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: