Sunday, July 5, 2009
Editors Note: This post is now fully retracted. Amos Nachoum in a complete reversal did in fact take divers for cageless encounters in 2009 after claiming he has no intention of doing so and after berating several industry members for suggesting that he might.
This post serves as a reminder of Amos Nachoum's layers of deception in 2008 and 2009 and ultimate lies about his business and his intents with commercial shark diving at Isla Guadalupe.
We posted a look at Amos Nachoum last week and a PDF flyer he recently sent to a diver and potential client stating he was leading out of cage white shark encounters at Isla Guadalupe in 2009.
The flyer was sent two weeks ago and completely refutes emails and phone calls made earlier this year from operators, who have dedicated close a decade at this site with these animals, to Amos.
The operators, including myself, were adamantly opposed to commercial level cageless encounters with great whites. After spending as much time with these animals as we have both in water and at this site - this has been the determination fleet wide.
We have earned the right to make this call and to request that anyone coming to this site honor this decision, including Amos Nachoum.
After much back and forth Amos stated in an email to the operators unequivocally and without reservation "on his honor", that he had no intention of taking divers commercially out of cages at Isla Guadalupe in 2009. Repeating an earlier 2008 cageless stunt with several divers that took all of us by complete surprise.
The following promotional material was sent by a concerned diver and potential client. This PDF flyer was sent by Amos in person last month:
"For an additional fee 5 people will be able to experience a once-in-a-lifetime experience of being out in the blue with these incredible animals. Under the right conditions and with safety divers watching your back, you will be able to witness what it is like to be closer to a great white shark than anyone can dream of. Amos Nachoum has 28 years experience diving with Great White Sharks off Long Island New York, Australia,South Africa, and off the Farallon Islands, San Francisco. Ask about this option when you register for the expedition."
Naturally the discovery of promotional material offering a cageless option after agreeing this was not going to be the case caused many of us to become very upset. Isla Guadalupe is an ecological gem and we are here at the whim of Mexico and Mexican authorities who make the final determination of access to these animals and this site.
Out of cage commercial level diving is something that CONANP is adamantly opposed to and appears as a "no-go" on their proposed rules and regulations.
Amos Nachoum in Person
I spoke with Amos yesterday by phone yet again. In this latest phone call Amos told me that the PDF flyer he sent out to the prospective diver was an "old one". He stated that he did not have the time nor the personnel to change the old PDF promotional material from 2008 and admitted he was still sending it around to perspective divers and clients. While he did not account for the fact that he was not telling divers to ignore the out of cage invites on that flyer, he did once again, tell me he was "absolutely not going to take any divers outside of the cages on his expeditions to Isla Guadalupe this fall".
I have to take Amos at his word as an industry professional and as a diver, once again. I have to accept he is telling me the truth and that the PDF flyer he is currently sending out promoting cageless encounters is "old" and that he is somehow explaining to divers that fact. Others within our industry who have looked at this issue have been less charitable with their assessments.
Apology to Amos Nachoum
I told Amos I would apologise for any misunderstanding on my part as to his intentions and that is what I am going to do right now in this public space, where close to 18K blog readers come each month.
"Amos, I am sorry for doubting your honor and good faith when you said to all the operators in an email this spring that you were not going to offer commercial cageless encounters at Isla Guadalupe. Additionally, I accept your further explanation that the current set of promotional material you are sending out to divers and perspective dive clients are in fact "old" and that you have not had the time or staff to make the necessary changes to them, deleting the $5900 offer to join you and a safety dive team outside the cages of Isla Guadalupe. I want to apologise in public for an earlier blog post that may have caused the reader to assume you had gone against your word and public announcements and hopefully this post will set the record straight".
Now the entire dive world waits until the end of the 2009 shark diving season.
If we are to have future seasons at this site operators will have to show that they are willing to see Isla Guadalupe not in terms or bookings, or financial and diver risk - but of animals first, host country second, and our clients third. We are here ultimately for the animals and nothing less, our obligation to them transcends the acquisition of images.
In many ways we as operators hold the keys to this pristine and unique site, but the sites future is not assured and an estimated 33% of the entire western pacific white shark population hangs in the balance.
Patric Douglas CEO