Friday, December 16, 2011

Shark Diver Happy Holidays 2011

We will be in Panama, Costa Rica and Cuba for the next several weeks taking a well deserved rest from all things sharky.

Actually that's not entirely true as we plan to do some shark diving along the way.

You just can't take the shark outta Shark Diver, you can try, but after a decade it's in our DNA.

To all those who touched our lives this year and made it a better place with your laughter, good will, and sense of adventure we say "thank you" and very Happy New Year.

2012 will be one of the best years ever if 2011 was any indication so let's go shark diving!

Image shot by Christy "The Shark" Fisher featuring Shredder in 2006.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Anderson Cooper for the Sharks?

Would appear so in this in depth look at healthy reef systems and our toothy friends in the Bahamas(?). Kudos to Anderson and his crew for the expose, unfortunately this is only a taste of things to come you'll have to wait until Sunday to see the rest.

Let's go shark diving!

Holiday Gift Giving Shark Style 2011

The Island of the Great White Shark is an award winning documentary, the first and foremost of it's kind on Isla Guadalupe. It features an in depth look at commercial shark tourism and the now internationally recognised white sharks of Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.

Filmed by renown underwater photographer Richard Theiss this documentary remains the only comprehensive look at this unique island, it's inhabitants, and the current threats to the white sharks here.

For those who have seen this magnificent island for themselves and wish to relive the adventure and excitement of white shark encounters, or for those who will be coming to the island soon this DVD remains a hot stocking stuffer for the sharky set.

If there are any left in stock you can find them here.

Look for three of the islands most recognized sharks Bruce, Shredder, and the long missing Fat Tony in this remarkable DVD. Fat Tony's appearance in this DVD is the last time we saw this amazing heavyweight at the island.

Enjoy and have a Happy Holiday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Wacky Gods of Mormonism and Mitt Romney

Jumping right in here for a moment. A lot has been said about the current GOP field and a lot has been said about Mitt Romney the man with the Presidential hairstyle. Frankly I like his hair which goes to show you just how far I have evolved as a voting prospect in the 2012 race.

I am also vaguely aware that Mitt Romney is a Mormon, slapping that religious construct in with the Amish, nice folks who believe in an all knowing deity with a white beard and a fluffy cloud.

That was until I saw the following video, made by Mormons, for Mormons, to explain their religion.

Seriously? Space Jesus? Star Base Khola? Endless Celestial Sex? UFO's? Negroes?...Negroes?

Far be it for me to say that folks cannot believe what they want in their own homes, or within their own church. But as we all know religion tends to shape folks perception of the wider world in which we live, as in George Bush's famous quotes "God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."

Mitt Romney's take on the wider world? After watching this video, you don't even want to know:

Travel Channel and Sharks in Fiji

Rumors of this show have been circulating the community for the past three years with an initial show treatment that was passed around for review.

Today this unique concept is a reality and we have to say, we like the premise:

A new show on the Travel Channel is airing this Sunday (9 PM EST/6 PM PST) and it has a novel premise: send a team of high-end Hollywood photographers to a series of remote locations and recreate a professional photography studio underwater. To this end, the team has pioneered new camera rigs, shooting platforms and lighting equipment that supplies the kind of high-voltage illumination normally reserved for the cover of high-fashion magazines like Vanity Fair. 

 

In their first shoot in Fiji, Mike Muller and his team descend 70 feet where they find and photograph over 8 varieties of sharks. One of their goals is to finally put a face on these elusive creatures who in many regions are struggling to survive with increasing pressures from shark-fin hunters, overfishing and changes in ocean temperature.

Kudos to Mike Muller and good luck with the show.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Greenpeace And Palau Bust Pirates In Palau Shark Sanctuary

The next phase for protected Shark Sanctuaries has begun and we like it, kudos this week to Greenpeace.

It's has surprised few within the shark community that Palau has an ongoing shark problem in the form of outside illegal shark fishing fleets that routinely drop into protected waters to harvest shark fin, even though Palau declared all their waters a Shark Sanctuary in 2009.

We have blogged about the immediate need for millions of dollars to enforce declared Shark Sanctuary gains and to support ongoing shark conservation in the past.

All that has come to a very media worthy head this week as Greenpeace, in tandem with the only Coast Guard vessel Palau owns, busted Taiwan based shark fishing vessel - Sheng Chi Hui.

Unfortunately this great news made the rounds and vanished almost as quickly as it appeared. Hopefully the folks at Greenpeace can raise the bar on this vessel capture and turn it into long term funding.

