Friday, September 30, 2011

Is Junior back in Town?

Howz Junior gonna look: still like this?
...or again like this?

Quite possibly!
The sat tag got connectivity issues but according to Michael Domeier, the Sea Surface Temperatures indicate that two years after the foul hooking and one year after the re-sighting and a second loop through the SOFA, the literally and figuratively much abused Junior may indeed be back in central California!
Not bad for a Shark suffering from a, what was it again, compromised caloric equation - and yes, I’ve re-read the various threads and lemme tell ’ya, it has been painful!

Will he be re-sighted?
Maybe even by the same Scot Anderson and Sal Jorgensen from the TOPP labs who filmed him the last time and whose video was then shared? And if so, will they and/or Stanford and Monterey Bay Aquarium and/or the GFNMS share any ensuing evidence, and this regardless of its nature?
Or may he be spotted by one of the two operators in the Farallones?

And what about the, and I cite
ruptured and infected tumorous trauma that is necrotizing the musculature of the upper right (starboard) mandibular/palatal quadrate, this according to the undoubtedly infallible verdict by somebody who has a fair bit (no pun) of experience regarding both white shark predation and scarification and markings diagnostics and predatory forensics?
Has the injury tumorized and necrotized further - or may it now look like any other painfully trivial healed Shark bite on a painfully trivial healthy looking Great White?

Bruce before and after

And, may we be headed straight towards a new round of accusations, name-calling and ad hominem attacks, first against Domeier and the methods he uses to tag sharks, and (then) between commenters?

Questions questions! :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011


I just noticed that I've completely missed post number 1000!

That happened more than a week ago!
So, belatedly, congratulations to us for having persevered and a big Vinaka Vakalevu to our faithful readers for their patience and continued interest!
Lemme tell 'ya, it has been loads of fun!

And, there's more to come!
Keep watching this space for your daily fix of conservation, science and unabashed marketing!
And for plenty more toothy rants - and that's a promise! :)

PS thanks Patric! :)

PETA: Idiots!

Well, gee, thank you PETA.
It sure is a strange day where I find myself in the same camp as Billy Goldschmitt, although certainly not for the same reasons. This is exactly why so many people think that conservationists are nothing but a bunch of extremists and lunatics!

Speaking of which: let's go burn some billboards!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awesome Video by David!

David has posted a private Video.
It is only available to members of his mailing list and lemme tell 'ya, you don't wanna miss it!
More details here.

You can join the mailing list here.
Do it!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Surprise Surprise!

What may be in this mysterious package?
More as events unfold.

Mexico - the killing continues!

More Bulls have been killed in Cancun.
The pic above is from yesterday and as Joel Gonzalez Chiñas of Scuba Cancun comments, no se puede hacer nada, ellos tienen sus permisos de pesca y no esta prohibido (aun) sacar tiburon.
The announced Shark fishing moratorium cannot come soon enough.

The enforcement? Meh.
Case in point, there has been a huge seizure by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department game wardens right off South Padre Island.

"We have here probably two to three miles of gill net that was placed in our waters about four miles north of the Mexico border right off the beach," Sgt. Dunks said. "Unbelievable amount of sharks anywhere between two and three thousand black tips, bonnet heads and sharp nose shark in here right now."

Check it out - all babies.
What a waste!

The Mexican nationals that set the illegal net in Texas waters were not captured.
"It is all we can do," Sgt. Dunks said. "They get over here in a matter of two minutes and be back in Mexico in a matter of two minutes…The guys we have caught in the past have flat told us that there are no more fish over there and that is why they are coming over here."

If the US authorities cannot tackle this, what about the Mexican ones.
But, it will be a beginning - especially in Cancun and Playa where the dive ops will be undoubtedly watching!

Once again, and by now rather unsurprisingly: big kudos to Pew!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Fiji Times - more pro-Shark media!

Another brilliant pic from Timbo's latest crop - click for detail!

Bravo Fiji Times!
When they announced that they were partnering with CORAL and Pew in advocating the protection of Sharks, they really did mean it!

This latest article highlights the connection to Hong Kong.
Fiji has recently become an important turntable for Shark fins that are shipped here from as far as Vanuatu and Kiribas and then shipped on to Asia, this to the tune of, I hear, more than 100 metric tons per year.
That's a whole lotta Sharks!

