Monday, 6 December 2010

Egyptian shark attacks - Part II




In the wake of the fatality in Egypt on Saturday, the fourth victim in total this week, I thought it sensible to address some points raised in the last blog and to also try and make sense of the events of the last week and do what the mainstream media won't, that is, to offer informed, balanced opinion on what may have been the cause of the attacks and offer less hyperbolic explanation than that offered in the press. This article won't offer a guaranteed conclusion, it can't, I'm not out there and haven't spoken to any of the victims or witnesses but what I hopefully can do, is give the opinion of someone with a bit of expertise in the area of shark attacks thanks to many, many years of independent study on the subject relating to attacks all around the world.

The first point I want to raise is that in the first article, I raised my suspicion as to whether sharks had been involved in the injuries sustained by the victims at all. This isn't as much of a wild conspiracy theory as it may at first seem, it has happened before and sharks make great scapegoats, however, it is now clear that four people have been seriously and in one instance, fatally, injured by sharks in the last week. 

When trying to make sense of a shark attack, many things have to be taken into consideration, the victim, the victim's activity, the location, the conditions, conditions in the weeks prior to the attack, the location's historical record with shark attacks and any other activities in and around the location's ocean space before and during the attack. Sharks don't just decide on a whim to swim to a beach and eat the nearest bather!


The Location
Egypt is a great place to spend a holiday, year round sunshine, crystal clear water, it hardly ever rains and is within relatively short flying distance from pretty much anywhere in Europe. The diving is also world class, for pure diving alone, the Red Sea is still the best diving destination I have ever experienced.

I have actually stayed in a hotel on the same stretch of water as Saturday's fatality, in fact where I stayed was only around quarter of a mile away. The hotels in that area have their own private beaches where swimmers and snorkelers enter the water from pontoons that float above the reef. The depth of the water can drop off steeply to around the 20-25 metre mark and marine life is abundant and varied. When I was there it was my first trip to try and film sharks in the Red Sea, a week long diving excursion that was based more on hope than expectation and throughout the time there, saw only a brief glimpse of a five foot long Grey Reef Shark off Yolanda. Everybody I spoke to about the potential for reef sharks off the hotels private beaches said the same thing, you might see one if you're really lucky every two or three years. The odd thing is that they should be there, they're just not. It's also worth pointing out that when I was in Sharm during this trip, it was at this exact time of year.


Egypt, for all it's wealth in the marine life stakes, is still a very poor country and to be brutally honest, won't be winning any awards for environmental regulation practices any time soon. The biggest problems faced by countries like Egypt (and many of the world's other top diving destinations) is that they are predominantly economically worse off than places like Britain, most of Europe, America and Australia so when opportunities do arise for places like Egypt to economically benefit from tourism, attracted by things like world class diving experiences, environmental practices can be pushed aside to exploit as much money as possible, as quickly as possible.

Egypt's climate means you can have a sunshine holiday where a tan, hot weather, warm seas and colourful fish are guaranteed, this means that 365 days a year, Egypt is besieged by holiday makers and this takes it's toll on the environment in and around the resorts. What is also worth noting is that much of the land in Egypt is, as I understand it, privately owned, many resorts are built upon land purchased from the military and one stipulation the government makes is that if a private developer or development chain purchases the land, they have to guarantee that development will be ongoing, i.e. resorts and hotels will get bigger and bigger meaning more tourists years on year and as such, more of a negative effect on the local environment.

What has this got to do with shark attacks? Well, quite a bit really. Ask anyone who has visited Sharm El Sheikh on a diving holiday in the last five years about how crowded the dive sites are. Boats jostle for position, divers are dumped in the sea for 45 minutes then shuttled off to the next location, whilst the divers are at depth, non-divers snorkel by the reefs in open water, often feeding the small fish with bits of bread.

Every day of the year, some of the best dive sites in the world are besieged by divers and boats without respite and unfortunately these dive boats bring with them the waste and garbage which all too often ends up in the sea.

