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Saw a Whale Shark last week

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Erection Supervisor ;)
Jan 19, 2001
hi.... any shark fanatics out there? Any Shark Specialty Instructors?

I am developing my own speciality course, and would love to share any teaching materials, ideas etc.

I am based in the Maldives but I will make the course Caribbean specific, which is my next destination...

last week i saw a small 5m whale shark, making her way past our island, she was a 15m depth... what a wonderful experience.
feeding em?


There is quite a buzz going around about shark feeding and the like, what's your perspective on it? It seems to have quite a potential impact in some areas, like Florida. Personally I believe that they seem to do pretty good on their own and ought to be left alone. I also feel that way about the marine mammals that the eco-terrorists like to make money on by taking tourists out to see and chasing. Granted if they were really being bothered they can just leave, but I'd rather encourage the tourists to spend some time in the water and really find out what it's like to be close with them.

My 2Cs,


i'm right there w/ you doug. being a florida native, i think the bahamas craze of shark feeding has gone a little overboard.

there was a study done in the south pacific on gray reef sharks. these puppies aren't dumb at all. talk about a pavlovian response... the fishermen were complaining about too many sharks taking their catch before they could get them out of the water. when too many sharks showed up, ruining their fishing spot, they picked up anchor and moved to a new area.

well, it seemed that the sharks were just as plentiful there as theh last spot. so, they'd pick up and move again. same story every place they went. the only place where they actually caught some fish was at the first spot, but only for a little bit.

the research team went w/ the fishermen w/ a pretty good theory of what was going on. they put their uw cameras behind the boat as the fishermen headed to a new spot to fish. sure enough, every single shark stayed right behind the boat as it cruised accross the reefs. that's why every spot they went to had the same problem.

point being.. if i were a shark, and i heard a motor frequency similar to the fishing vessels they chow behind, i'd follow them too! same goes with the boats that ring the dinner bell to bring in the sharks for their scuba guests to see.

have fun anchoring at that spot w/ no food! :D pavlov's laughing in his grave, "vaht waz deez peeple tinking?"


ps. i've accidentally fed ton's of sharks by accident. their favorite food is skewered grouper. :D
shark feeding etc

hiya folks

shark feeding ... good one.. my opinion is "leave 'em alone!"

feeding interferes with natural shark behaviour and is also found that they approach divers too close if constantly fed in the same area.

also, if a dive centre offers you a "safe shark feeding dive" - consider it bulls*t ... if you can see a shark's teeth , you are too close!

also sharks can mistakenly bite you on these frenzies, and then are labelled as "dangerous creatures".

also, shark finning and fishing should be banned. sharks are extremely important to the marine environment as they clean up all the sick fish and ensure that only robust species survive (they are quite capable of capturing healthy ones too!)

shark finning is cruel (their fins are sliced off and then they are chucked back in the water to die a slow death by drowning):
so don't order Shark Fin soup in your local Chinese restaurant...!

have you noticed that shark attacks are becoming more frequent in Florida and also South Africa??? it is suspected because of all the cage diving (chumming the water) and shark feeding that the sharks are coming in closer to the shores than normal...

come on folks! voice your opinions to your local authorities... humans have little to fear from most sharks.... but sharks have lots to fear from humans.....
florida attacks

with all due respect, the shark attacks are in no way related to "shark feeding". of course, this is in my humble opinion.

being a florida native, i have seen the shark attack seasons come and go. yeah, that's right, seasons. every year there's a baitfish migration along the eastern seaboard of n. america. the threadfin herring start first and make their way towards the warmer water around florida. many believe most of these fish breed in the estuaries and shallows all along florida's coast. some believe they continue on south. following their migration, come the mullet. as a larger species of baitfish, these guys are a main target for larger fish(ie. tarpon, snook, barracuda, bluefish, mackerel, and of course sharks.)

what is happening in florida, is that our political action banning certain types of netting has been a little too late. many harvesters are still scouring fish off our coasts by bending the rules, making their netting legal. a depleted food supply for our bigger critters out there makes the pickings slim, if you know what i mean.

well, when this fall bait run comes through, and this is only hundreds of yards(on average) just off the coastline, all your hungry big fish come into feed. if you know anything about florida, anything north of palm beach is considered "good surfing". so, you can imagine the surf is pretty active there, reducing the visibility pretty tremendously. so, zero viz and scads of food is the recipe for "bobbing for apples", so to speak. w/ the bait seeking protection in the surflines, the larger fish will come into this area to feed. of course, this is where you have your swimmers, bathers, surfers etc. most people are getting bitten in less than two feet of water, inside the surfline. the bait get's driven closer to shore, and of course the hungry sharks will follow.

this has been the case for over 98% of the attacks in the past 10 or so years. let's please not falsely put the blame on the divers, here. although i still believe shark feeding should be banned, it's not going to condition these creatures to bight people.

anderson york
Feeding Marine Life in FL

Beware everybody, I'm about to flame!

