The shark is more than a B-movie plot.
(Listed throughout the blog, David provides video link so you can enjoy his numerous dives.)
Me on a family vacation a number of years ago.
Anyone that’s read my tiger shark shifter series knows I have a love for sharks. So in honor of shark week and the upcoming September release of Book III in the Brothers of Element Series, I thought we could enjoy some first hand information from a professional diver and underwater photographer.
The man I’m about to introduce you to, David, I met online years ago before I released Dagger. I admire his appreciation for the ocean.
He was gracious enough to answer some questions regarding diving and photographing sharks and his experiences in the ocean.
Here’s a portion of David’s bio that you can find on his website, where you can also purchase videos or short clips. It’s an addictive site.
Being born on the island of Jersey instilled a call to the sea for me at a very early age. I can recall as a child spending hours playing in the tidal pools left by the receding tides, mesmerized by the myriad of creatures that live in this wet and wonderful world.
Certification as a PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer for fifteen years has allowed me to introduce hundreds of people to the fascinating adventure of scuba diving. Sharing my enthusiasm for this sport has been gratifying although the desire to reach a larger audience culminated in the production of videos depicting the serenity of the ocean environment and the creatures that call it home.
David‘s videos are tranquil and are set to beautiful serene music that plays out like an opera on the small screen.
I’ve asked David a few questions and while some answers surprised me others made me laugh.
Take it away David.
Good questions all, Cora.
(CB) 1. When did you start diving with the sharks?
(David) My first shark dive was in Beqa Lagoon, Fiji in 2005. We were blessed with seven different species of sharks on the two dives including nurse, blacktip, whitetip, gray reef, sicklefin lemon, bull, and a massive 14’ tiger shark known as Scarface. The local divemasters interacted with these creatures on a personal level and one shark named “Rope” had been caught and hung up by the tail but the rope snapped under the strain and he was able to get away. Weakened by the ordeal and with the rope end still attached he would show up at the feedings but stay on the periphery. Rusi, one of the divemasters, would take a handful of fish out to the shark and hand fed it back to health. Since then the rope has been removed, although the name remains, and the shark has regained its health but will only take food when Rusi is manning the bait bucket.
(CB) 2. Obvious question, have you ever been bitten?
(David) I have never been bitten by a shark although an agitated 10’ tiger shark kissed my butt once at Tiger Beach resulting in the fastest exit from the water I ever made.
(CB) 3. Do the sharks recognize you when you return to a local?
(David) The only shark that I can ensure having visited more than once is Emma, a majestic 12’ Tiger shark that inhabits the area known as Tiger Beach in the Bahamas. She has her own facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/sharkangels. Not sure that she recognized me but we shared a few up close and personal moments. On my second trip, in order to get close-ups of jaws agape, I positioned myself right beside the bait basket. Emma was not impressed by this and placing her jaws around my tank shook me in the water from side to side until she deposited me in a position that she thought was more appropriate. Afterwards, each time that she passed me on her approach to the bait basket she would intentionally brush me aside with her tail. An amazing creature and an amazing experience. The video from this encounter is available here: http://oceanviewvideos.net/Day-at-the-Beach.html.
(CB) 4. What have you found to be the trigger for any aggressive actions directed toward you while shooting footage?
(David) Sharks can be curious creatures and, if you are fortunate enough to see one in the wild, it is because they are checking you out. If they did not want to interact you would never know that they are there. Over the years I have shared encounters with literally thousands of sharks and never, well, except for that once, have they exhibited aggressive behavior. Sharks have evolved over millions of years into a myriad of specific designs, each perfectly adapted to their behaviour and environment. They are absolutely crucial to the balance of nature.
(CB) 5. Years ago you showed me footage of a large coral bed and separate footage of parrotfish. The colors were brilliant almost unreal. What was your favorite shoot and why?
(David) My favourite coral reef has to be Nudibranch Rock in Raja Ampat. We dove it at the perfect time of day and the life and colours were amazing. There was so much life that, in some places, the reef was obscured by the thousands of small fish swimming about in schools. Shallower depths allow for better light penetration and less loss of the colour spectrum. As it is, a red filter is used underwater to replace the loss of that colour by about 15’ of depth. The video from that dive is available here: http://oceanviewvideos.net/Nudibranch-Rock.html.
(CB) 6. In my first book, Dagger, my heroine is concerned with the artificial reefs off the shores of South Carolina. The hero wants them gone as many of the teens us them for their first shift and become trapped. What are your thoughts on the importance of the artificial or man-made reefs?
(David) Artificial reef systems, whether man-made or destiny driven, enhance the marine environment by providing shelter and a place for organisms to grow. A little more than 70 years ago, during Operation Hailstorm, the Americans destroyed the Japanese supply fleet at Truk Lagoon. Today, the area offers arguably the world’s best wreck diving. Over the years coral has encrusted the wrecks turning them into gardens of life and colour.
(CB) 7. In my second book, Blade, they deal with the problem of shark finning in the pacific. Do you come across much finning in your travels?
(David) Over the years I am most disappointed with how man treats the oceans’ resources. Perhaps one day governments will realize that shark tourism is a sustainable resource that will bring in far more money to their coffers than selling all the fins ever will.
(CB) 8. I’m utterly fascinated by sharks, especially tiger sharks. Is there anything you’d like to add to help us appreciate the majestic creatures that have such an ugly reputation?
(David) The “ugly reputation” sits squarely on the shoulders of man. When will enough be enough? All of the creatures of the sea adhere only to the laws of nature. Everything is predator, everything is prey and they all co-exist in the delicate balance of nature. There is much that we can learn from them.
To view more of the videos go to: http://oceanviewvideos.net/Videos.html.
Thank you, David for sharing your insight with us and giving the ocean the respect that it deserves.
Remember to check out David’s site for short clips and full videos. Sign up for his newsletter if you want to be informed of his latest dives and adventures.
And look for my latest underwater release this September. Ridge Book III where you’ll be reunited with some old friends and meet a few new ones. King Ridge has met his match in the curvy Svetlana Kozlow in the Arctic.
Dagger Book I
Desmond short story
Blade Book II
Ridge III (releasing in September)