As a conservation leader Palau has set the bar globally causing other nations to follow suit for sharks. The last three years for Shark Sanctuaries have been the "golden times" but all that hangs in the balance of effective Shark Sanctuary enforcement or lack thereof.

It's an issue that remains the most pressing shark conservation issue on the boards right now.


"The lack of resources available to effectively patrol the waters of the Western and Central Pacific, the unregulated nature of the high seas, and the inconsistent and unreliable nature of monitoring all make it far too easy for illegal activities to take place out here. These serious loopholes need to be closed and pirate fishing needs to be eliminated."



Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shooting Sharks - New iPhone Housing

This fall I joined our Shark Diver crew and a private yacht for a unique late fall Time of the Titans Expedition to Isla Guadalupe. Late November is when the really big 18+ sized female white sharks prowl the waters of Point Norte looking for unlucky seals.

As luck would have it within two hours we were visited by a simply titanic animal and witnessed something amazing. The underwater footage was being shot by an award winning DP, Kenneth Corben, who was at the island three weeks prior shooting a Ford Commercial with us.

He brought along his latest creation a "bullet proof" underwater housing for iPhone that I got to try out and can tell you it's probably the best underwater housing on the market.

Shark tested at the worlds foremost white shark site, get yours today.

For divers joining us at Isla Guadalupe in 2012 there will be several of these amazing underwater housings for you to try on board. It's as easy as place, snap, and shoot.

Let's go shark diving!

All I want for Christmas is...a Fez!

Back in 1933 Laurel and Hardy Rocked the Fez in the classic film Sons of the Desert.

It's of of their best films and a personal favorite of mine, but it has left me asking, "what happened to the Fez?"

As hat wear the Fez is as appealing as the Cubano Porkpie, a fashion that came roaring back into the public's style consciousness after a nearly 40 year hiatus.

Alas the Fez as a style choice seems to have died out with Laurel and Hardy in 1933 and I say it is time to bring the Fez back.

In fact I am willing to stake my entire Christmas wish list on it.

This is the kind of hat wear that commands attention, standing tall above a sea of baseball caps, Porkpies and others, and I want one, nay, I deserve one.

As the CEO of a commercial shark diving company I believe it is my solemn duty being in the public eye to set early trends and "Be The Penguin."

"Be The Penguin" you ask?

Yes. We have all seen the Nat Geo doco's of the massive ice shelf with thousands of penguins milling about looking down into the ocean. None of them want to be the first into the sea, that's today's baseball cap wearing crowd. Suddenly one penguin pushes his (or her) way to the front of the pack and leaps.

Your Fez wearing penguin.

The end result is an avalanche of black and white bodies spilling into the sea, a veritable tidal wave of ornithological joy. As an analogy for life in general I have always believed it is better to "Be the Penguin" and several decades later that basic philosophy has proven wise.

So that's my Christmas wish list, hint, hint and hint to bring back the Fez and to celebrate joy with everyone in the Fezzes aura because unlike ordinary hat wear the Fez casts it's own celebration everywhere it goes. Otherwise Laurel and Hardy would have worn top hats, or cowboy hats, they knew back in 1933 that the Fez was truly something special and unique.

Happy Holidays everyone, here's to a Fezzy 2012!


Cheers,
Patric Douglas
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Wind Up White Sharks - Marc Montocchio

About as good as it gets for Isla Guadalupe shark images and after 10 years on this site we would know. Kudos to Marc Montocchio who shot a simply stunning expose with our favorite friends at Isla Guadalupe:


"She came within a few feet of the cage with as much effort as it would’ve taken me to form a benign thought.  The sunlight rippled across her gray sandy back like the spotlight reserved for a great queen or empress.  Her right eye looking straight at me she was simultaneously acknowledging my presence and assessing my place in the world that surrounded her.  The eye was not the empty black hole I was expecting.  It was shades of brown—an almost amber disk with a bright ring surrounding a smaller inner pupil."

The image we featured is a rare one, what Marc captured is the exact moment a white shark is "wound up" for a powerful high speed maneuver. Either this male (Shredder) was being challenged by an off screen rival, or he had become startled. This is the exact moment these magnificent animals show to the world the grace and power that is Carcharodon carcharias. 

For those in his wake you'll never forget the experience.

Great stuff and hat tip Mike for the find.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Tintorera! The Movie That Just Won't Die

Tintorera!