Hence the importance of the Fiji legislation.
If it comes to be, it will not only preserve Fiji's natural resources but even contribute to maintaining a healthy balance in the waters of our neighbors, far and near.
Fingers crossed!

Shark on Shark - amazing!

Galapagos Shark vs Whale Shark - click for detail. Pic by Ron Hunter.

Check this out!
Ron Hunter, the big boss of Dive Forster has sent it as part of one of his trip reports. Taken in May of this year in Socorro, it depicts a Galapagos Shark rubbing itself against a large Whale Shark. I've seen a whole host of pelagic Fishes rubbing themselves against Sharks, but never anything like this - amazing!

Dive Forster will be diving with us again next February.
These trips are special insofar as they will consist in a proper Shark Week where we'll dive with the Sharks every day and where participants can experience a PADI Shark Awareness course conducted by group leader David Hinshelwood.
You can read a glowing report of one of their previous visits here.

So, what are you waiting for!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Action Alert - Shark Defenders Petition!

This is gonna be interesting!
Shark Defenders have caught on to We the People, a new initiative by the Obama Administration and launched a petition against the sale, trade, and possession of shark and shark products. If the petition attracts 5,000 signatures within 30 days, the White House will respond.

I've looked at the Terms of Reference and have not found whether only Americans can participate. Logic would dictate that to be the case - but then again, since when has logic ever dictated anything coming out of Washington, DC!

Anyway, great idea by Shark Defenders to give it a try!
The petition is here and I invite our American readers to go and sign. I have no doubt that the threshold will be reached in no time at all - and I'm very much looking forward to seeing how the White House staff will respond to it!

Will it trigger new legislation?
Not a chance - but, it will trigger a response and put the issue on the table, at least for a little while. And, it's always good to challenge one's government, as in little strokes fell big oaks.

The 30-day deadline expires on October 22, 2011.

Thank You Sean Paxton!

Underwater Thrills alerts me to this op ed by Sean Paxton.
Please, do read it.

I must say, once again, I am impressed.
Like Guy Harvey, Sean and (Shark) brother Brooks are prominent and well regarded representatives of the recreational fishing guild and having people like them speak out in favor of Shark conservation is highly gratifying indeed. All these gentlemen have a proven track record of advocating and above all, implementing pragmatic and consensus based solutions like the Shark Free Marina Initiative and the Guy Harvey Ultimate Shark Challenge and having them on our side is simply priceless.

I was particularly intrigued by the reference to IGFA.
Whereas they have been brilliant in advocating tag & release for Billfishes, they remain equally appalling when it comes to Sharks. Certifying all-tackle weigh records for Sharks means that the trophy hunters will continue to specifically target the heaviest, biggest individuals which in the case of Sharks will always be pregnant females. Can you imagine a hunter willfully shooting a pregnant animal? Unthinkable! It's high time the IGFA took a stand against this wasteful, antiquated and ethically reproachful practice by introducing length records and advocating catch&release - and yes I'm repeating myself!
Many species will give birth in specific coastal locations, meaning that informed trophy hunters know exactly where and when to target them. The Florida legislation will be a great step forward in preventing just that.

Anyway, Kudos and Thank You to Sean!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


The October issue of Tauchen features an article about Shark feeding - and of course, the man with the yellow hood is none other than our unequaled Rusi. This is but one of many great pics from MPO's latest visit to Shark Reef.

Haifütterungen - das große Fressen!

Was verbirgt sich hinter Haifütterungen?
Gefährliche Geldmacherei oder sinnvolle Naturerlebnisse? Wir stellen die Pro- und Kontraseite gegenüber und geben Tipps, wie man für Sicherheit bei diesen Adrenalin-Tauchgängen sorgen kann und wo man seriöse Veranstalter findet.

More as I can get my hands on the magazine.
I must confess, I am rather wary as in my experience, many Germans divers are adamantly opposed to Shark feeds, and this in a particularly judgmental and ill informed manner - very much also courtesy of the token whacknut.
Fingers crossed that this is gonna be different!

Pilfering Whale Sharks!

Scrambling for a snack - stellar pic by Michael Aw

Timbo just told me that he's leading a trip to Biak.
Apparently, there's a gaggle of tame Whale Sharks that are being fed (Anathema!) Fish scraps by local fishermen. I was initially highly skeptical as I've always considered them to be particularly dumb - but having gone searching, I found a whole plethora of reports confirming the fact, among which a nice Nat Geo feature by Michael from where I've pilfered the above pic, another one by Burt Jones and Maurine Shimlock and a trip report by a a couple of everyday travelers.
Long story short, I stand corrected - as so often!

