I was surrounded by bull sharks!


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I just got back from my 4th annual trip to Fiji, diving with the "BAD" (Beqa Adventure Divers') bull sharks of the Shark Reef Marine Reserve. It is an unbelievable experience to be surrounded by lots of these awesome predators.


We saw a shark or two
What really fascinates me is not the sheer number of sharks though.  The really interesting part is that I'm starting to recognize some individual sharks, not only by distinctive marks on them, but by their behavior.

Doing a lap, showing everyone that she got a tuna head.

Anyone thinking that "a bull shark is a bull shark" should come to this place and see for themselves. These sharks have very different "personalities", some very mellow and cautious, others not so much. Of course you need to do more than just one or 2 dives to notice these differences. The first few dives your are simply going to be blown away by the sheer number of sharks and and by how close they'll get to you.

Up close and personal!
Common wisdom holds that when it comes to sharks, size matters. The big shark always wins over a smaller shark. What I found is that this is not always the case. Some sharks think they are a lot bigger than they really are and compete with the bigger sharks for the tuna heads on offer. "Top Sail" for example is not one of the bigger sharks, but is very adept at getting more than her fair share of tuna heads.

Top sail getting a tuna head.
Another thing that totally surprised me is how cautious these sharks are, even when food is offered to them. Some sharks will not approach the feeder who's holding a tuna head and some sharks will only take a tuna head from a specific feeder. I would have thought that these bull sharks would pretty much go for any tuna head that is offered to them.


If all the bull sharks are not enough for you, just when you think the dive is over, there is the safety stop. Far from a boring hanging on to a line, waiting for the 3 minutes to pass, you are face to face wit a bunch of hungry white- and black-tip sharks, being fed by one of the divemasters.


I'm still very partial to "my" white sharks at Guadalupe, but I'm getting more and more taken by the bull sharks of the SRMR and can't wait for next year.

Sam face to face with a hungry white tip shark.
Thanks to all the guys at "BAD", (Beqa Adventure Divers) for your hospitality and another unforgettable trip. You are simply the best! Vinaka vakalevu!

Blacktip shark at the safety stop
In the coming weeks we'll be posting a special offer for next year's Fiji trip. My descriptions and pictures don't do these sharks justice. You'll have to come and experience them yourself.


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.

Update from Guadalupe Island





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We just completed our 4th expedition to Guadalupe this year and the sharks have been amazing. Unlike in previous years, we are seeing more juvenile females than males this season. There have been over 10 new sharks already and every trip we encounter more new "friends". On each expedition, we encountered over 18 different sharks, swimming along with seals, turtles and dolphins.

One of our new visitors

 As for the regulars, they have been slow to show their faces. So far we have seen "Joker" and "Chugey", who looks amazing by the way. His injuries from a few years ago show fewer and fewer remaining scars.

"Chugey" on 8-11-2016

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


On our last day of our most recent expedition, Bite Face, another long time regular at Guadalupe Island made an appearance for the first time, but most of the sharks we've seen so far have been more recent additions to our database. Amiria, Freya, Screaming Mimi, Andy, #198 and Micks are among those encountered so far.

One of our new sharks inspecting the cages

Tonight we are heading back to Guadalupe where I hope we'll encounter more of our old friends. This is my 16th season diving with these sharks and I'm more excited to head down there than I was on my first expedition.

If you would like to join us on a future expedition or just want some information, contact us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com 

I hope to get to introduce you to the amazing great white sharks at Guadalupe Island soon!

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.

Update from Guadalupe Island





Instagram 
We just completed our 4th expedition to Guadalupe this year and the sharks have been amazing. Unlike in previous years, we are seeing more juvenile females than males this season. There have been over 10 new sharks already and every trip we encounter more new "friends". On each expedition, we encountered over 18 different sharks, swimming along with seals, turtles and dolphins.

One of our new visitors

 As for the regulars, they have been slow to show their faces. So far we have seen "Joker" and "Chugey", who looks amazing by the way. His injuries from a few years ago show fewer and fewer remaining scars.

"Chugey" on 8-11-2016

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


On our last day of our most recent expedition, Bite Face, another long time regular at Guadalupe Island made an appearance for the first time, but most of the sharks we've seen so far have been more recent additions to our database. Amiria, Freya, Screaming Mimi, Andy, #198 and Micks are among those encountered so far.

One of our new sharks inspecting the cages

Tonight we are heading back to Guadalupe where I hope we'll encounter more of our old friends. This is my 16th season diving with these sharks and I'm more excited to head down there than I was on my first expedition.

If you would like to join us on a future expedition or just want some information, contact us at 619.887.4275 or email staff@sharkdiver.com 

I hope to get to introduce you to the amazing great white sharks at Guadalupe Island soon!

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.

Shark feeding to be banned in US waters?


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Senators Nelson and Rubio introduced a bill in the US Senate that would outlaw shark feeding in any portion of Biscayne National Park as part of a park fishery management plan.