It's the kind of film that will have you alternately cringing with it's 1970's vintage hyper sexual liberated Mexican vacation scenes while at the same time rooting for several poor unfortunate Tiger sharks that were press ganged into appearing in this god awful film.

The Tigers and the films gory shark attacks are pure nonsense but technically challenging from an underwater filmmakers point of view. This was the 1970's, so pay close attention. The dive team behind this film were pushing every shark boundary there was at the time and no number of Cojones dipped in Patrón Platinum tequila will ever truly describe this dive teams first few raw encounters with Tigers in Mexico - circa 1977.

Kudos to the late great Ramón Bravo for being the man.We all walk in your footsteps sir.

This is great underwater work, if you can get past the fact all the sharks in this film were harmed. Kinda reminds us of a recent chain wrapping event in the Bahamas as of late, but hey, that's film and television with sharks for you.

Fast forward to the 1980's and the other famous underwater Tiger scene with Fonzi et al Happy Days and you see the pure genius that was the DP's work with Tintorera!

We're also impressed that the main paramour in this film, a very sweaty bearded Hugo Stiglitz, managed to channel the onscreen energy and look of another well known television character the "Manah Manah Guy" from Sesame Street.

Whether this is a case of crazy 1970's zeitgeist or in fact the Muppet's creator Jim Henson was a stone cold fan of the film Tintorera! we will never know. Unless you track down Mr.Stiglitz who rumor has it is still alive and well at the ripe old age of 70 in Mexico City.


Anyone? Anyone? Bueler?

If you need more Tintorera! analysis and discussion you can find it because this film has lit a small fire under the shark bloggers. Must be the vintage shark footage, alcohol, and sex, and David Diley has the complete scoop on Tintorera! for you this week. It's a must read.

Tintorera! is the film that "just will not die", thanks largely in part to bloggers like us, You Tube, and a growing fan base perhaps nostalgic for real cocktail glasses on unspoilt Mexican beaches and a time where you could vacation to Mexico without fear of two dozen headless bodies showing up with your vacation luggage courtesy of some local drug gang. 

Looking back on it, Tintorera! is a bit of a time warp, and what a weird and wonderful time machine it turned out to be.

Mark Tipple's "Underwater Project" released on App Store

World renowned and award winning photographer Mark Tipple brings his Underwater Project to iOS devices. Just in time for the holidays and 2012 a new season of underwater magic.

Check it out here

“The underwater portraits of Mark Tipple have an otherworldly look and lighting that no studio could match.” ~ VisualNews.com

As featured in

✎ The Telegraph (UK)
✎ Australian BodyBoarder
✎ The Dive Photo Guide
✎ The Australian (AUS)

"The most powerful images in documentary photography projects are rarely the ones on the surface of the issue, they’re the ones that go deeper. Australian documentary photographer, Mark Tipple, has taken this concept quite literally in a new series called “The Underwater Project”.” ~ ChaseJarvis.com

ABOUT THE PROJECT

A haze of smashed blues and whites, the bright sting of sunlight and a briny hit. The wave rolls onwards, lurching forwards with a power that seems so benign from afar. It throws itself in a powerful lunge, crashes down and topples everything in its path – but for the ocean swimmers who know that to survive a wave is to dive deep.

Visionary photographer Mark Tipple brings his world renowned and ongoing photographic series to the iPhone, iPod and iPad. With regular new releases and weekly visual updates you'll always have new experiences and images to discover.

Try the app with full functionality for free and be amazed by the imagery. You may also unlock dozens more images from the series with a one time in app purchase of just $1.99.

APP FEATURES

✔ 20+ Images from each released series
✔ Browse, zoom & explore the shots
✔ Landscape and Portrait image view
✔ Slideshow viewer w/ custom effects
✔ Create your own custom slideshow
✔ Slideshow never goes dark
✔ Music player in slideshow
✔ Read the UWP Blog
✔ HD iPhone 4.0 Retina Display
✔ Supports iPad native resolution

Official Site: http://www.theunderwaterproject.com

Commercial Shark Diving - Can it Save Sharks?

Talking a bite out of fisheries with sustainable commercial shark diving?
"Data provided by Pew Environmental Group highlights the economic value of live sharks. Belize, for example, rakes in almost $4 million annually from whale shark tours. Shark diving in the Indo-Pacific region generates an estimated $40 million annually, and Spain’s Canary Islands get $24.7 million each year from shark diving. Sharks and shark-related tourism have earned the Bahamas more than $800 million in the 20 years since the country banned long-line fishing."

