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Off-topic Discussion moved from Diver Missing in the Bahamas thread

Discussion in 'Shark Forum!' started by TampaScuba, Jul 21, 2014.

  1. drrich2

    drrich2 ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Southwestern Kentucky
    But all those photos of people around sharks being fed when nothing goes wrong do testify against them being mindless killing machines. The willingness of many people to go on shark feeding dives shows that at least some public perception has been changed.

  2. Doug Kahle

    Doug Kahle Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: West Palm Beach
    Disagree. When the diver was bit by the Bull Shark in February 2008, the media killed Abernethy. They could not believe that people where intentionally feeding big sharks. They did not realize that it had been going on for years literally on a daily basis. They have learned a lot since that time.

    When Abernethy was bit in 2011, I anticipated the worst and thought he would be destroyed in the media. There was virtually nothing negative and no "I told you so." I could not believe how mild it was. Everyone knew it was a rare occurrence.

    That is because the media has now been following shark feeding and they have been on the boat and done their very own shark feeding dives. The media has figured out that sharks are misunderstood and not dangerous.

    The most recent incident received nowhere near the publicity that the 2008 incident received. And, the most recent incident is more interesting, in my opinion, because no one knows what happened and leads to all forms of speculation. But, in the media, the story is already dead and died after 7 to 10 days.

    Social media and the pictures being distributed all over the planet especially to land-locked locations is having an incredible impact in changing perceptions. I originate in the Midwest and after I started posting weekly pics of shark feedings, the comments from my Midwestern friends went from "you're crazy" to "this is amazing" to "I want to do this."

    Again, it's having a huge impact.
    muzikbiz22 and danvolker like this.
  3. Grouperdawg

    Grouperdawg Angel Fish

    Yeah, I guess that's a good point, many of those people may have experience already about sharks going into it or have done their own research and drawn their own conclusions. Some maybe just looking for a thrill or maybe they read these boards about how safe feedings are :) Or that sharks only take one bite if they do bite even though tigers are widely documented to have undiscerning palates as far as sharks go and unusual for them to swim away when attacking humans as most other sharks do. But my point as a whole, you are putting out more negative perception than positive

    ---------- Post added July 30th, 2014 at 10:29 AM ----------

    Really, this is the first article that came up in the dailymail when I googled tiger shack attack Bahamas, they shut down commenting but the are the first nine before they did. If you read other news reports you will find similar comments. The third article listed on google search is titled expert calls for shark feeding ban after fatality, read comments there, one guy actually had some personal background on the diver which is interesting.

    Comments (9)
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    Californian, Sacramento, United States, 1 week ago
    Who would have thought "shark diving" would be dangerous?
    112Click to rate
    dingbat-40, Toronto, Canada, 1 week ago
    At least the shark left his equipment alone.
    07Click to rate
    Last Sane Guy, Hidden City, United States, 1 week ago
    Two lives are not worth this guy's adventure business. He should be shut down.
    26Click to rate
    New yorker, Watertown, United States, 1 week ago
    I'm sorry, but what a stupid sport!
    29Click to rate
    Downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles, United States, 1 week ago
    First to film a woman dressed as a mermaid swimming among baited sharks. Wow. I wonder who came up with this first. I can't say enough!
    09Click to rate
    Jamine, Washington, 1 week ago
    What a dumb fool thing to do. No one should be surprised by this outcome. These Thrill-Seekers should pay the expenses for search and recovery efforts.
    27Click to rate
    Jamine, Washington, 1 week ago
    What a dumb fool thing to do...these Thrill-seekers should not be surprised by this outcome and should pay for the expense of search and recovery.
    23Click to rate
    FIVEGuys-1punch, Dallas, United States, 1 week ago
    He is a chiropractor, not a real doctor.
    137Click to rate
    bw, Los Angeles, 1 week ago
    First dive firm to film a woman dressed as a mermaid with baited sharks -- who wouldn't trust them with their life?
    39Click to rate

    Read more: Search ends for Texas doctor who disappeared while shark-diving | Mail Online
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    From the locals

    Do Americans Realize that when they "Tame " a shark and train them to beg for food ; when they beg the next Bahamian diver or fisherman for food they get speared , power headed , or hooked on deck and bleed out ! Bahamians fear of tame sharks may or may not be justified ; it doesn't matter , tame sharks will be killed when they get too friendly with the wrong Bahamian .

    Note : a reef shark may stay at the scuba dive cite where Bahamians avoid ; but tigers and hammerheads have wide ranges

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    generalcrazy1 week, 2 days ago

    If these crazy foreigners want to go swimming with sharks that's their business, but just don't blame us when something goes wrong.
  4. Doug Kahle

    Doug Kahle Angel Fish

    # of Dives:
    Location: West Palm Beach
    You have officially lost all credibility.

    Please tell me you did not try to support your argument by selectively choosing articles and comments from the masses? You did not really do that, did you? Do you want me to selectively pick some quotes and articles that say the exact opposite?

