Saturday, 28 February 2015

Eugenie Clark and Richard Theiss

Dr Eugenie Clark - A True Pioneer
 I know it's probably a little late but I still felt I should mark the passing of Eugenie Clark, a woman who was a massive influence on me and who can claim some responsibility for the existence of this blog and everything I have done in relation to my work with sharks over the last twenty or so years.

The world of shark diving and its influence on popular culture, although seemingly a macho pursuit was in fact pioneered by women and none more so the Dr Clark. She was a lady with bigger balls than most men I know, a huge intellect and passion and by all accounts a truly lovely, down to earth and friendly person.

As a kid I vividly remember being in 2nd year at primary school, what is now known in the UK as Year 4 (I think) and already being shark mad, I found a book in our classroom about Eugenie and her adventures with sharks, it may have been the original pressing of "The Lady and The Sharks," and reading about when she and her kids were at the beach, all of them in the water when a large Hammerhead approached, as everyone else made a swift exit from the water, Eugenie described how she and her kids just stared in wonder, overjoyed at such a close encounter and that really stuck with me. There was also the National Geographic documentary featuring her work with the Moses Sole and both the book and that film were staples of my formative passion for sharks.

Thanks for the inspiration Dr Clark.
 Richard Theiss - A great pro and a wonderful man

I also want to mention the sad passing of Richard Theiss. A passionate shark lover, great pro and a really nice guy, Richard and I would chat via email intermittently and he helped me a lot when I was starting this journey. Richard really was one of the good guys and his immense popularity amongst his peers is testament to this. I won't post lengthy platitudes about Richard as that is for people who knew him far better than I but I do want to say to Richard, thank you for everything.

Condolences and best wishes to his family and close friends whom it was obvious he cared for deeply.

We've lost two of the genuine leaders in our world and they will be greatly missed.

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