All that data is well and good but are sharks being saved globally in the balance between sustainable commercialization of sharks and the non sustainable kind that sees sharks reduced to component parts?


I am going to run out on a limb here and say no - not yet.

I don't think we have reached a point as a commercial shark diving industry where we have the ability to partner with mainstream resorts and developments to create commercial shark diving sites globally, and we need to, soon.

To do this we need to partner with an NGO that has the reach and the heft to scale up commercial shark diving in areas that currently have no shark diving at all. Think of this as a string of pearls with dive sites linking each other under a global umbrella, each one creating it's own local set aside area for sharks that are monetized.

An NGO like PEW with Matt Rand would be an excellent choice.

PEW fundamentally gets commercial shark diving, and done right, it's positive ripple effects for regional shark fisheries are undisputed.

Those within our industry who are invested in sharks sustainably work with conservation to preserve their resource. We have seen this from Isla Guadalupe, to Honduras, to great effect. But these efforts are still a drop in the bucket compared to the many millions of sea acres that contain the right matrix for commercial shark diving:

1. A solid tourism infrastructure, with regional hotel partners and government buy in

2. Accessible dive sites, snorkel sites, and or long range boats

3. Accessible "marquis species" sharks from whale sharks to great whites


4. Set shark diving protocols for safe encounters


Our industry, thanks to many early trailblazers, enjoys several shark diving models with different species, all of which have proven to offer safe encounters over time. We need to scale these models up and offer the incentives for regional interested parties to begin their own commercial shark diving operations in their own backyards.


For the less inventive of you out there saying, "this is impossible" we say, not so.

One of the primary problems for small regional shark diving operators is marketing. How do you tap into a global audeince, how much does that cost? With today's Internet we might propose an umbrella site wherein all the small scale shark dive sites were listed in detail with video, images and contact information for prospective shark divers. Think of this site as a planning site and a partner like Travelzoo.com, or Lonely Planet might offer the marketing reach and platform for this.


It can also be built as a stand alone site and marketed as such.

Having an NGO like PEW push governments to sanction shark diving and provide backing for government sites would help scale this effort.


As a decade long veteran of commercial shark diving and having seen our industry grow and mature over the past decade I believe we have reached the point where scalability is not only the right thing to do but the inevitable thing.


If we really want to help sharks and change the way people see them, put two decades of operational knowledge, marketing, and if possible government sanctions behind an effort to bring commercial shark diving to the world in a way that is visionary, safe, and an investment in the future.


It's not rocket science, but it is a science and we can do this, the question is, does anyone want to?


Cheers,
Patric Douglas
www.sharkdiver.com
www.sharkdivers.com
www.sharkfreemarinas.com
415.235.9410

Wolf in the Henhouse - Costa Rica?

What happens when you appoint a fisheries agency in bed with regional commercial fishing interests to "analyze the management of the country’s marine resources?"

You get the oft bizarre world of Latin America fisheries. In this case 
the Costa Rica Fisheries Institute (Incopesca) long known for pro-fisheries "look the other way" management styles.

Fortunately there's a plethora of NGO's and regional media folks who are watching this development and keeping the world informed and educated.

Keep your eyes on this one as it develops, hopefully the folks over at Incopesca with choose leadership over business as usual and regional shark species will get a break.

Complete story.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Shark Jobs? PEW is looking for someone

The Pew Global Shark Conservation Campaign is looking for a communications expert.  Pew is the leader in global shark conservation having supported efforts to end the commercial fishing of sharks in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.  The job posting is online.  Follow the link to apply.  The position is based in Washington, DC, United States.

Overview:
Organization: The Pew Charitable Trusts is driven by the power of knowledge to solve today's most challenging problems. Pew applies a rigorous, analytical approach to improve public policy, inform the public and stimulate civic life

Department: The Pew Environment Group – The mission of the Environment group is to promote policies and practices that protect the global environment, preserve healthy forests and marine ecosystems. For the past two decades, the Environment group has been a major force in driving conservation policy in the United States, and increasingly internationally. The group’s work is focused on reducing the scope and severity of three major global environmental problems:
  • Transition to a clean energy economy from one based primarily on the burning of fossil fuels.
  • The erosion of large wilderness ecosystems that contain a great part of the world’s remaining biodiversity; and,
  • The destruction of the world’s marine environment, with a particular emphasis on global fisheries.
Position Overview: The communications officer will work on a daily basis with programmatic campaign staffs, and will assist and advise Pew Environment Group (PEG) campaigns on outreach to journalists, web content, and all aspects of public communication. While supporting issues relating to PEG, this position reports to the head of communications for PEG within the central Communications department.

