I love marine life. Sharks in particular amaze me – seriously, every single thing about them. I’ll get engrossed in a tv special about them in a split second. For this reason, I wish I’d done better in school and went on to excel in marine biology. Either that or writing, my two true loves in life. 😀
I watched what was actually a rerun of a special the other night where CNN’s Anderson Cooper had the amazing once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of free-diving with professional “Sharkman” Mike Rutzen. Free diving. This means cageless. With Great White sharks.
The Great White is by far the most dangerous and powerful shark known to man. It always blows me away to see how massive these sharks were, so witnessing a human being free-diving with them is quite remarkable. Click here to see the 13-minute special aired on CBS’s 60 minutes.
It seems that I’m always learning something new about sharks – guess I can attribute this to the interest factor in that I’m always paying attention! First, contrary to what some people believe, they are not blind or even partially so. Mike said that they actually like to make eye contact with humans! Can you imagine making eye contact with a Great White up close and personal? Also, a sharks eyes are not black, they are actually blue. As he and a great white swam past each other while making eye contact, he pointed the color out – and you could even see the sharks eyes turn to him. The sharks seem to ‘like’ him. Um again, these are Great Whites – the same predator depicted in the movie Jaws!
Now, he doesn’t just free-dive into any old Great White infested waters, mind you. He ‘feels out’ the sharks beforehand – deciphering their ‘personality’ or ‘current mood’. This is how he will decide if the shark is what he calls ‘a player’, an endearing term he uses to describe a curious shark. With all the criteria in place – in he goes.
Mike “Sharkman” Rutzen owns and operates his own dive company off the coast of South Africa called Shark Diving Unlimited. For a nominal fee you’ll be able to cage-dive, allowing you to safely observe the sharks for yourself (you’ll just need to travel to Africa to do it with him). I can’t think of a single thing in life more awesome than the opportunity to do this. Along with his faithful and professional crew, he operates the business with his vessel Barracuda – a 12.5 meter Lee Cat specifically built for Great White shark cage diving. Her twin hull makes her extremely stable… admittedly by SDU, a good thing to keep in mind if you’re prone to sea sickness! With a maximum of 21 clients each trip, the back deck is spacious with an upstairs viewing deck that offers a great vantage point to watch the action. All diving equipment, towels and picnic lunch are on board, as well as all required safety equipment including two 15-man liferafts.
Michael believes that he is able to decipher the body language of great white sharks – and proves his theory by altering his own body language to maintain control of the interactions. By making his body smaller, he can attract a curious shark; by making himself bigger in the water he can deter a confident shark. His golden rule is to ‘stand your ground – because everything that swims away from a Great White shark is potential prey’.
German filmmaker Ralf Kiefner made a wonderful film about Michael free-diving with Great Whites. The film is called Beyond Fear and was broadcast on National Geographic. Since the release of the film, Michael has become known world-wide for his unique understanding of Great White shark behavior.
By free-diving with these magnificent creatures, Michael hopes to increase awareness of the many shark-killers out there that still exist, as well as promote the ‘gentler’ side of sharks. He believes this to be a crucial step in the right direction in changing the public’s negative image of these majestic predators.
In his native South-African accent, Michael jovially states that he’s always felt he will be one of those who die at a younger age. When asked why, he replied, “Well you know… I smoke too much, drink too much, and I like to drive my car really fast.” AC asked, “But it won’t be from a Great White?” to which Michael replied with a sly grin, “Naw”.
Information and photos derived from www.sharkdivingunlimited.com
I’m guessing I need to take on a little lighter note after yesterdays blog. I’ve had more than a couple people ask me ‘who were you writing about?’ It’s natural curiosity to question the identity of the Village Idiot, or perhaps if my overly-detailed description is even authentic. Well, it’s authentic all right. Furthermore, I have personally lived this certain hell of knowing such a person. Of course, the individual shall remain nameless. Those of you who are close to me already know of the person I wrote about. Realistically speaking, it’s possible that we all know someone of this very nature.
A lot of people probably think I’m obsessed with the sea and waves, as much as I’ve talked about it in the past. Well, maybe I am. To me it’s intriguing, mesmerizing. It is also ever-demanding of our respect. Being face to face with a huge tidal wave is a continuing dream I’ve had my entire life, and I’ve written about on a couple of occasions.
And dreams always seem to come to pass – in some way, shape or form.
For years now I’ve thought that maybe, just maybe, someday I’d like to take a cruise. Just to see what all the fuss is about. Well, this just puts a whole different spin on the term cruising.
How about being out to sea on a cruise ship, and a massive set of waves pound the bow busting out 5 large windows in a public area – killing 2 people and injuring 14? A passenger said there were three ‘abnormally high’ waves that hit, with the second and third being the largest. The waves were 33 feet (10 meters) high and flooded cabins and busted windows and frames in a restaurant. My God, that’s just the thing nightmares are made of.