Egypt has some top class dive operators, Emperor, Red Sea Diving College, Elite and Pioneer to name a few but as with many other places, it also has operators who's practices leave a lot to be desired and unfortunately, one of those practices is the unregulated baiting of large pelagic sharks for the benefit and upon request, of Russian and Italian tourists..More on that later.

Lying a short boat ride away from Sharm's resorts, in fact, directly opposite most of them is the Tiran Straits, home to some of the best diving in the Red Sea, Ras Mohammed, Woodhouse, Jackson Reef, The Gardens etc, all of which have been known historically for their (once) abundant shark populations, sharks have always been in the area, what hasn't however, is large numbers of human visitors and the environmental destruction this unfortunately brings.


The Victims
As is usually the case with Arabian shark incidents, getting the definitive detailed account of what happened is nigh on impossible. What I will cover below is based on media reports and information passed to me by trusted sources with working knowledge of the area and who have been in contact with people in positions of trust in the locations of the attacks.

Attack 1 - Olga Martsenko (48) & Evgeny Trishkin (30/11/10)
At the time of the attack, Russians, Olga and Evgeny, believed to be a couple, were snorkeling in deeper water off the reef. Details are sketchy at best but divers nearby claim to have been circled by a 2.5 metre Oceanic Whitetip only moments before it struck the couple, seriously injuring Evegeny's legs and removing Olga's hand.

Both victims made it ashore and were transferred to hospital in Cairo where they are described as in a critical condition but will both survive.


Attack 2 - Victor Koliy (46) (1/12/10)
Ukranian Victor, was attacked a few miles to the north of the attack on the Russian couple the previous day. Again, the victim was snorkeling and suffered what was described as "multiple" injuries to his legs. Fortunately, Victor has since been discharged from hospital and is believed to have returned to the Ukraine. Reports suggest that Victor was again, snorkeling farther out in deeper water from the reef's edge.


Attack 3 - German Woman (3/12/10) - Fatal
Details surrounding this attack are at present vague, some reports suggest her body washed on to the beach, others report that she was brought ashore by a lifeguard, however, what has come to light is that eye witnesses are claiming to have seen a shark which is considerably larger than the shark implicated in the first attack on the Russian couple.

The victim suffered large wounds to her mid to upper arm and her legs were badly mauled. Again, the victim was swimming in deeper water, this time off the private house reef of the Hyatt hotel, where she was a regular visitor.

Reports of a fourth attack and fifth victim have now been confirmed as false, the "victim" in question, a young Russian woman received lacerations to her hand, caused not by a shark, but by coral.

As is often the case in shark attacks, the extremities are the parts of the victim sustaining injuries, that is, the arms and legs, including hands and feet. What follows is my informed opinion, that doesn't make it fact, however, I am confident that I may well be accurate. We may never know exactly what happened but the purpose of this is to offer a more balanced account than that which you will find in the mainstream media. I haven't seen the bodies and I haven't had the benefit of speaking to eyewitnesses...

In the first attack, one interesting facet of the circumstances becomes clear, that the victims were snorkeling in close proximity to a group of divers. The couple were not the only people at the surface in the water and the divers saw the shark before it attacked. As I mentioned in the previous blog, when swimmers and snorkelers sustain injuries to their hands and arms, it is often in the event of the victim touching the shark, or attempting to fight off an attacking or aggressive shark. My guess is this, the shark, having circled the divers, was drawn to the couple at the surface, I would imagine the male of the couple was the first to be bitten, sustaining injuries to his legs whilst attempting to move away from the approaching shark or kicking out to defend himself. Upon seeing her companion struggling with the shark, has Olga attempted to help the victim, punching out at the shark or trying to push it away, thus encouraging the shark to bite her in self defence, removing her hand in the process?

It is most often the case in attacks on humans that a removal of a limb is the last act of an attacking shark so this would make sense. As is usually the case and having seen it myself, when snorkelers or swimmers are approached by an inquisitive shark, very few will respond in a calm manner, arms and legs are flailing and when "fight or flight" kicks in, "flight" is usually the course of action taken. If you are approached by an inquisitive or aggressive shark, to move away from the shark, attempting to escape, only encourages the shark to inspect you more closely and what is the part of the body nearest the business end of a shark in this scenario? The feet and lower legs, hence why  believe the male was first to be bitten.