Senate Bill S.3099 states:

“SEC. 104. Prohibition on shark feeding.
“(a) Prohibition.—Except as provided in section 317 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1866), it is unlawful for any person—
“(1) to engage in shark feeding; or
“(2) to operate a vessel for the purpose of carrying a passenger for hire to any site to engage in shark feeding or to observe shark feeding.

I'm not a lawyer and have tried to figure out if this restriction would apply to all US territorial waters, or just the Biscayne National Park. The bill is not very clear on this, as it refers to other laws that pertain to different areas of the US, namely Hawaii and US territories in the Pacific ocean.

It seems like the politicians are giving in to the people who think that shark feeding is endangering the public, by habituating sharks to think of humans as food. This is despite the evidence to the contrary, where there are no indications that shark feeding has led to any attacks on humans not directly involved in the feeding activities. After the shark feeding ban was implemented in Florida, there was no reduction in shark bites, which is further evidence that there is no correlation between shark attacks and shark feeding.

Dashark has some excellent insights and links to those studies here.

The funny thing is that this bill is specifically asking to not put any gear restrictions or chumming bans on people trying to catch sharks. There is evidence that fishing and specially fishing for sharks can endanger the public, like in 2014, when a swimmer was bitten by a great white shark that was hooked on a fishing line. It is legal to fish for sharks from shore, which is attracting sharks to areas populated by humans, whereas shark feeding does not typically happen close to shore and/or swimmers in the water.

If you want to let the sponsors of this legislation know how you feel about this bill, you can contact them  at these links. 

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill

Cheers,
Martin Graf

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.

Shark feeding to be banned in US waters?


Instagram 


Senators Nelson and Rubio introduced a bill in the US Senate that would outlaw shark feeding in any portion of Biscayne National Park as part of a park fishery management plan.

Senate Bill S.3099 states:

“SEC. 104. Prohibition on shark feeding.
“(a) Prohibition.—Except as provided in section 317 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (16 U.S.C. 1866), it is unlawful for any person—
“(1) to engage in shark feeding; or
“(2) to operate a vessel for the purpose of carrying a passenger for hire to any site to engage in shark feeding or to observe shark feeding.

I'm not a lawyer and have tried to figure out if this restriction would apply to all US territorial waters, or just the Biscayne National Park. The bill is not very clear on this, as it refers to other laws that pertain to different areas of the US, namely Hawaii and US territories in the Pacific ocean.

It seems like the politicians are giving in to the people who think that shark feeding is endangering the public, by habituating sharks to think of humans as food. This is despite the evidence to the contrary, where there are no indications that shark feeding has led to any attacks on humans not directly involved in the feeding activities. After the shark feeding ban was implemented in Florida, there was no reduction in shark bites, which is further evidence that there is no correlation between shark attacks and shark feeding.

Dashark has some excellent insights and links to those studies here.

The funny thing is that this bill is specifically asking to not put any gear restrictions or chumming bans on people trying to catch sharks. There is evidence that fishing and specially fishing for sharks can endanger the public, like in 2014, when a swimmer was bitten by a great white shark that was hooked on a fishing line. It is legal to fish for sharks from shore, which is attracting sharks to areas populated by humans, whereas shark feeding does not typically happen close to shore and/or swimmers in the water.

If you want to let the sponsors of this legislation know how you feel about this bill, you can contact them  at these links. 

Senator Bill Nelson of Florida https://www.billnelson.senate.gov/contact-bill

Cheers,
Martin Graf

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.

Another shark attack in Australia?


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perth now reports that another diver has been attacked by a shark. Their headline reads

WA spear fisherman jumped by angry shark off Coral Bay coast

According to their article:  A WA spear fisherman has captured the terrifying moment he was jumped by an angry reef shark off the North West coast. 

Albany teenager Brad Vale, 19, was spearfishing for mackerel with friends 4km off the coast of Coral Bay on Wednesday when the shark, estimated to be about` 1.5 metres long, began to circle him.
“I dived down and just sort of sat down at the bottom and a shark came in on me,” he said.

“He got a bit close then did a big turn at me and charged so I gave him a poke. When I poked him he just turned back and without me noticing I looked down and he was already chewing on my gut.
“I got to the surface and was going to shoot it but I didn’t even have time to do that. He sort of latched on to my stomach and I tried to hit it with my gun in my hand but he let go pretty quick.”

Wow, what a terrifying experience. Getting attacked by a shark for no reason. Let's look at the video Brad Vale shot of this incident.

 
Video source: youtube/brradz
 
Well, good thing he posted that video, because it clearly shows Brad descending and SHOOTING the shark, which cause it to turn on him!

So when Brad says that the shark turned on him and then he "poked" it, he really meant to say "I shot it and then it turned on me". As to him not having time to shoot him, when he got to the surface, well, it is a bit hard to shoot something, when you first have to reload your speargun, because you already shot at it.

The video clearly shows his loaded gun during the descent, him shooting the shark and then ascending to the surface with no shaft in the gun.

But hey, blame the shark, it makes for a much better headline. I would be angry too, if someone shot at me. Read the entire article here.

Anyway, I'm glad that Brad is OK and I hope he learned that it's not a good idea to shoot a shark.

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.
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