This was a 12-day cruise that traveled from Barcelona, Spain to Genoa, Italy. It occurred approximately 24 miles off the coast of Cabo de San Sebastian near the Spanish town of Palafrugell. Of the two who were killed, one was German and the other Italian. It’s indicated the weather was the cause of the waves, as the wind was reported to be 45 mph.
I do adore the ocean. But I do believe I’ll rethink the whole cruise idea. Just put my ass on a plane and land me somewhere near the clear blue water for a week. I’ll find my way to the ocean. And I’ll be just as happy, thanks.
We got a bit more snow last night. It was pretty to see, but even better is hearing it melting away outside right now. The roads were pretty bad last night, but they cleared up fairly quickly. That’s the good thing about snow vs. ice.
What’s funny about this winter weather event is the fact that it brought snow to our coastline. I couldn’t wait to get up this morning and launch the various webcam links I have along the coast. Sure enough, even the sand on the beach had snow, the waves were coming right up to the snowy sand. What a site. I would love to be at the beach someday when there’s snow, it’s such a rarity and would certainly have to be spontaneous.
Although I’ve been up since 8 this morning, getting a pretty late start to the day. Getting my hair cut in a half hour so this’ll be it for the day. Happy Weekend!!
Well that day is here. It’s Saturday, and it’s time to go home. We just finished breakfast and got back to our room, and to say it’s cold is an understatement – it’s a brisk thirty degrees outside. The workers in the restaurant were all abuzz about the weather, talking about what an oddity it is for ‘these parts’. For the next five days, the forecasted lows are supposed to be in the lower twenties. Glad I won’t be here for that.
Got up around 6:30-ish because my bf wanted some good shots of the sunrise, seeing as how this is the first time we’ve actually seen the sun come up here. They did turn out to be some gorgeous shots.
Not much to do today in the way of loading the car since we pretty much got all that knocked out last night. We are still being entertained by the early morning Dolphin Show from up high. They are putting on quite the grand finale for us – cresting the top of the water while blowing out water, even making splashes now and then with their tails.
I gotta say that, aside from myself of course, I’ve never seen someone love the ocean so much as my guy. Even now as I write this, he’s on the balcony giving me updates every so often. He cannot keep his eyes off the sea, waves and fish. To see it through his eyes these past few days has been precious – almost like seeing it for the first time all over again myself. It has made me appreciate it that much more.
We’ll be on the road soon. We will, however, be leaving a large piece of our souls here on the shoreline.
Until next time….
It isn’t the easiest thing to do, typing on this phone. In fact it’s still damn near impossible for me, I’ve just never gotten used to it. But after going two days without writing, I’m about to go into DT’s. And I don’t necessarily see that as a bad thing.
Happy New Year to all. We rang in the new year of 2010 last night. It doesn’t seem possible, but here it is…
So it’s Friday, and we’ve been at the beach since Wednesday. It’s been a blast. It has for sure been a very needed getaway. The weather has been cooperative for the most part, the torrential rain ended Weds. evening.
The walks on the beach have been the best. There’s something about the ocean that can change one’s entire state of mind; a kind of cleansing or washing away.
We’ve watched fireworks at Broadway, eaten at some great restaurants, enjoyed long walks on the beach and even squeezed a nap in. Made glo-bracelets (and halos) and lit fireworks, with K getting burned once in the process. We even met up briefly with a dear friend and colleague for the fireworks at Broadway last night. The multiple dolphin sightings have been awesome too, but those are some tough moments to capture on camera.
We’ll head home tomorrow, but I’ll put off thinking about that until later. No sense in subsiding the current state of mind just yet. As Miss Scarlet would say, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”
We’re at year’s end once again. Somehow, this doesn’t seem possible – but yet here we are.
I’ve written so much about my year 2009 as well as 2008 in past blogs, that there’s really not much left to cover in that area. So instead, I’ll pan forward and tell you my plans for bringing in the New Year.
Me and my guy are heading to the coast for several nights over the New Year holiday, we’ll leave tomorrow morning. I can’t tell you how forward I’m looking to it. We both need the getaway (and I won’t tell you how long it’s been since he’s had a real vacation). The weather forecast isn’t the brightest and best – but after all, we are in the middle of winter.
We’re like two little kids getting ready to go on a summer beach trip. His bag was already packed last night, and if it weren’t for last-minute laundry mine would have been too. We already have an intinerary set, such as where to watch the fireworks on New Years Eve and possibly visiting the aquarium.
I’m looking forward to just to being able to breathe the ocean air again. Our room is oceanfront, and up high – a little slice ‘o heaven in my book. My camera is currently at home resting up for it’s future assignment.
I did install WP on my iPhone, so I plan to try to post some sort of update from there. I don’t think it’ll be a big surprise to anyone when I say that blogging won’t be topping the ole’ priority list, though.
Happy New Year to all!!