Monday, August 31, 2009

The Reef Tank Forum

The Reef Tank forum was kind enough to replicate the freediving stories from Deeper Blue on their own blog...

Who is the Reef Tank Forum: a unique forum designed to provide an outlet for beginning and experienced aquarists to discuss key marine aquarist issues and share tips and suggestions about the reef tank keeping hobby. The blog has expanded to include all types of marine biology topics including marine conservation, ocean acidification, climate change, coral reefs, and marine energy.

Thanks for the posts!!!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Doc" Gruber Madly in Love .....

Photograph: Kristine Stump
Click on image to enlarge

...... or should I say: "Doc" Gruber having a quasi-religious experience?

Whatever - there is not much I can add to this fantastic image. Maybe this: It is hard NOT to fall in love with the striped babes whom Dr. Samuel Gruber, undisputedly one of the most respected shark researchers world-wide, calls the Buddha Sharks.

Only self-styled "shark experts" with little or no personal and up-close experience with these awesome creatures invariably refer to tiger sharks as one of the most 'dangerous' shark species, not to mention the notorious media people, and those infamous and coward shark hunters who portray them as "
man-eaters". Stupid ignorants all.

Does this female tiger shark look as she'd like to eat our one and only "Doc"?

I'd say it is rather the "Doc" who'd like to give the tiger girl a hearty love bite.... :-)

Monday, August 17, 2009

DeeperBlue - Second Article

Absolute Elegance: Caribbean Reef Shark (Abacos / Bahamas 2003)
Photo by Wolfgang Leander

Click on image to enlarge

The second article on freediving with sharks is up on DeeperBlue - give it a read.

This chapter focuses more on the transformation of shark photography and change of protagonists - from Caribbean Reefs to Tiger Sharks...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Whale Wars - What Nightmares Are Made Of

I have been watching Whale Wars this season - and this last Friday I saw the "What Nightmares are Made of" - very disturbing and sad episode, essentially recording the slaughter of three whales and the 25min process of actually killing them with multiple rifle shots (aside from the massive harpoon blow).

During this episode the Sea Shepherds seemed pretty helpless, and I kept asking myself why the small boats were not launched - the seas were calm, and they have the speed to interrupt the whalers.

I do not mean to criticize in anyway - this is an honest question. There is enough debate about Sea Shepard on other forums - please use this one just to answer the questions above.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Where is the Respect?

Got an email this morning from my dad in reference to another killed Tiger Shark - presumably in The Bahamas. A lot of attention is given to Shark Week, Dive Operators (being eco-conscious), Shark Porn, cage diving or not, shark hugging policies, who was part of what production, etc. But who is actually protecting sharks, who is responsible for protecting sharks, and why is it still legal to kill a shark for pure pleasure and fun to get a picture with your friends (likely drunk).

People that deal with the Ocean, either livelihood or pleasure, need to learn to respect it a lot more...and countries that have these treasures need to protect them...

Class act - Notice Shotgun and Beer

Friday, August 07, 2009

Discovery Channel's Shark Week Shark After Dark

How can one describe them other than 'majestic'?
Caribbean Reef Shark (Bahamas)

Photo: Wolfgang Leander
Click on image to enlarge

The last episode of Discovery Channel's Shark Week - finally - it has been grueling and boring, but we have finally come to an end - no more blood, no more attacks, no more wounds, no more hosts that are scared of sharks, no more Shark Porn.

My thoughts on Sharks After Dark:

  • Mark Rackley got old - remember him when he did some amazing stuff with Manny Puig - at least I thought it was amazing back then
  • Cat Gennaro - she is not a shark person - she is scared of them. I remember two separate incidents where sharks singled her out - a white and a mako...she must give off a bad vibe. And lines like: "I did not know if they would tear me apart" (by lemon) sharks does not help.
  • I am still amazed at white sharks breaching - what an incredible sight
  • I have free-dived with Tigers and Lemons at night and found them to be calmer than at day time.
  • Credits thanked Eli Martinez - no comment - I still wonder why he de-friended me on Facebook - I think he also de-friended my dad (that I can understand).
I am happy Shark Week is over...while their ratings have been high, it seems like the media has also been criticizing the network for the production of this year's PORN.