And here's a nice video of this amazing behavior.

And here's another one!

Florida - getting there!

It's a slow day in Paradise so I have time to catch up on developments.

It very much looks like the Florida legislation is well on its way.
It will not curtail the commercial Shark fishery that is principally happening in federal waters. But, it's a great step towards protecting those large pregnant females that come to the coast to give birth where they will continue to be targeted by the trophy hunters as long as the IGFA keeps certifying those disgraceful all-tackle weight records. And, it may well limit some of the slaughter perpetrated by the likes of Mark the Shark.

Incidentally, I was happy to see the above picture.
Those two big guys in the center are the Shark Brothers and it is vital to have well regarded recreational fishermen like them come and testify in favor of the Sharks, which they always do. Kudos and thank you!
I'm a game fisherman myself but personally, I do not like targeting Sharks as it is way too easy, and I particularly dislike land based Shark fishing (and am wary of shore fishing in general) where the animals need to be fought hard, exhausted and dragged all the way to the shore - this on top of other issues that are enumerated in this eloquent petition text. I fully concur!
But a lot of people do, and having the Shark Brothers trying to reform Shark fishing by advocating catch and release (and links!) certainly helps bring about real, tangible improvements. In that context, please read this post that I found excellent indeed.

So here's to a positive outcome of the legislative process!
This is not a done deal quite yet, so please do follow the recommendations by Shark Savers and if you live in Florida, do go to the final public hearing in November!
Thank you!

Howard Hall: Sharks of Fiji!

SRMR last week - still busy but many Bulls are pregnant and are going to leave soon.

I just stumbled across the following.
Most of it is footage from 2002 when Howard and Michele re-visited Shark Reef after filming Coral Reef Adventure. This is thus pre-BAD and pre-SRMR which both happened in 2004.
Howard was on rebreather, hence many scenes are featuring the drop-off past the Arena. From what I can discern, the nosy Tiger Shark is notorious wrecking ball Adi. The rather spooked lady is Michele - here is her recollection of the event.
Other than that, you can spot Whitetail on 00:25, Joker on 00:35, Crook on 00:53 and a much younger Granma on 00:43. Very interesting to find out that they were already there before I started naming and monitoring them in 2003!


Monday, September 19, 2011

Track your Tiger Shark!

This is way cool!
Gary alerts me to Mahmood's real time Tiger Shark tracks and I am deeply impressed!

From the website.
To understand tiger shark movement behavior in more detail and aid in conservation efforts, the Guy Harvey Research Institute/Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and their project partners are investigating tiger shark movements in the western and central North Atlantic Ocean in long-term studies based out of Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Cayman Islands and the US Virgin Islands.

The sharks’ movements are being studied by employing three types of electronic tagging technology that provide complementary information – acoustic tags whose signals are detected by strategically positioned, underwater listening devices (receivers), and two types of satellite tags that relay information on where the tiger shark is and/or its depth in the ocean.

This is a continuation of these studies.
Once again, Tigers are being shown to be highly versatile not only in their diet but also with regards to the habitats they frequent, from coastal to very much pelagic. Also, they are by no means resident but can engage in very wide ranging migrations, this possibly associated with opportunities for predation. Interestingly, this does not appear to be a uniform pattern but rather, it appears that different individuals engage in completely different behavior. As an example, check out the Grand Bahama page and you will see that whereas Nikole and Christina prefer to stay close to the coast, Jamin appears to be way more adventurous - this very much like the Bermuda Tigers that are true pelagic wanderers that visit seasonal hot spots.

Please explore the site and the tracks.
I particularly liked the animated tracks as they feature a running time log which does a great job in depicting time spent in an area or distances traveled.


Sunday, September 18, 2011

Aliwal Shoal - What has happened to the Tigers?

Aliwal Shoal Tiger and diver, by DaWolf - a thing of the past? Notice the Blacktips in the background.