The same train of thought could be applied in the second attack, inquisitive shark approaches a snorkeler who attempts to escape or kick out at the shark and receives injuries to his lower legs. If a victim is attempting an escape, behaving like potential prey can illicit an appropriate reaction in a predatory animal, also, to defend one's self can be interpreted as an act of aggression on the victim's part and can again, illicit a response from the "attacking" animal.

In the instance of the fatal attack, what is it that caused the victim to unfortunately not survive? Was the attacker more aggressive or were the injuries more severe due to the size of the shark? Did the victim's own condition mean she was less able to withstand injuries a younger, fitter individual may have? We may never know but reports have suggested that people originally rushing to her aide, when realising what was happening left the water to find a vessel in which they could bring her ashore. It seems that the victim was further away from other bathers during this attack and assistance took longer to arrive, did that play a part in this incident ending with a fatality?

Should the final victim have been in the water in the first place? Did she even know about the attacks earlier that week? It isn't that ridiculous to suggest she may not have known, I know when I go on holiday, I don't watch television, I certainly don't bother reading newspapers in languages I can't understand and how likely is it that staff at the hotels were being particularly forthcoming about the events surrounding the previous attacks? In the event I find out more detailed information surrounding each or all of the attacks, I will of course post it and amend my theories if needed, accordingly.


The Culprits
The more astute reader will take note of the fact I have pluralised the above. The notion of a "rogue shark," so beloved by the press and armchair Matt Hooper is one I just don't buy I'm afraid. To justify that, let's look at the basic definition of what a "rogue shark" actually is. A rogue shark is "JAWS," a shark which actually swims around looking for people to bite or eat. Some animals do exhibit rogue tendencies, lions, tigers and crocodiles for example and the theory is based on evidence a rogue animal has a "taste for human flesh."

It is fairly widely known nowadays and certainly widely accepted, that sharks do not particularly care for the taste of human beings, in fact, only approximately 10-15 human beings have ever been totally consumed by a shark during an attack, that is, they were alive before coming into contact with a shark which then killed and ate them. It is certainly feasible that the number of unfortnates suffering this grisly fate could even be in single figures.

The examples used by fans of the rogue shark theory such as the Jersey Shore attacks in 1916 have since been proved far more likely, in fact almost beyond all doubt, to have been carried out by multiple sharks. Egypt has even had its own rogue shark conspiracy before, in the 1980's where three people were attacked on the same day in the Port Said area of Cairo. The incident was often used to support the rogue shark theory but neglected to mention the third victim (the first two were companions together) was injured many miles away and would have required the shark to sprint up the coast to find and attack him.

Human beings don't have the relevant nutritional value for sharks to get a taste for us, sharks aren't "killing machines" they are highly evolved predatory animals that do what they do, really, really well. They are not vindictive animals hell bent on the destruction of the human race but animals which sometimes make mistakes based on natural behaviour patterns.

The Oceanic Whitetip has taken a bit of a hammering in the press this week and as a large, bold and sometimes aggressive shark, commonly found in the area, it would make a likely suspect but let's not forget some of his mates who might also be worth a mention, the Tiger Shark, Silvertip Shark and the Great White.

The Oceanic Whitetip is big enough, aggressive enough and has the tools to have carried out these attacks, no question about that, however it is a pelagic species, not often found so close to beaches. That's not to say it's impossible, they have been encountered close inshore where reefs have steep drop offs, much like those in Sharm so it's not impossible they would be seen that near to a beach, very rare yes but not impossible.


The Tiger Shark has been surprisingly lacking in the press this week. She is big, heavy set and one of the few shark species capable of doing serious damage to a human being. The nearby Tiran Straits are home to a resident number of Tiger Sharks which are fairly regularly encountered by divers and unlike the Oceanic Whitetip, will regularly venture into shallow water.


