Sharks

Stuart Cove's Being Bad by Felix Leander

We have come to expect more from Stuart Cove's - particularly when it comes to shark encounters and the handling of the animals...or maybe not.  The video titled "Hammerhead shark tries to attack diver" shows a Stuart Cove's shark wrangler clearly teasing and antagonizing a Great Hammerhead with a piece of fish.  He goes on to give the guests a "show" by grabbing on to the shark's head multiple times further exciting her with the fish.  Circus and rodeo come to mind...

Whatever happened to keeping things simple.

Great Hammerhead Shark - keeping it simple.  Image by Wolfgang Leander, 2007

And while no one was hurt - once again the shark is made to look like the villain, just one example - the video is featured on Yahoo with the following description: 

"A dramatic video has emerged of a hammerhead shark trying to attack a diver in the Bahamas. In the footage, captured during a scuba diving trip in the Bimini Atoll in late January, the shark can be seen circling a diver before lunging forwards several times. Fortunately, the experienced diver was able to push the shark away and survived the experience without any injuries."

The description is completely laughable as is the "experienced" diver.

For more details on the story you can read Mike and Martin's blogs.

Stuart Cove's has been quick to criticize other dive operators for not adhering to high standards - it's time they look at their own.

William Winram The Watermen Project by Felix Leander

William Winram freediving with South African Tiger Shark.  Image by: Felix Leander

William Winram has been around for a while in the freediving world and over time (last six years) he has been reinventing himself and using his skill set to positively impact the ocean through education, setting up a foundation, speaking engagements, photography among others - oh and by the way he is still setting freediving world records.  

Good for him - I met Will in South Africa in 2008 while freediving Aliwal Shoal - at the very start of his transformation.  I have been following his adventures ever since - his projects have lead him from Mexico (tagging white sharks) to the Bahamas (tagging great hammerhead sharks). William is genuinely a nice guy and great to be around - his heart, mind, and soul are in the right place.

The Watermen Project is a NGO founded by William that is centered around "to be involved with any activity aiming at marine conservation. Our NPO therefore actively contributes to scientific and empiric research whereby the goal is to study the marine environment in order to protect and conserve it. More specifically, any activity aiming at protecting large marine species such as sharks, whales, etc. " - complete mission statement and goal.  Most of the work at the moment seems to be centered around scientific expeditions / helping the scientific community tagging sharks.

Will is currently in Bimini tagging hammerheads, hanging out with Richard Branson, and he finally had the opportunity to meet Doc.  Keep up with Will on Twitter or Instagram

William Winram  Image by: Laurent Egli

Tiger Shark Research by Felix Leander

The RJ Dunlap Marine Conservation Program is conducting research on tiger sharks in The Bahamas (particularly Tiger Beach) to study their movement patterns and reproduction.  The study is looking to answer several questions including:

  • Are tiger sharks using TB as a mating ground, feeding area or gestation ground? If not, where are these critical areas?

  • What are the overall residency patterns of sharks within TB?
  • Does dive tourism affect tiger shark behavior and movements at TB? If so, how?
  • How much movement is there in and out of TB? What are the migrations patterns of tiger sharks in the subtropical Atlantic?
  • How much time are tiger sharks remaining in the Bahamas Shark Sanctuary? If they move out the Sanctuary, where and when are the sharks most vulnerable to fishing exploitation?
  • How are shark movement patterns influenced by their body condition and health?

The research is being led by Neil Hammerschlag and his team.  It will be extremely interesting what the results will yield, particularly if shark diving tourism in the area has an effect on the sharks.  Many have theories - but none have been proven.

For more information visit University of Miami's website - and find out about all the other projects that the University is working on.

Tiger Shark at Tiger Beach, Bahamas.  Photo by Wolfgang Leander (2009)