I'd like to speak out on the 'shark feeding' issue currently effecting Florida. I personally consider it an abomination against nature! It causes marine life to interact unnaturally with humans. I'm not just talking about sharks but also grouper, jewfish, moray eels, and stingrays (to name a few). Feeding causes these creatures to lose their natural fear of man by associating us as a possible food source. As a reward for their altered natural behavior, these creatures many times get shot. Imagine my dilemma here in S. FL when I see a monster black grouper sitting on the bottom in 60-ft looking directly at me. I don't have much time to assess the situation. Am I super lucky to have caught an incredibly smart fish off guard or is it just waiting for a free handout? Do I whack it and count my blessings or do I wait and try to decide if it's a hand fed grouper that I would feel extremely bad about killing? These are the thoughts of an experienced FL freediver, imagine what a novice diver/spearfisherman must think when a 6-foot green moray eel rushes at him off the bottom and starts entwining itself through his BC. Or when a whole family of black tip sharks charge him. There have been many cases here in S. FL where 'tame' creatures have been shot by spearfishermen and most times it's not the divers fault. They're not trying to be malicious and kill for the sake of killing but are usually only defending themselves against what they have interpreted as a dangerous animal. I feel it's so utterly irresponsible for dive operators to pursue these practices in areas where spearfishing is not forbidden. It disgusts me beyond words that they conduct these practices in the name of education when in reality it's only for pure monetary gain. I hold them just as responsible, if not more so, for any marine life that gets accidentally killed. And what irks me the most, is that they don't care in the least just as long as they're making money!

BTW, I have a Master of Science degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Management and worked for the FL Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission for 4 years as a fisheries biologist. I also moonlighted as a DiveMaster in West Palm Beach, FL for over a year. So, as you can see, I am very familar with both sides of the coin!
truth is truth

Sturgeon writes:

"It disgusts me beyond words that they conduct these practices in the name of education when in reality it's only for pure monetary gain."

Living in Florida and hearing both sides of the issue, I have reached the same conclusion as Scott T. It's strictly economics.

Scott N.
To Scott

Scott N.,

Where do you live in Florida? I live in WPB and dive every weekend. I have a 22 ft power cat with twin 115 hp Suzuki 4-strokes. I'd probably have room if you'd like to come up and shoot some fish sometime with me and my friends.

Scott Turgeon
chopped liver

scott t.

i've been trying to get a hold of you! sorry for using this thread for a discussion, but i'll be heading out of west palm this coming sunday.

email me at andrsn@2james.net , please and thank you.
Brindle Bass

I don't think feeding's such a good idea.

There's a very well known dive destination in South Africa called Sodwana Bay, and there are literally thousands of divers (mostly Scuba) there every week.

There used to be a huge Brindle Bass that lived on one of the reefs - I don't know which one, but this bass was very tame - the scuba guys used to feed it every time they saw it. It grew so accustomed to human contact that it sought out scuba divers, sometimes straying miles from it's regular spot just to see if there's a morsel to be had.

Some time ago (couple of years) a spearfisherman went to Sodwana to shoot some trophies.

Mistake number one.

So he went to the Bass' (it had a name, but for the love of me I can't remember it) favourite haunt unknowingly, and after about half an hour in the water he saw it - the biggest mother fish he's ever seen. So he promptly shot it (giving Spearo's in SA a bad name for the next five years) and dragged it to the beach.

Upon seeing the fish, some of the scuba guys recognized it, and being ten times more educated than this inland visitor told him that
a.) Brindle Bass is a protected species
b.) You're not allowed to spear on that particular reef
c.) You're not allowed to shoot reef fish at Sodwana
d.) This particular Bass was tame.

So the spearo replied "Yeah, but it's a nice trophy mate! Wouldn't you have done it?"

Apparently (I don't know if this bit is urban legend or not) they torched his truck and dumped his boat off it's trailer. Then told him to get the hell out or they'll torch him.