Contrary to popular belief, Great White sharks do occur in warm water and even tropical locations, The Bahamas, Madagascar, Northern Australia, Tonga, The Seychelles, all of these places have recorded large numbers of verified Great White shark sightings and encounters, you can add the Red Sea to that as well. Great Whites do visit the Egyptian coast and at this time of year, with sea temperatures around the 23-25 degrees Celsius mark, they are more than capable of withstanding these temperate conditions and as we all know, are more than capable of inflicting serious injury with ease.


Isn't she beautiful! Yes she certainly is but the Silvertip is also a bulky, sometimes aggressive shark which has been involved in attacks on humans before. Silvertips are found in the waters around sharks and whilst also more commonly found in pelagic environments, do venture closer inshore with more regularity than the Oceanic Whitetip. The Silvertip is less twitchy than other requiem sharks, has an inquisitive nature and will attack if provoked, it also has the dental equipment to do some serious damage to the human body.

All these sharks have track records in wounding swimmers and divers, they all occur in the locality of the attacks and all could be considered possible suspects. Very few sharks have the tools to cut through bone, a pre-requisite if a human limb is removed in an attack. That also discounts the Mako caught by fishermen from the attack in which Olga lost her hand and lower arm.

The least likely culprit is the Great White, the other three however could all be reasonable suspects, could it be that a couple of species have been involved? Could it be that a couple of sharks of the same species have been involved? Very possibly. Could it be that one shark is responsible for all the attacks? I really don't think so.

In my opinion the most likely scenario is that the Oceanic Whitetip and Tiger Shark are the most likely suspects in one or all of the attacks. If this was happening in the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Northern Australia, Florida or Durban for example, in similar conditions, the finger of blame would immediately be pointed at either the Tiger or the Bull Shark, with the absence of Bull Sharks from the area, is that to say it's reasonable to believe a Tiger Shark could be implicated in one of the attacks at least? In my mind yes, does it make it so? No but it is a possible scenario.


Environmental Factors
What do I mean by the above? Well, to put it simply, factors in the area which we either know for sure, or can reasonably be assumed to have happened given information from reliable sources.

I have not seen it with my own eyes but very trusted friends and colleagues have, it is widely accepted that some dive boats in the area are known for baiting the water to bring sharks closer to divers, in particular Oceanic Whitetip Sharks. Even more alarming is that on some of these boats it is claimed, operators encourage divers to pet the large sharks and bites have occurred because of this. These practices are often undertaken for predominantly Russian and Italian tourists who pay extra for the pleasure. Before you start using this as ammo to rail against the shark feeding industry, please bare in mind what I have said in a previous article on that specific subject, shark feeding dive operations and dive operations feeding sharks, are two very different things.

It is common practice for tourists to feed the fish close inshore. Not a massive problem you might think but if smaller fish are encouraged to hang around and propagate in bather heavy areas, don't be surprised if bigger fish fancy popping by to have a look as well.

Large pelagic fish in the Red Sea are in enormous decline, overfishing has taken a terrible toll on populations of pelagic species which in turn has affected the feeding practices of many predatory species. If you remove prey species in big enough numbers, it is going to affect the species which rely on them to feed as part of their natural diet. If we alter a species' natural predatory behaviours, it is likely they will adapt to that alteration. By that I mean if an animal naturally survives on rays for example, if the rays are all removed from an area, that predator either has to leave and find more rays or start finding other things to eat to survive which then has a knock on effect for that new prey item. Could this mean that larger sharks are moving closer inshore due to their being less prey in deeper waters? Maybe...

Perhaps most startling and telling, are reports that a merchant vessel transporting cattle and livestock to Jordan had jettisoned a number of the animals overboard in waters close to where the attacks took place as recently as the week before the attacks. Had the animals died on board and been disposed of overboard? This is not the first time this has happened. During the foot and mouth crisis in 2001, consignments of cattle were transported from South Africa through the Red Sea, this coincided with reports of dive groups encountering Great White Sharks off the coast of Sharm and also around the Brothers and Daedelus. I spoke with a dive guide in 2007 who had two encounters herself during 2001, she also happened to mention it was suggested that it may be best not to talk about it at the time due to fear of it affecting business. We will probably never know for definite whether the sharks followed the cattle transporters but it would be a valid explanation. As soon as the Great Whites appeared, they disappeared again after just over a month...

