Saturday, August 21, 2010

BIG tiger shark mamma "Scarface" doing what tiger sharks are "supposed" to do....

Beqa Lagoon Queen "Scarface" getting up close and a bit toooooo personal with
Mike Da Shark

Photograph by Doug Perrine

Click to enlarge

.... trying to eat, at least bite, cameras or other metal stuff.

I have only seen tiger sharks doing it, although it is a fact that Great Whites, and other sharks, are known to bite the bars of dive cages, and mouth propellers of smaller boats.

As tigers are scavengers, and would test-bite almost anything that triggers their gastro-curiosity, I always thought that only cameras with serious electronic components would send out sufficiently strong electric signals the sharks could detect with their ampullae of Lorenzini.

My dilettante deduction was based on the simple assumption that my small, basically mechanical Nikonos V does not emanate enough electric impulses f
or tigers to excite them, and that my camera was, therefore, unattractive to them, sharks in general.

However, my friend Jifa had an experience that proved my "theory" wrong.

Sijmon de Waal, another South African friend of mine, was not as lucky as Jifa. A large resident tiger shark of Aliwal Shoal, "Karin", aka "Dartboard", used to being photographed a lot, one day unexpectedly snapped at, and literally got away with, Sijmon's underwater still camera.

Sijmon, an athletic 2m man, didn't give up easily, and kicked "Karin" vigorously on its nose - to no avail. "Karin" was stronger and absolutely determined not to let go. The shark eventually swallowed the camera after breaking the attached strobes, and that was that.

As anybody else would have done under the circumstances, Sijmon followed "Karin" frantically to see whether she would regurgitate the 6.000 Dollar equipment but the big lady quickly disappeared rocking and rolling into the greenish-bluish mist of the open sea.

During the following days, "Karin" kept coming back; the camera, however, was gone, resting peacefully somewhere in the unfathomable depth of the Indian ocean...

So, when you photograph or videograph tigers, and if one of 'dem' babes ever feels like tasting your camera - don't think of Sijmon, think of Mike Da Shark: Don't panic, be calm, be gutsy, and just hold on to your valuable equipment.

Look at the image once again to see how Mike did it.
Here is a little secret: While intimidatingly tall Mike appears to be super cool and brave fending off "Scarface" with his camera, rather than giving it to her as a ritual offering, you can't tell that he almost 'soiled' his wetsuit in the process!! *)

*) On his own confession, just for the record..... :-)

Last year, Felix, my son, almost lost his underwater video camera to a curious Tiger Beach tiger girl. Felix held the housing with a firm grip, saved it but forgot to turn off the camera, and got, thus, a very captivating inside view of the tiger's teethy mouth. So far, Felix has been adamant to post the video clip - too bad. Let me talk to him again - he might change his mind.


DaShark said...

Well well Wolfgang!


怪哉 said...

when you photograph or videograph tigers, and if a single of 'dem' babes actually feels like tasting your digital camera
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