I must say, when it comes to SA, I remain of two minds.
Having been a staunch anti-apartheid advocate, I was overjoyed when the despicable regime finally disappeared. Mandela transcends positive attributes but then came the pathetic Mbeki - and Zuma, let alone Malema are frankly a disgrace and cause for grave concern.
When it comes to conservation, there is of course the brilliant terrestrial track record that on top of preserving vital unique habitat is contributing millions in tourism income. On the marine and especially, sharky side of things, not really impressed. There's certainly a lot of research, some of which is rather impressive; but when it comes to getting those Sharks protected, I see ALOT of self congratulatory media by the various bikini models, artists, sharktivists and whatnot - but in terms of having achieved tangible results?

The Shark diving Industry?
SA's Shark diving has been developed and very much put on the map by visionary, and probably equally crazy icons like Andre Hartman, and the legacy is being continued by excellent people like Mike Rutzen or Chris Fallows for whom I have nothing but the greatest respect. Other people, not so much - but such is the Industry everywhere, tribal and petty! Plus, news like these are of grave concern as such banana republic shenanigans will come at the direct expense of safety and reputation, and I'll leave it at that.

Anyway, I'm digressing as usual.
Why I'm writing this post is that this has piqued my interest.
Apparently, way less Tiger Sharks show up on the Aliwal Shoal dives. Apparently, the reason for this are poaching for trophies - and the highly controversial Shark nets.
This stuff: antiquated, ineffective, unselective, an ecological crime that needs to be stopped.

But is that the most plausible explanation?
Firstly, has anybody checked the data? Has anybody taken the time to go and corroborate those reports by talking to the KZNSB, by looking at fisheries data and by following up on the poaching allegations?

Secondly, Wolfgang reports that
The dive reports I received lately are alarming: Very few tiger sharks sightings, and the tigers don't stay, making one or two brief passes only to leave the scene altogether.

Sharks including Tigers don't like to approach people and that's why the dedicated Shark diving operators attract them with bait. In Aliwal Shoal, this is now thankfully done with ZIBS, a Shark friendly implement that is however not dispensing any food. Thus the Sharks are being teased in and then waste time and energy that could be spent on productive hunting, which is however not the topic here.
The topic is that this could well lead to negative reinforcement whereby individual Sharks wise up to the fact that they're being cheated and learn to avoid that situation.
And then, there are the notorious swarms of Shark hugging bimbettes and intrepid freedivers abusing the Sharks as underwater scooters: do you really believe that those disrespectful stupidities are in any way conducive to those animals ever wanting to come back?

Which brings be straight over to the following.
In my experience, Tigers are rather placid (and incredibly determined!) and just want to do their thing in peace without being harassed.
Juerg has been here for a lightning fast go-see and informs me that his next paper is about to get published. In it, among other topics, he documents how other Shark species have reacted to the stupendous increase in our population of Bull Sharks that has culminated in our sighting of approx 100 individuals this June - and counting, next year there will be more!
I don't want to pre-empt his conclusions but one of the results will be that we're seeing less Tiger Sharks. From my personal observations, this is because they just cannot be bothered to come and join the fray in order to compete with the Bulls - this the more as the Bulls are clearly not intimidated and on the contrary, have even been observed to shoulder away the Tigers when getting to the bait!
Talk about a total lack of respect!

And then,there's the famous Shark Rodeo in Walker's Cay.
As far as I know, only a very few of the famous Bulls bothered to ever turn up at the chumsicle and when they did, they made one or two brief passes only to leave the scene altogether. Tigers, a big fat zero - and this despite being frequently sighted in the vicinity, despite of the yummy fish smell and despite of the massive commotion caused by the Caribbean Reefs and especially, the Blacktips!

Or maybe because of it!
Blacktips are your quintessential asshole Shark: lightening fast, frisky, in-your-face assertive and unpredictable - certainly nobody any self respecting Tiger Shark would ever want to be associated with, especially if they came in packs!

May it be that the exact same is happening in Aliwal Shoal?
May there have been an increase in Blacktips? May there be some correlation between that increase and the decrease in Tiger Shark sightings? May Tiger Shark diving in Aliwal Shoal have become the victim of its own popularity - among humans but above all, among Blacktip Sharks?
Some form of interspecific exclusion, competitive or not?

Yes I'm clearly speculating - but has anybody looked into it?
Thing is, I fully support Wolfgang's cry for better coordination and better Shark protection in SA - tho I fear that achieving any degree of co-ordination, let alone cooperation will be difficult (...) and that in view of the current banana republic shenanigans, few operators will have the guts to speak up against the inept Government policies. But, as always, all should happen based on factual data - and when it comes to those Tiger Sharks, I'm not that sure.