Anyhow, Thought I'd tell a little story about relationship between scuba / spearo and fish feeding. Sad but true

And NO, I wasn't close to Sodwana on that weekend

Riaan C
Scott T.,

I live near Orlando. I thus far have limited my freediving to the Florida Springs in the central and northern parts of the state. I grew up on the beach in Sarasota and boated/skiied alot but the viz was so poor, never did any diving. Will get my first taste of (good) salt water freedivng/spearfishing with Anderson in the keys at the end of March.

Thank you for the offer to join you some weekend. I may get hooked on seeing big fish instead of just limestone caverns and come and take you up on it. Meanwhile, if you have any interest in spring diving, CJBorgert and I know some great spots (and it is nice not having salt and sand all over yourself and your gear at the end of the day).



P.S. Sorry for this post being off the thread subject.
howzit Spearo!!! from a fellow south african..

hi there.....
i am rushing this now as it's nearly lunchtime... and i am starving after this morning's dive, hey, we saw a manta ray, stingray, eagle, grey reef shark, white tip sharks, and a huge Napoleon!

Spearo, aren't shark attacks becoming more frequent in the Cape now since all the cage diving??

will get back to you all on this subject.... but read all the postings and would really agree with scott.

leave the animals be.. we are VISITORS to their underwater world and we should respect their space and natural behaviour.

ta ta for now from the Maldives...
Shark attacks

First of all, there's only two places I know of that cage diving with Great Whites happen in South Africa - Gansbaai and Mosselbaai.

There's not all that many people crazy enough to dive around Gansbaai - or swim for that matter. It's overpopulated with seals, and thus attracts all the big and toothy critters. You hear many tales of boats being bumped by GW's in the Gansbaai area.

AS for Mosselbaai, the attraction's not that big - there's not that many sharks around. And they're not the monsters we're used to in False Bay or Gansbaai.

Shark attacks have been steadily increasing over the past 10 or so years, yes, but I do not think that this is due to feeding, chumming or cage diving. This might have to do with more people swimming, surfing and diving in well known shark waters, but it might also have to do with more people being involved in the ocean.

By this I mean, the more people there are watching the water, the more likeley they are to see sharks / shark attacks. A lot of shark attacks are never reported as no-one knows what happened to the people - they just went out for the day and never returned.

What HAS happened, however, (and I can hear the cries going up already) is that the more 'docile' sharks (docile in laymen's view) like the Ragged Tooth Shark or the Zambezi Shark are becoming a lot more aggressive. This happens in the most unlikeley places, like Durban. Durban has never had anything like cage diving, but lately there has been some operators chumming for big Zambezis and Raggies. The result? People being bitten whilst swimming at 'protected' beaches - ie shark nets etc etc. Fishermen lose their catches to sharks more and more often. And still people get cocky with sharks. I'll post some follow up photos in the next post.


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Swimmers approaching a basking shark

Uhm .... look ma, no arms / legs / lower body / upper body ...


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And this, of course ...

Is the real McCoy. This is what you might expect - and should be aware of - when diving in False Bay
The potato bass that got send onto early retirement at Sodwana a couple of years back's name was George.
Weighing between 80 - 100 kgs.

Yes they made a barnfire out of the spearo's transport.

It is true what was said in the film the matrix, man has turned into a disease on planet earth.He will infect everything around him and in the end destroy himself.
Laws of Nature


Your last statement about man destroying himself is a well accepted basic biological principle that is taught throughout most US colleges that have biology curriculums. Any animal population that is left unchecked (no predators) will eventually overpopulate it's habitat and crash. It continually happens throughout nature. The only problem is that we as a society don't accept ourselves as animals and therefore do not feel that basic biological principles apply to us. Because of our technology, we have been able to prolong the inevitable but our day is coming. Diseases such as AIDS are a prime example of what eventually happens to an overpopulated species. It won't be total annihilation (except for nuclear holocaust of course) but eventually some disease will sweep through the human race that will put a serious hurt on our numbers and then things will start all over again. It's Nature's way!

SASpearo - I don't believe I've ever heard anybody refer to the zambezi as 'docile'. I have several dive partners from SA and they consider the zambezi (bull shark) the second most dangerous shark in the World second only to the Great White. We have plenty of bulls in S. FL and I definitely haven't enjoyed the encounters I've had with them. Over here they are exteamely aggressive sharks and this year alone killed and/or severely injured several people on the US East Coast.

Scott Turgeon
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