Also, when the French passenger plane crashed in the northern Red Sea in 2003, the number of sharks encountered by divers exploded and for around three months, large numbers of sharks were encountered with unusual frequency

A Valid Explanation?
I'm not saying this is what happened, it is merely what I think happened, if you want to either agree or disagree based on any additional information or feedback, I always welcome informed open discussion. So here goes...

It's no coincidence in my mind that a load of dead animals get dumped in the sea near to a popular tourist resort where the sea is full of swimmers, divers and snorkelers and a week or so later some people get bitten. If you take all the information on face value it could be argued that within a dwindling population of large pelagic sharks, a small number of individuals have been attracted closer to shore by the decaying sheep and cattle carcasses tossed into the water. The waste pumped into the water from the hotels, the fish feeding activity from tourists and the possibility of dive boats feeding sharks in the area would potentially be enough to encourage predatory behaviour in the visiting sharks. Upon encountering vulnerable swimmers at the surface, have the sharks exhibited aggressive, inquisitory behaviour whilst in a heightened state of predatory awareness due to the increased level of stimuli (rotting sheep, increased fish activity, large numbers of people in the water, waste from dive boats and hotels) in the water? It's very, very possible.

These attacks were not feeding attacks, in that the sharks weren't trying to eat people, they were most likely acts of aggression from sharks who's behaviour had been altered by human interference and unfortunately people have been seriously hurt and one killed. The problem is the mainstream media will most likely only cover the tip of the dorsal fin in this story, sharks make easy bad guys and stories of environmental alteration don't sell as well as sharks attacking helpless humans. A small number of sharks have been attracted closer to shore by human negligence, people have been bitten and unfortunately the sharks are going to pay the price. Will they catch the culprits? Probably not, will they catch and kill innocent sharks? They already have...

It is a sad story all around, the most startling part of which for me was the statistic that only 11 Oceanic Whitetip sharks of  adult size (2 metres+) have been identified as resident animals, in that they have been documented twice or more, in the area, an area which could once lay claim to be perhaps the best place in the world to encounter Oceanic Whitetip Sharks in the world. This incredible shark was once claimed to be the most common large pelagic fish in the oceans (fish weighing 100lbs or more), it is now critically endangered in many parts of the world, but that won't be a story so widespread in the mainstream press.

As with all shark attacks, we have to look at the bigger picture, a good example being the spate of attacks at Port St Johns in South Africa between 2004 and 2009. The press featured comments from locals and fishermen claiming that the restrictions on shark fishing and the shark diving industry were to blame, what wasn't so widely mentioned was that the beach was used by a local tribe to take part in ritualistic animal sacrifices, in fact, these sacrifices were undertaken on the morning of two of the attacks, both of which were fatal.

All I ask is that you take on board the fact that sharks do not look for people to bite or eat, the rogue shark theory is almost certainly a myth and the biggest victim in shark/human encounters is without doubt the shark. It can be difficult to separate emotions from incidents like these but hopefully more information comes to light, you never know, I may even be right.

I want to thank Avi, Ed, Howard and Patric for passing me some info, in patric's case he should be applauded for taking the time to do what much of the media hasn't, contact a local dive expert and see what they think about everything, as an industry leader, Patric has clarified that the divers in Egypt, almost to a man, want to see tolerance and understanding for the sharks in Red Sea waters and for that we should all thank them.