And since we're at it:
Tiger Beach? Feisty Lemons vs placid Tigers?
Questions questions... :)

A Liter of Light - Brilliant!

Check this out!

Isang Litrong Liwanag (A Liter of Light), is a sustainable lighting project which aims to bring the eco-friendly Solar Bottle Bulb to dis-privileged communities nationwide. Designed and developed by students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), the Solar Bottle Bulb is based on the principles of Appropriate Technologies – a concept that provides simple and easily replicable technologies that address basic needs in developing communities.
There's a website and there's also a Facebook page.
And here's another video explaining the concept.

And here are the instructions.
Any dark houses in Fiji requiring lighting - at zero incremental power bill?

Plz click for detail.

Simply brilliant - in every sense of the word!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Granma - ageing gracefully!

Timbo is in town for a quick stop-over on the way to Tonga.
He has just sent me a selection of today's crop, among which this lovely portrait of our unequaled Granma.

She is without a doubt my favorite Bull Shark.
She is absolutely huge, probably very old and carries a whole array of battle scars that make her look quite intimidating to anybody meeting her for the first time.

In fact, she's the sweetest Shark around.
Different Sharks have a bond to different feeders, and this is clearly one of Rusi's special friends.

Granma in 2005, enormous and assertive - EPIC pic by MPO!

She and I have first met in 2003, after which she has remained an infrequent but regular visitor and during those years, I've witnessed several pregnancies and the gradual aging process taking its toll on her vitality, to the point where nowadays, she has become quite slow and circumspect - but she remains very very friendly and really, quite endearing!
Over the years, she has gradually developed a growth around her right eye that has progressively restricted her vision. We believe that today, that eye is completely blind, and she is thus the only Bull that is allowed to approach the feeder from the right.

2011- probably blind. Please click for detail

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about our Grand Old Lady.
May she be with us for many more years to come!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Great Testimony by Matt!

Oldie but goodie - Whitetail the Sicklefin Lemon by Michael Aw.

From the Pew Environment Group's website.

Matt Rand, director of the Pew Environment Group's Global Shark Conservation campaign, provided testimony for a public hearing on sharks protection led by the Marshall Islands Senate Committee on Resources and Development. He discussed the importance of protecting sharks, explained the basic components of shark sanctuaries and congratulated the Republic of the Marshall Islands for considering the creation of the world's fifth shark sanctuary.

Here's the testimony.
This is once again as good as it gets, factual, exhaustive, compelling - required reading for anybody wanting to advocate pragmatic and science-based Shark conservation away from the usual hyperbole and moronic pseudoscientific drivel. See any reference to the Ocean's oxygen production?
Very well done indeed!

I had to laugh when I saw
The growing demand for the Asian delicacy, shark fin soup, has led to the killing of up to 73 million sharks a year. That number again! Not totally wrong but you may want to re-read this - nobody knows what led to the killing of those Sharks! Detail detail!
Getting there though! :)

I was particularly impressed to read that
Pew would be interested in working with you on (1) educational, (2) enforcement and (3) research needs. We have been talking to the Marshall Islands Conservation Society at the national level and the Micronesia Conservation Trust at the regional level on how we might be of help in these areas.
Totally right down my alley!

Anyway, great that the Marshalls are considering the sanctuary.
And great that good people like Stefanie, Sen. Hee and Pew are there to provide for assistance as and where requested!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Human planet: Oceans!

Aboriginal artisanal Whale hunt in Lamalera - click for details.
They've done it again!
The BBC continues to show the world how to do epic nature programming, with stunning visuals, brilliant editing and great voice-overs - and always beholden to showing things as they are, as opposed to making things up like Discovery Channel.

Case in point: this trailer of Human Planet.
For me, this really is as good as it gets.

I went searching and found the following.
It is Episode 1: Oceans – Into the Blue, surely uploaded without permission - so lean back, relax and enjoy it whilst it lasts.
Wonderful, captivating stuff!

And here's one about catching Greenland Sharks.
Remember? Same topic - but what a difference to that horrible crap!

The Shark Men of Fiji!

Heidi's interpretation of Dakuwaqa - who incidentally happens to be associated with the Whitetip Reef Shark!

We had the great pleasure of hosting fellow Shark advocate and Shark photographer Heidi DeRosa, and Daniel Navabpour - and this is what came from it.