"Killing Machines?" - They are the guardians of our Oceans
Caribbean Reef Shark (Bahamas)

Photo: Wolfgang Leander
Click on image to enlarge

A selfish thought...

Every so often my father sends me some of the discussions that go on on the various shark groups / lists...below is one such post that he recently posted on one of them:

"Dear All:

A very selfish thought.....

I am glad I won't be around when those sharks classified as seriously endangered will become extinct. I feel sorry for Felix (and his generation) who will be witnesses of the catastrophe idiots like shark hunter Bill Goldschmitt {"Der is still plenny o' dem around") and countless others cannot even imagine.

Because I am a shark "hugger", literally and
in the figurative sense, sharks are, to me, the paradigm of our delicately balanced, now severely threatened bio-systems. If we destroy these ancient creatures, we will ultimately destroy ourselves.

Why can't we live in harmony with Nature?...

Click on image to enlarge

There are many other environmental crimes we are happily committing without giving them much thought. Sticking the the shark example, take the Chinese and other Asians - they don't care AT ALL, and keep asking for more shark fins. And since it is very good business, we, the irresponsible, greedy Westerners, supply them, directly and indirectly, with the "commodity".

I am not being an irrational "extremist" (gosh, my trade was very profane and profit oriented; I was a banker all my life as most of you know) but I have learned to care and have become convinced that human stupidity and, worse, human hubris are boundless. So, departing this world with all its beauty and grandeur won't be that painful... thanks to the very species I unfortunately happen to belong to.

And we are so unbelievably narrow-minded that we, members of this shark discussion forum, keep discussing heatedly whether denouncing the Discovery Channel for fueling the fear of sharks, and thus the general indifference to their plight, is "bullshit" or not....

If God created the humans, it must have been with the purpose of eventually using them to destroy the rest of his own creation. Why? Well, I don't know, not even the so-called "holy" father, God's general agent on earth, knows. God's logic is beyond our comprehension.

A Jewish joke: A customer sees his tailor and scornfully complains about the time it has taken him to finish a pair of pants:
"It took God six days to create the world, and you needed six weeks to tailor my pants!!"  The Jewish tailor with a knowing smile: "Yes, but look at the world, and look at these pants..."



Thursday, August 06, 2009

Discovery Channel's Shark Week Great White Appetite

I think there was a mistake in Discovery Channel's scheduling during Shark Week - this episode was not driven by attacks, blood, and over-caffeinated hosts. Considering the quality and content of the four previous episodes, this is the first to pass.

Some thoughts:

  • First thought when shark bites Zodiac - boat had bait dangling on side - and we will never know
  • Jeremiah Sullivan is a cool call
  • Watch the video below sent to me by a friend - good recap of Shark Week thus far:

Discovery Channel's Shark Week Shark Bite Summer

To be very honest, I am not going to say much about this show, out of respect to the people their stories and lost of loved ones. I clearly remember that summer - the media frenzy - and how it all stopped on Sept. 11, 2001.

At least Discovery Channel had the decency to mention that the summer of 2001 was no different from any other year as far as shark incidents were concerned - basically during the credits, but at least it was said.

0 for 4...

Only focus of SharkWeek thus far has been attacks.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Discovery Channel's Shark Week Day of the Shark 2

I think I will not dive with sharks anymore - they are monsters and I am very afraid...that is the only effect that Discovery Channel's Shark Week has had on me. So far I have watched three episodes and the only thing I have seen is blood and heard "killer".