Seeing as this is a fairly epic blog, I am going to treat you to a couple of videos, made aware to me by my friend, the rather brilliant Mike Neumann, the first may go some way to explain why Oceanic Whitetip Sharks occasionally bite snorkelers and divers, some of the behaviour is pretty scary on the part of the humans involved, the second video is something Mike was pretty reserved with in his comments but I'm afraid I can't exercise such good will, I hate it, I hate this video with a passion and have a strong dislike for the idiots involved in it, it makes me angry and shows a lot of people make diving with sharks all about them and a way to show off to their pals. The dive operator shouldn't have allowed it and the divers themselves are exactly the type of divers that I never, ever want to be on a dive boat with. What both videos do show however, is how tolerant sharks are for human stupidity, all three species in the videos, Oceanic Whitetips, Lemon Sharks and Tiger Sharks could very easily kill every one involved in the videos, the important thing is, they don't, they don't even give them a nip...Bare that in mind next time you read reports in the media about shark incidents...





Finally, feel free to pass this to people you know are talking about the attacks, it might help increase understanding from the shark's point of view, if you are part of the press and want to contact me, please do, if you want to comment and give your thoughts, again please do and finally, to the shark conservationists, I know that innocent sharks have paid the price as well this week but let's also remember, it isn't the fault of the victims, let's not try to play the life of one thing over the life of another, whereas I agree that a human life does not have more value than that of a shark's life, it does not mean the shark has more value than a human, let us try to exercise sympathy and reasoned debate, that is far more helpful than spreading propaganda that may at first seem helpful, when it is actually the total opposite. Sharks are not friendly, they are not like puppy dogs...Sharks are sharks and should be appreciated and cherished for what they are.

Stay safe everyone and thanks for reading!

www.officetoocean.com













17 comments:

Hussein Said said...

Hello

Thanks for the great analysis, is a neuroscience manipulation to alter the behavior of white tip shark is possible in this case ? or it can be related to an imbalance in the food chain due to climate change and therefore water temperature changes that triggered this behavior ?

David said...

I don't think it's even that complex to be honest Hussain, I am of the opinion a temporary change to the localised environment (the introduction of decayong carrion) has brought curious sharks closer to shore and a chain of events has been triggered during which several people have been injured. It is a problem when sharks in a heightened state of sensory awareness come into contact with large numbers of people and it can unfortunately lead to incidents like the ones last week.

However, as suddenly as these incidents occurred, they will stop, I am sure of that. The studying of the area and trigger points will hopefully find a way to eliminate what it is that caused the sharks to attack the swimmers and it will be back to business as usual. The sharks were just doing what they naturally do...

Thanks for your comment!

Wolfgang Leander said...

Very intelligent and informative analysis! Congrats!

Wolfgang Leander

OfficetoOcean said...

Hi Wolfgang

Thanks for that, I'm really glad you enjoyed it and I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment, I'm a bit of a fan of yours so it means a lot to me that you enjoyed this piece!

David

Anonymous said...

Very informative and balanced arguements! It's a shame the press are too keen on sensationalism!

Well done.

Symon

Anonymous said...

Great writeup and just my feelings.
Being a Red Sea local and having dived wioth many sharks in the red sea from Sharm, Hurghada all the way to Sudan I have yet to encounter an aggressive shark.
Inquisitive...certainly.....aggressive, certainly not.

julia said...

wow very informative! I ws in sharm last week when the attacks took place and we were told to keep out of the water. We had booked to go on cattamaran with a perspex box to sit in on thursday 2/12/10 and were worried if it would be safe. We were told by the operator that it ws fine.We were taken out and saw lots of coral, fish etc but as we got into deeper water that i can only describe as like looking down mountainside in the sea i spotted three sharks low down circling each other. I told the driver of the boat and felt quite alarmed as i am not familiar with shark behaviour but the driver dismissed my claims and proceeded closer to the shore and started to feed fish with mouldy bread to encourage them to come to the surface which they did. Now i am home i cant help thinking that it is people like this who like u say encourage the sharks to come closer to the shore and it is the same people putting lives at risk. In future i will make esure i go out with a reputable company who value wildlife and human life.

christophe said...

Great analysis
Appalling video of snorkelers with White tips..
This shows how humans are not on a shark's menu
I have been on many shark dives and would expect many more accidents with swimmers acting like injured prey (snorkeling on the surface and all this flailing about) just shows how intelligent predators sharks are
Transpose this kind of behavior next to a pride of lions in Africa and these tourists would not stand a chance....

Anonymous said...

