Sunday, 21 June 2015

Terribly Sad News From Fiji - Rusiate Balenagasau 1960 - 2015

Rusi and I in 2011

I was saddened to see news from Mike today that the famous "man in the yellow hood," Rusi, chief Shark Feeder at B.A.D and true champion of shark conservation in Fiji has passed away at the age of 55.

Anyone who has dived with B.A.D will be familiar with Rusi, not only was he a softly spoken, kind and decent man, he also had a rare connection to the sharks he had spent thousands of hours with. They were very much "his" sharks, he loved them in a rare, genuine and heartfelt way and was a passionate protector and champion for their conservation.

I can't say I knew Rusi well but I did have the honour of spending almost every day of my month in Fiji with him, observing, learning from and being inspired by him and it truly was an honour, the man was a colossus in the shark diving world. Nowadays the word "legend" is so overused it has lost its true meaning but ask anyone who knows shark diving, Rusi genuinely was one of the few who deserved the tag of "legend."

It's not for me to eulogise the man's life, that is for the people who knew him best but I am immensely proud to have spent time with him, to have dived with him and to have had him be such a big part of "Of Shark and Man," but I think the thing I am proudest of, is that in a journey which changed my life forever, in which I achieved one of my greatest ambitions, he was a key part in that and if it weren't for Rusi's understanding of sharks and his immense experience, I would not have been given that chance. Vinaka Rusi.

My heart goes out to his family, to Mike and to everyone at Beqa Adventure Divers as they come to terms with the loss of a truly irreplaceable friend and giant of Fijian Shark Conservation.

"They are like dogs to me, you know, when you've got dogs in your home, you really love the dogs, that's the same thing, I love my sharks."

Rusi really did love his sharks.

Rusiate Balenagasau 1960 - 2015

1 comment:

The Sharkman said...

I will never forget the awesome dives and the knowledge that he shared with me. It was an honour to have met the man in the yellow hood. His spirit will live on with those that knew him.
My prayers and condolences to his family and friends