Posts Tagged ‘Great White Shark’

I had the opportunity to watch “Shark Attack Experiment” last night, and was very excited when i saw the names involved in the show, some reputable names in the Shark world to say the least.

So, what did I think about the Program? Well, I don’t want to give away too much, but overall it wasn’t a bad show. It had some good footage, and a handful of interesting moments too. What I did like about it, was the concept, (Certainly not a new concept, since i have seen something similar once before, but interesting none the less). I also liked the fact that they had a “Non Shark” person involved in the experiment.

The Show is basically about 5 “Experts” who test various theories, to see what causes sharks to attack. The sharks they dive with are the Black Tip Reef Shark, The Great White Shark, Bull Shark, 7 Gill Cow Shark, and Ragged-Tooth Shark. I must say I’m a little disappointed in the fact that they didn’t dive with Tiger Sharks, since they are regarded as one of the top 3 sharks to attack people. So why they chose to dive with 7 Gills rather than Tigers, I have no idea, Maybe they had a time limit on the shoot which did not coincide with Tiger season… But yeah, that is a slight anti Climax. So after diving with all five species of Shark they came up with 7 “Red Flags”, which basically means that those 7 things are possible triggers for an attack. However on their 2 final dives i could not help but notice that 5 of the 7 ‘triggers’ got no reaction from the sharks….

What would have been nice is if they had actually made the effort to test those 7 Triggers again, and either confirm, or dismiss them. All tests took place at sea, and not near the beach (where most attacks are believed to take place), which I found rather strange. Surely it would have been interesting to test the triggers near the beach to see if a shark behaves any differently in shallow waters…. Another test which would have been nice to see is how sharks behave with feeding, so as to hopefully put the myth, that hand feeding sharks leads to attacks, to bed.

I am also rather disappointed that Mark Addison wasn’t featured more in the program, he was basically on camera for no more than 10 minutes. I think that Mark has a lot of knowledge about sharks, and they absolutely failed by not getting him to share some of that knowledge. But I have no doubt that the Producers, and Directors are to blame for that. It was nice to have Ryan Johnston sharing some insight into shark behaviour though.

Another thing I found frustrating, to say the least, is that in the middle of a sequence there will be a “Handy fact” that pops up at the bottom of the screen, so you either miss the “Fact” or you miss what’s happening during the sequence….. So if you don’t have a way of pausing while you watch, it is rather pointless, and let’s be honest, pausing a show 30 times just to read what’s on the screen becomes tedious.

So my final thoughts are that if you haven’t seen the show, you really haven’t missed anything. It’s not a bad show, but certainly not a life changer. It does however send a good message, that sharks aren’t out to get us, which is quite a fresh change for Nat Geo Shark shows. Basically, if you know about sharks, you won’t learn anything new. And if you know nothing about sharks, you’ll learn the basics. Over-all I have seen MUCH worse, but have also seen MUCH better, which is sad considering the people involved. But once again, I blame the Producers, and Directors for that.

So watch it, and let us know what you think about it.

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A Few months ago i was fortunate enough to win a Cage Dive with “White Shark Projects” in Kleinbaai, so i decided to go through to Cape Town for a spot of Scuba Diving as well. The weather proved to be rather opposed to the idea though, But I did manage to do a handful of dives, and to say it was Amazing would be an understatement.

Living in Johannesburg, i decided to make a road trip of it, I figured that for it to be a real road trip, I’d need to use one route there, and then a different route to get back home. Having never been down the West Coast of South Africa, that was the first choice. So into my car I leapt, diving gear loaded, energy drinks at the ready, my GPS set, and as Midnight struck off I went. According to the GPS it would be a 14 hr trip, but what the GPS did not know, was that 70% of the road was being upgraded, and that meant 23 “Stop, Start” Control point, and for those of you who don’t know what that is, you basically arrive at a control point, where all traffic going in one direction is stopped for anywhere between 15 to 30 minutes, as the cars coming from the opposite direction are given right of way, then vice versa. Needless to say, 19 hours later, when i stopped outside Ashanti Backpackers in Cape Town, I was buzzing from all the energy drinks i’d consumed. But the scenery i’d driven through was breath-taking to say the least, as I’m sure you’ll agree.