If only some media could put half the energy towards analysis and reporting of the events as you have!
As for the videos. The sharks all showed more restraint than I would have. I was so disgusted, as a human, I would have bit them had I been there.

OfficetoOcean said...

Thanks for the comments guys, some really interesting stuff here!

Julia, it's interesting you saw three sharks on your boat trip, that's certainly unusual but although I understand you must have felt a bit uneasy given the events that week, you were actually very lucky to have seen them! What is good to see though is that although you were a bit nervous you describe how you felt without aiming any invective at the sharks. Thanks for your comment!

Christophe, as much as I dislike those videos I am glad you have grasped the reason why i posted them! Despite showing questionable behaviour on the humans part, I really think those vids illustrate that sharks really are a lot more tolerant than for that which they are given credit! Thanks for your comment!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this informative analysis. I don't know much about shark behaviour but i'm a keen diver and was planning to go to the Red Sea in january. Yet the attacks kind of scared me, although i seemed to remember sharks were agressive only if feeling attacked ... so your analysis came right on time to give some expert and truthful information ...what really lacks in the media unfortunately.
As for divers on the video, i say those would deserve a bite ... i've been on boats with such kind of divers (but not with sharks at the same time) and more often than once i was tempted to turn their air off (never did it, don't worry) ... the sad thing is it seems one just can't educate them to respect marine life, nothing you can say can change their attitude :-( ... and the other sad thing is, it's sometimes other divers or swimmers paying the price for such un-conscious attitude. Too bad sharks can't make the difference ...
So when i get to the Red Sea and if i'm lucky enough to meet some sharks, i shall just not move and let them be as inquisitive as they want without showing attenpt to swim away or being scared, right ?

Thanks for the great job you're doing. I hope you'll manage with your movie.
And hey let us know how is the 7D ... i'm planning to get one too, but not sure the video features would be suitable for UW videos ; i'd be glad to get your feedback on that.

PS : if i may suggest : it would be great to make a re-write of this article in a shorter version which could be passed on to people who're not especially keen on this topic but yet would quickly get the point.

OfficetoOcean said...

Hi! Great comment and thank you for taking the time to read through and address the points you have!

I totally agree, the behaviour on those videos is unacceptable and had they been bitten, you could be sure they would have made sure the video of that was on youtube as well, being used as some sort of badge of honour whilst painting the shark in a bad light. Many times I have been on dive boats with the types of people you mention, the problem is we can only educate people who want to be educated and in circumstances like these, it is important that informed opinion and analysis is available because as you rightly say, it is usually "innocent" people who pay the price for the stupidity of others...

Enjoy your time in the Red Sea, it is amazing! If you are lucky enough to come face to face with a shark, just enjoy it, read the body language, keep your distance and don't take your eyes off it. You'll find that even when being inquisitive, they only rarely exhibit any threatening behaviour so you won't have any problems!

The 7D is a great camera and ideal for UW shooting. As I mentioned it gives you both film and still flexibility and the white balance setting is also relatively simple. The results you can get with them are astounding and I woulod recommend any of the Canon DSLRs from the 550D upwards for UW shooting which is exactly why I'm using them! :D

Thanks again for the comment, keep reading and have a great Xmas!

Anonymous said...

factual error: "Port Said area of Cairo"

Port Said is not an area of Cairo, it's a Mediterranean coastal city.

Cairo is an inland city with no access to any sea front, Shark attacks in the Nile will be impossible obviously.

OfficetoOcean said...

Ahh yes of course! Thank you for pointing that out, georgraphy isn't one of my strong points unfortunately which is annoying as I have been to both Port Said and Cairo so should know better!

Thanks for reading!

Shine Forum said...

nice post.........

Hussein Said said...

Hello Again, i checked a youtube video by accident and here is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqV0StQbJQs&feature=player_detailpage

in the minute 9:10 the guy says that, the magnetism of the Dwarf (elenen) (Planet x) is affecting the animals magnetise that they have in their tissue and leads that they become loss to their food sources

Steve Rowley said...

Great Reading!!! Many Thanks.