your expedition yet, we still have a few spaces open. Call us at 619.887.4275,  toll free at 855.987.4275  or email staff@sharkdiver.com for more information on how you can join us. It is truly a trip of a lifetime.

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.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Win a week of diving with bull sharks!

Beqa Adventure Divers are currently field testing an new solar powered PAT tag on their bull sharks.


So far they have tagged 4 sharks and are running a contest, open to the public, to identify those 4 individuals. First on to correctly identify those sharks will win a week of shark diving at the Shark Reef Marine Reserve.


I just got back from diving with those bull sharks and can say that this is without a doubt an awesome experience.


Check here for details and links to pages that will help you with the identification. Good luck!

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.