The Greater Karoo (Canon 60D)

Sunset Over the Cape Winelands (Canon 60D)

The next few days saw rough seas, (14ft swells) which basically meant no diving, Finally on the Friday i got the call I’d been waiting for “Hey, Paul, the sea’s are calmer, so let’s go get wet”. And wet is exactly what we got, the swells were still big, but not AS big as before. Our first dive was on “Pie Rock” Just off Millers Point, So i strapped on my brand new GoPro HD Hero 2, and rolled into the water. The Viz was incredible 15m+, and we were in for some amazing treats once we had descended, Lobsters, So many varieties of fish, i wouldn’t know where to start if i were to name them all, Several Cape Fur Seals playing around in our bubbles (One Female Seal even brought he Pup along for the game), and then we got to see the most amazing thing i had ever seen, Several Shy Sharks in the process of attaching their egg sacks to the soft coral on the rock… I was absolutely mesmerised, to such a degree that I completely lost track of time, and when I finally snapped out of it, and looked at my Air Pressure Gauge I was down to 20 Bar… A reality check to say the least.

We then went back to shore for a quick Bottle Change and pit stop before then heading to Pyramid Rock to dive with 7 Gill Cow Sharks. Once again the GoPro was strapped on, and down we went, this time the viz was not as hot, +/-8m, and it was bloody cold, 8 Degrees C. but all was forgotten the moment the first 7 Gill made its appearance, and that’s when all the fun started, we spotted 17 Sharks on that dive, and i even ended up in a rather awkward situation, with a Shark swimming along, it’s snout pushing against my butt in a rather concerning manner. an Hour later we were clambering aboard the dive boat, everyone filled with excitement, even those people who had dived Pyramid rock many times before. I could not wait to get back to Ashanti to go through all the Photographs and Video’s i’d captured on the GoPro. However, it turns out that the GoPro is not all it’s cracked up to be, the battery died within 35 minutes during the first dive, and due to the method of mounting, and the guess-work involved I caught absolutely nothing, the wide-angle lens also made everything appear so far away, that even if i had caught something, you wouldn’t be able to see it.

The next Morning saw an early start in Kleinbaai, with a meet and greet at the White Shark Projects office. Followed by a brilliant breakfast, and then off we went to board the Boat. A short boat ride later we found ourselves at the dive site, kited up and ready to enter the cage. This was my second Cage Dive, yet it still blew me away, the majesty of these creatures is truly memorizing, their confidence surrounds them, they are THE Apex Predator, and they know it too. Seeing them launch themselves out of the water in pursuit of the bait is awe-inspiring to say the least. I can honestly say that i could do that for a living and never get bored with it. There was one thing i noticed on the dive however which i found rather curious, Jelly Fish, tiny ones, but in their thousands, I asked a few of the locals back in Kleinbaai about them, and was told that this was the first year that they had seen jellyfish in those numbers, most years there are a handful at most, but nothing like I’d seen. Very strange indeed, and I just hope that it isn’t a sign of a negative change in the local eco system. I fortunately did manage to get a few photographs using the GoPro, but to say they are of pure quality would just be stating the obvious, check out the pics below

Great White Shark (GoPro HD Hero 2)

Great White Shark (GoPro HD Hero 2)

A Gull Escort (Canon 60D)

That night I had the honour of meeting a Photographer who spends 6 months each year in Kleinbaai, just photographing Sharks, and his Photographs truly are amazing. It also gave me the opportunity to hear some of the local gossip, like how a few days prior a seemingly healthy male Great WHite had washed Ashore on Dyer Island, with no signs of any wounds, How the Abalone Poachers are feared, and how ruthless they really are. As well as the views of the locals with regards to the recent “Research” conducted by Ocearch. It was interesting to say the least. And I honestly cannot wait to get a chance to go back again.

So if you’d like to do some epic Diving in Cape Town, contact Pisces Divers, and if you want to Cage Dive with a fantastic company, be sure to contact White Shark Projects