Pew’s global and highly visible shark campaign is seeking full-time communications support. The ideal candidate will have a passion for shark conservation, keen ability to shape and pitch stories, strong writing skills for preparing press materials, fact sheets and web content and the ability to translate dense information into compelling visuals [emphasis mine].

Responsibilities:
  • Facilitate the development of concepts and strategies for crucial projects;
  • Advise and coordinate with PEG Communications and PEG campaign staff on energy, oceans and land issues;
  • Develop and support Pew’s use of “new media” and social media outlets for the campaigns’ messages;
  • Participate and advise in the drafting of campaign-related communications tools and web content;
  • Work with PEG Communications staff on support and promotion of the organization’s brand;
  • Develop and maintain news media contacts to be used by all campaigns;
  • Provide support for PEG related communications as needed.
Requirements:
  • A minimum of eight years in advocacy communications. College degree required.
  • Must have excellent oral communications, writing, editing and research skills, and proven ability to frame and develop cogent messages.
  • Skills associated with completion of an undergraduate degree program in communications, journalism or related major required. Graduate degree preferred.
  • Must demonstrate understanding of media and news organizations, particularly broadcast media and web-based outlets.
  • Must be flexible, creative, consistent and assume high accountability for all areas of responsibility. Must demonstrate strong collaborative spirit and leadership ability.
  • Ability to think strategically, handle multiple priorities, be extremely well-organized, manage time effectively and identify resources for projects required.
  • Aptitude for understanding organizational structure and working through administrative systems preferred.
  • Must be able to work in groups and individually to meet goals.
  • Passion for achieving goals to protect the environment.
Travel
Domestic or international travel may be required.

Compensation
The Pew Charitable Trusts offers a competitive salary and excellent benefits package, including a generous 401(k) plan, four weeks vacation and flexible benefit options.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Shark Diver is now...Really Good Beer?

In stores today the all new Shark Diver IPA (India Pale Ale).

It's the culmination of a several month long project with a small independent brewery and your friendly neighborhood shark diving company Shark Diver to produce "Conservation Brands."

It's an idea we have been tossing around for a while, creating a long term money making venture for shark conservation with 100% of the profits going back into projects for sharks worldwide.

The idea is not new, thanks to the Cayman Islands Beer, who give back a small percentage of profits for shark conservation efforts.

We decided to give back 100% and this weeks launch of the Shark Diver IPA at select test market stores should tell us how the market reacts to the brand and the beer. It is really great stuff and many Kudos to the brew team who have made the Shark Diver IPA a small but interesting reality in the nationwide micro brew market.

Drink well and be sharky.

We'll be posting a list of stores in the coming weeks where you might discover your own Shark Diver IPA, keep your eyes peeled and let's go save some sharks.

Friday, December 2, 2011

A Room Full of Naked Emperors - Epic Rant

The wise industry sage sez, "good stuff"
We have been blogging about our industry, conservation, the heroes, the idiots and just about everything you might want to read in the shark world for the past three years.

It's been an amazing run with a readership that tops 25k a month celebrating over a million unique pageviews last month.

That's right, one million people stopped by to read what we had to say, agree with it, or become angry and emailed over to their particular clan grouping for dissection. These brilliant posts were then ripped apart with a creative and sometimes unusual assortment of interesting international put downs. South Africa currently holds champion status for, "ways to say things about your mother."

It's all good.

But nothing we have written to date comes close to an Epic Rant by David Diley this week who distilled conservation facts and efforts to re-brand sharks by some down to the basics.

If you do not possess the following abilities, do not read this expose:

1. The ability to detect nuance

2. The ability to understand multisyllabic wording

3. The ability to detect dark and intuitive humor

For the rest of you, the majority, our fan base, enjoy.

David hit a home run this week, and good on him for swinging for the fences.

How to attract sharks and influence them

Papua New Guinea. Apparently rubbing a plastic bottle to create vibrations is a something you can do to attract sharks.

Knowing that you can attract sharks is one thing, doing so with no plan for the sharks arrival is something else altogether.

Folks, we have said it before and we'll say it again.

No matter how many times you see commercial shark diving people interacting with sharks, never, NEVER, think to yourself, "hey that's easy I can do that".

Especially at 187 feet where in the event of a bite you would most likely suffer an embolism on your frantic race for the surface: