Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Shark Diving Industry needs good people

I am fortunate enough to not be part of the shark diving industry and the more I see what goes on in this little space the happier I am to be an outsider with no strings attached. This is not different from any other industry - people in it are looking for fame, ego massages, media exposure and money - I have nothing against this and there are sustainable businesses in this market as well that should serve as models to the rest.

My problem is that most of the time this is not the case and comes at the expense of the sharks from people that claim to be shark divers, shark advocates, shark experts, shark lovers, shark photographers / videographers, etc. etc. etc. Yet the agendas of these people are very different. Anyone that claims to be a shark anything (minus hunter) will put the shark and its well being ahead of anything else - after all YOUR BUSINESS DEPENDS ON THIS!

There are a few good people out there - you know who you are - we need more of you and less of the others. The bad also know who they are...

Take a look at the video below - how is the shark represented? How dangerous is it really to dive in Tiger Beach? The only danger are stupid people in the water with this magnificent animals...and it is not just about the operators and videographers, it is about everyone in this industry - even the tourists.


DaShark said...

Good post Felix!

To answer your question: Shark diving is gonna be as dangerous as the people doing it allow it to become! On Tiger Beach and everywhere else!

Tourists are Tourists - the rules and the guidance need to come from the Industry professionals who get paid to take them there.

Felix Leander said...

Can't argue with that...and I definitely believe that the operators have a huge responsibility - but it does not solely depend on them to fix the industry.

Shark Diver said...

Amen Sir,

Your voice is a fresh breeze on this matter. There are a "few" within our industry who are hell bent on destroying it out of sheer stupidity.

They do not care.

Wait until Shark Week this year, the parade of industry Hari-Kiri will tear your heart out and probably shut down at least one dive site.

That quote you can, sadly, take-to-the-bank.

the One called "Bitey".... said...

I suppose if there were a way to differentiate between the bucket-listers (just out for a thrill, then on to the next thrill) and real ocean and shark aficionados, it would be a start - but like any business, I guess you have to take your customers where you can get them.

I personally do not enjoy diving with adrenaline junkies (sharks or no) or bucket-listers; I love the ocean, and I love sharks, and I just want to be there.

None of this "yahoo!" jumping up and down, showing off photos to your coworkers bullshit, like some phallus-measuring contest.

My last trip out with The WONDERFUL Shearwater crew was just that, exactly what I hoped and wanted: a great group of real shark lovers, who #1 knew how to dive! (that's a BIG one!), and #2 were respectful, alert and adaptive underwater.
This is not a themepark rollercoaster, and we all knew it and respected it.

I wish the whole "sharkdiving" scene could be like that.
(I know the Shearwater is heavily criticized, but if you haven't dived with them, don't speak. Please.)

Andy Murch said...

Good post, the more I hear this attitude the more I try NOT to cross that fine line between shark photographer and yahoo. Sometimes that is tough in the company I often keep.

Felix Leander said...

@Shark Diver - that does not sound good, sad thing is that Discovery just does not listen...

@Bitey: Jim is definitely one of the good ones in this industry and a true shark lover - I have been out with him but on the Dolphin trip - he will not allow freedivers on his Tiger beach trip - so as you say - I cannot say more.

@Andy - hang out with a new crowd ;) - or teach the ones you are with - even better.