As Heidi writes,
Don't get too crazy thinking we're making shark porn here.
This was Dan's first trip of this kind i.e. with lots of big sharks feeding. Also his first time using the Go Pro, or any video camera, and with no flat port, at 30m, and no editing software. And I may add: with no preferential treatment, he was asked to sit in the back with all the other clients!
Since we got home, he dove into creating this video and I gave him some stills to use. Still haven't gone through all my images but I pulled a few to insert into the video.

I say, pretty bloody awesome!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Marshalls Next?

Flag of the Marshall Islands - symbolism here.

Great to see this article!
Having seen the reference to Hawaii's Clayton Hee, I went snooping on the Shark Allies and Pacific Shark Initiative website and lo and behold, found these details. As expected, Stefanie is in the thick of it like she was in Guam and the CNMI - remember?

Any skinny guys in speedos?
Thankfully not - yet! As Shark Allies remark,
They (= some amazing Shark conservationists) may have been invisible (because they don’t have the time to talk about their accomplishments) while others may have been receiving just a bit too much credit based on little more than their name.
Its not always fair.

So here's to Senator Hee and above all, to Stefanie Brendl.
Whilst others bullshit and self promote, she keeps fighting for the Sharks, with tenacity, intelligence and I hear also a big portion of charm - and quietly!

If you want to get to know a bit more about the person, look no further than Shark Allies TV .
Here's Episode 1.

Thank you Stef!
And of course, here's to the Marshall Islands!

Hat tip: Rick - you know why buddy! :)

Good Post!

Blue Shark, apparently still regularly sighted around the Azores. Pic Justin Hart.

From this piece by tharu1.
The (California) ban is still good legislation because it removes the incentive to kill sharks in pelagic longline fisheries. These species do not face biological extinction, but sustainable population numbers are important to maintain the ecological balance of the pelagic realm.

Case in point, the quasi extinct Blues off California.
As Scott Cassell opinionates, the disappearance of those Sharks may well be one of the causes of the recent upsurge in Humboldt Squid. Dunno if anybody is looking into this scientifically but the correlation is certainly plausible. Read this for correlations to the El Niño and its effects on the North Pacific Hake fishery.
Time for some giant calamari - recipe here!

Oldie but goodie here!

Anyway, nice to see a voice of reason away from the usual hyperbole!

Thursday, September 08, 2011


Proudly sailing towards the manu!

Tokelau has declared its EEZ a Shark Sanctuary.
Once again, this is a fabulous achievement by the excellent Shark campaign of Pew.

I find this particularly interesting for two reasons.
Firstly, because this is a Territory of New Zealand - where to this day, the finning of (dead) Sharks remains perfectly legal! How many more small Pacific island states need to show how to do it, before the oh so condescending Kiwis and Aussies start cleaning up their act?
For Shame, indeed!

Secondly, because Tokelau is piss poor.
It has the world's smallest GDP and will never, ever be able to pay for the enforcement of the ban. Here's where Pew is completely right in advocating regional sanctuaries where the island states can help each other. It also just so happens that many of the Shark fins harvested in Tokelau end up being landed in Fiji, from where they are sent to Hong Kong. Once Fiji declares its own Sanctuary, that route will be shut.
Hopefully - fingers crossed!

Anyway, this is a good day for Sharks! :)

Fiji is the Winner!

Rusi and Naughtylus, by Lill.

Congratulations to Laura Krause.
Her video The Sight and Sound of Fiji has just won the 2011 Underwater Journal Video Contest.

Recognize anybody?
Yes the man with the yellow hood is of course our Rusi handing out juicy tidbits to his friends!


Monday, September 05, 2011

Step one completed!

I must say, we're mighty proud!
Yes, we've finally done it, and this exactly one year after setting out - we are now completely carbon neutral!

May we be the world's first carbon neutral dive shop?
Dunno and frankly, don't care. The important aspect is that we've not done this by purchasing anonymous and thus suspect carbon offsets, but that we have been an integral part of the process by sponsoring the restoration of Mangrove forests, a vital and endangered marine habitat in close cooperation with Fijian grassroots organizations, villages and Government departments.
Mangroves may well be the world's best biosequester and whilst the blue carbon movement appears to be engaging in the usual games of meetings tourism, committees and working groups, we've gone ahead and shown that the job can be done with zero bureaucracy and zero squandering of money, but lots of personal initiative and dedication instead.
Like our Fiji Shark Project, our latest initiative is yet again an example of how business interests and conservation can co-operate to create results where all the parties benefit.