Day of the Shark 2 thoughts:

  • Red / hungry / kill
  • Neil H is a bad bowler
  • Surfers are crazy - but I do respect them - they have a special relationship with the ocean and sharks - but they are still crazy for dangling on the surface
  • Not one of the shows thus far would have been watched by my children (if I had any) way to graphic - no need to show the open wounds and do not have any educational value
  • Have nothing to say about the shark cage breach except that one of the divers said he is "passionate about sharks" - then why did he release the footage. I think he is passionate about money and fame
  • "Lethal eating machine" - poor sharks
  • Bahamas and Florida must love all the good publicity that Discovery Channel is giving them
  • I have to agree that hogfish is the best tasting fish - also the easiest to spear
  • Surprised they filmed a hogfish dying on spear - whatever happen to "no animals were harmed during the..."
  • Film a reef shark and call it a bull / several scenes talk about one shark but show a different species
  • "But sometimes shark attack on purpose..." great line
  • Pleased by the positive attitude of shark encounter victims
  • I would have jumped in and pounded on a shark as well if Tibu (my dog) was in trouble. My dog's name is Tibu - short for Tiburon (shark in Spanish)
  • But even dogs forgive sharks
  • Navy SEAL was in "hand-to-hand" combat with shark - if anything hand-to-fin
0 for 3 Discovery Channel...

I am surprises that Febreze (Proctor and Gamble) is sponsoring Shark Week - why would they want to associate their brand with the gore? Product good to clean blood? Eliminate dead fish odors?

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Discovery Channel Shark Week Deadly Waters

Last night on Discovery Channel's Shark Week was Deadly Waters hosted by Les Stroud - he travels the world and rates the 5 most dangerous places - shark-wise. My thoughts below:

  • Starts with Les Stroud jumping from a helicopter on top of sharks, what a macho - nice way to "connect" with sharks...
  • Stroud's monologue is dramatic, thin, and filled with stupid comments
  • Surprised that Stuart Cove participated in segment - Caribbean Sea is 5th most dangerous place. On one hand Stuart Cove promotes shark diving, and on the other he adds to the shark porn...
  • Neil Watson says that Caribbean Sharks are safe to dive with...Discovery says otherwise
  • Great Whites in Caribbean - SERIOUSLY???
  • Les Stroud is scared of sharks
  • Make a chumsickle the size of a human and drive at the speed a human would swim to compare human and bait...WHAT?
  • Segment on Florida was not filmed in Florida but in the Bahamas
  • Experiment with shark to eat fish or prosthetic hand off stick - in clear water shark takes murky water (which was done by kicking up sand) - shark takes fish...then hand (after it was rubbed in fish oil - I have confirmation on this)
So far Shark Week is 0 for 2...

How can serious shark people be part of this show...don't get it...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Discovery Channel Shark Week Blood in the Water

So I am sitting here and have just watched the first 5 minutes of Discovery Channel's Shark Week first program - Blood in the Water - Jaws meets Gone With the Wind. Completely boring, lots of blood, bad production, horrible props...

They talk a lot about sharks killing people - little to no education...I guess I am going to turn it off...maybe tomorrow will be better...NOT - Survivor man and Tiger Beach - wonder if they stuffed dummies with fish again to get the Tigers to "attack".

Shark Week so far FAIL and living up to the shark porn...

Discovery Channel's Shark Week and Twitter

I had complete forgotten that today Shark Week starts - have set-up my DVR to record all the shows - the only reason I remember is that I was looking at my Tweetdeck and one of my search terms is "sharks". Noticed that there is a lot more chatter than normal today and after ready a few tweets it all came together.

People are saying all sort of things - some good some are some samples:

@stephanie1685: i love shark week!!!!! i dont know why cuz i hate sharks and scared to death f them

@SheenaLovesJB ik! i hate sharks with a passion! >.< @somuchunfortune It's so nice to see people getting their limbs chewed off by sharks. It makes me feel so much better. Thank you, Shark Week. @paigerags I'm upset with the portrayl of shark's in the SHARKWEEK commercials. Sharks are friends, not mindless eating machines. Not expecting much from Shark Week - mostly some Shark Porn - as the people at Discovery Channel themselves call it... Make up your own mind and check out twitter search for sharks.