These Sharks Don't Look Fake.
October 21, 2007 4:27 PM   Subscribe

Christ that thing is was big.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 5:47 PM on October 21, 2007

Can't sleep, sharks will eat me. Can't sleep, sharks will eat me.

(anyone know what that song was in the first link?)
posted by tristeza at 6:01 PM on October 21, 2007

tristeza, Massive Attack - Angel
posted by Loser at 6:29 PM on October 21, 2007 [1 favorite]

I'm concerned that there's too much of this "eco-adventure" stuff going on with these animals. We don't have a clear idea of how many there are, and what their migration patterns are, or even a clear notion of their behavior patterns.

We may be "taming" a dangerous large predator, like bears in national parks before the rules not to feed or interact with the wildlife. In the bear's case, this caused them to lose their fear of humans and to make a menace of themselves, altering their behavior until they were a danger to people and their own survival.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:32 PM on October 21, 2007 [3 favorites]

Or feeding marshmallows to alligators in Florida who wind up eating poodles, Slap*Happy.

But in any case, my heart sped up watching this. Sharks approaching always gets me turned when I spot them. In fact, I have to consciously calm that response because it''s what gets sharks tuned in! I love 'em so much it's difficult to keep cool when I am in the water with any, but what I do is switch on "the snorkel mind." It's like a zen practice.

BTW, as I have said, before, if you are really into sharks and ecology, see my colleague Rob Stewart's flim, Sharkwater.
posted by humannaire at 7:14 PM on October 21, 2007

Not sure if I agree with the concept of 'chumming' the water in order to attract and excite these sharks. Great Whites would seem to be pretty intelligent creatures - they don't seek out and eat humans, so there's nothing to be afraid of. The problem is, they test out things with their teeth, which are outfitted with a set of nerves that allow the sharks to taste and actually feel potential prey. And one test bite is enough to do a lot of damage.

I agree with Slap*Happy: we should try to leave these animals alone.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:19 PM on October 21, 2007

thanks, Loser!
posted by tristeza at 8:18 PM on October 21, 2007

Thanks for this, Effigy2000.

humannaire: I was just going to mention Sharkwater. Extraordinary underwater footage--especially that last scene, where Rob lowers his heart rate so as not to spook the sharks, and he's swimming amongst them wearing only mask, snorkel, and Speedo. Totally amazing.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 9:31 PM on October 21, 2007

Yup - leave 'em alone.

thanks for listening
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:25 PM on October 21, 2007

Aren't there some snakes around here you could be vilifying instead?

To be honest, that first video made me kind of sad. It reminded me of some 19th Century traveling circus where you could FEAST YOUR EYES ON THE TERRIFYING MAN-EATER! Five cents, please.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 10:55 PM on October 21, 2007

What I wouldn't do to be in that cage.

I understand all these issues are there. However, to be that close to a great white shark would be the biggest moment in my life so far.
posted by Brainy at 5:19 AM on October 22, 2007

I just last month went cage diving with White Shark Projects off the coast of Gansbaai, South Africa (photo set is on my flickr page - in profile - if anyone's interested).

I have wanted to see these incredible animals up close my entire life, and while I feel that some of the above posters have some valid concerns regarding "taming" these beasts, I believe that with some casual research one will find that such a perspective is largely reactionary and misinformed. I know this because I did research these companies (and the industry in general) before deciding to support one of them with my business.

While there are those who are probably out there purely for financial gain at the shark's expense, the outfits we looked at, and particularly the one we went with, all have a deep respect and concern for the well-being of these sharks - many of them, in fact, were involved with creating the legislation back in 1991 that got the species protected here in SA in the first place.

As these companies are quick to point out, there is no concrete evidence to suggest that chumming / shark-viewing has lead to an increase in attacks on humans. These outfits have traditionally gone out to where the sharks are located, rather than chumming in more convenient areas, and claims that they've led the sharks closer to shore are also inaccurate - many times the sharks go there of their own accord to be in the warmer shallow waters.

The fact of the matter, as previously stated, is that we do know precious little about these creatures. No one seems to ask the question of why that is, but I believe its because of a lack of funding. Do a little googling around for shark conservation / research and you'll quickly run into information about a number of organizations that had to shut down for lack of funding. There's just not a lot of money being put towards learning about the Great Whites.

Frankly, I think responsible, thoughtful cage dive operators are the best thing the sharks have going for them, from a human perspective. They are increasing the public's awareness and knowledge of these creatures, and their income helps support the research and conservation efforts they are involved with. I know from my perspective I'm much more interested in the topic at large and how to support conservation and studies in the future, now that I've been face to face with the beasts.

Claiming that the cage dive operations are bad for the sharks is a bit ironic, in my book. They're the only ones actually doing anything to help.
posted by allkindsoftime at 6:06 AM on October 22, 2007

Aussie woman fends off Great White with paddle

That's one gutsie sheila
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:37 AM on October 22, 2007

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