Yes as usual it has been quite a Process!
BUT - our tally now stands proudly at 33 hectares or 330,000 Mangrove trees that are being counted in the 1 million trees campaign and also represent our personal, hands-on contribution to Fiji's involvement in the International Year of Forests.

We have already embarked on step two, and that is to offset the carbon footprint our clients generate by traveling to Fiji!
Yes if you fly to Fiji to dive with us, we will offset you carbon footprint by sponsoring the planting of Mangroves on your behalf - at no additional cost to you!

So, what are you waiting for! :)

Gut gebrüllt Löwe!

Well, here's to Wolfgang - again!
The unverwüstliche doyen of cantankerous Shark conservation (I might be peeling the paint off buildings but in keeping with the same analogy, when he gets going, he flattens whole house blocks!) has given an interview and I must say, it is as good as it gets.
As usual!

Really, nothing to add to what I wrote here.
Except that as time goes by, our friendship keeps growing. We're finally gonna meet again this November and I already know that it's gonna be the highlight of this year's trip to DEMA.

Anyway, again, this is not a laudatio.
Legendary as X-RayMag is calls him will suffice.

Machetjut Alter!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Video by Hugh!

Hugh and David in one of our Mangrove restoration sites.

Cool stuff!
This is a small showreel of Hugh's Fiji footage for David's Of Man and Shark. Hugh Fairs is an accomplished underwater shooter with a lifetime of experience, and a real great guy on top of that. You may not know it but you've seen quite a bit of his work recently, this largely thanks to his development of the REDSEE housing allowing for super slo-mo captures underwater.

The technical aspects?
This was shot on a Canon D7 in a Nauticam housing and although extremely well shot, I must say that technically, I'm not at all convinced. Yes it's full 1080p and the camera's sensor is impressive, as is the housing: but this is still nothing more than a prosumer hybrid rig with limited functionality compared to a truly dedicated HD camcorder, and the results show. Having now seen quite a bit of D7 footage from Shark Reef, the limited image correction options and the white outs are rather glaring and will require quite a lot of hard work in post. Certainly nothing the BBC would ever remotely consider accepting for their programs!
Having said that, it's a great rig for traveling and if it's for shooting a nice hi quality home video, go for it! And, it's a GREAT stills camera!

Anyway, I'm digressing as usual.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Onward and Upward!

Behold Beqa Island Trips!
Yes the website needs alot more work, but we have finally opened our second office at the Pearl South Pacific and as of September 1st, we are running trips to Beqa Lagoon. Once again, our newest ecotourism venture originates with our wish to provide for sustainable livelihoods in cooperation with local stakeholders at the grassroots level.

Our flagship product is Beqa Magic.
This trip takes our customers to Lawaki Beach House on Beqa Island for a day of cultural immersion and marine ecotourism.
The resort is located on the fringes of Naceva Village and sister village Naiseuseu who have reserved a substantial portion of their qoliqoli, or traditional fishing grounds for a Marine Protected Area, for which they will now be able to collect a marine park levy like the one for accessing the SRMR. Much like she has done in Waitabu Marine Park, our friend Helen Sykes of Marine Ecology Consulting has graciously donated her time to train several village youth as snorkeling guides who will take the guests around the MPA and earn an income in the process. Nani has worked with the community who will sell local handicrafts and perform the traditional Fijian meke, whereas Lawaki will serve a delicious lovo and copious amounts of Beqa kava. Like in the SRMR, preserving and defending the MPA will henceforth always generate more income than going fishing there.
I must say, we're mighty proud of this venture and really want to thank the villages, Helen but also Christine and Sam of Lawaki for their wonderful cooperation in making this happen!
Vinaka Vakalevu!

Yanuca Beachcomber is a typical beach picnic & BBQ.
It takes our guests to the pristine beach of Batiluva Beach Resort on Yanuca Island and is ideal for families and the Suva weekend crowd.

Finally, a big thank you to the Uprising family!
The MV Forty Freedom is theirs and trusting us to run her is a testament to years of excellent cooperation and personal friendship.
Vinaka, you shall not be disappointed!

Please click to enlarge.