    Advice: get in the water more than once per year.
  5. Grouperdawg

    Grouperdawg Angel Fish

    Doug...I'm not trying to make any argument about sharks behavior with that, and I didn't selectively pick any, I posted them all in the first one that came up.

    i was trying to point out when these attacks happen there is way more damage to shark conservation in the perception by the general public and probably have little background with sharks. I don't buy into the shark feeds change the publics perception of sharks for the better, one incident takes a major step the other way. My point was exactly what you said, about the masses, I guess I should have been clearer?

    wow...wish I could dive more
  6. Arubandi07

    Arubandi07 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Boynton Beach, FL
    Commercial fishing, Sharks caught for finning/food or as 'by-catch', does by far the greatest amount of damage, and I think it's safe to say, the vast majority of folks in the business don't give a damn about any of our concerns in re to conservation, least of all 'public' perception. The 'masses' come into play, when Shark attacks per se result in knee jerk reaction bullsh=t like the Aussie "shark mitigation program" and other idiotic efforts to keep the beach-going public 'safe' ... The impact of that pales in comparison to that of the global fishing industry. And while this may sound like I don't care, I actually do; just calling things as I see them, that's all ...
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2014
    Wingy likes this.
  7. diverdoug1

    diverdoug1 Marine Scientist

    # of Dives: 2,500 - 4,999
    Location: Florida (via Texas and New York)
    This was taken 2 weeks ago 12 miles out of Big Pass in Sarasota. No bait. Estimated length 12 to 14 feet.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2014
    HalcyonDaze and vincent54 like this.
  8. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    What's worse than bad publicity? No publicity at all. As someone who makes his living off of being a "media" I see this as a myopic as well as a naive statement. Can an event be blown so out of proportion that it hurts industry? Sure. Look at the reprehensible media coverage of the BP Deepwater oil spill. That was a Chicken Little Phenomenon where the impact was exaggerated far beyond any scope of reality. Most of the economic damage done to Florida was by the media and not the spill.

    Sure, we have a few people driven by professional jealousy trying to make this into something it isn't. I just read the official incident report from the Bahamas. The word "shark attack" was never used. So, we have to wonder why anyone is still pushing this as a shark attack? Unfortunately, I have inside information that I can't share that indicates that the diver should not have gone diving that day. He made a decision against advice otherwise and did not survive his choice. Why blame the sharks or even the charter for a personal choice that ended up badly?

    The problem I have with your quotes, is with the people who blithely displayed their ignorance and bias. Pick a sport, especially a small one, and you'll find all sorts of myths and misconceptions attributed to the activity. Should we stop because we are being misunderstood by some? That would be preposterous. I don't buy into the group think like that.
  9. DocVikingo

    DocVikingo Senior Member

    Talk about lame--see material in bold at end of piece.

    "Why Did This Shark Diver Disappear? did a heart attack, tiger shark or something else get him?

    Courtesy of the Aug ‘14 issue of Undercurrent ( www.undercurrent.org ) & DocVikingo

    At 8 p.m. on July 13, the U.S. Coast Guard received a distress call about John E. Petty, a 63-year-old diver missing from the Shear Water, a liveaboard used by Jim Abernethy's Scuba Adventures for its controversial cage-free shark dives in the Bahamas. On the Saturday prior, Petty, a chiropractor from Longview, TX, boarded the boat along with eight other divers and four crew in Palm Beach, FL, for an eight-night expedition to Tiger Beach, 20 miles off Grand Bahama's West End, with the goal of diving with its resident population of tiger sharks. The dive took place in the late afternoon near Memory Rock, and Petty was last seen by another diver in the group during the dive.

    Michael Stroscheim, manager of Scuba Adventures, told the Longview News-Journal that the trip was Petty's first with his company, and that Shear Water crew followed emergency procedures when he didn't return to the boat. "John was separated from the boat about 6:30 p.m. on Sunday. We are not really sure why. We do know that there was a current. When the crew realized he was not at the boat, they recalled the divers and initiated the search. Our protocol is 10 minutes. After that, we contacted the Coast Guard and at that point, the Coast Guard takes over."

    Operating out of Miami, the Coast Guard deployed an immediate air-and-sea search operation consisting of a cutter, a fixed-wing aircraft, and a helicopter. On Tuesday, the search-and-rescue crews recovered a dive mask. On Wednesday morning, they recovered a camera and some shredded dive gear. All were on the seafloor a nautical mile from where the Shear Water called in. On Thursday, after covering 4,600 miles in 64 hours, the Coast Guard called off the search. Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios of the Coast Guard's Miami station, says that because of the large tiger shark population, a fatal shark encounter could be a possibility.

    But Stroscheim told The Tribune newspaper in the Bahamas he believed Petty was the victim of a drowning. "The evidence does not point to a shark attack in this case. The diver most likely was separated underwater in a current, and we believe he probably ran out of air because of the way the gear was found, and then was disoriented and unable to get back to the boat -- and most likely it is a drowning incident. The most important thing with the dive gear is that the buckles were unbuckled -- a shark can't do that."

    Unlike many shark-diving outfits operating out of the Bahamas, Abernethy's Scuba Adventures doesn't use cages, and advertises this trip as only for divers with advanced open water training. According to Outside magazine, Petty received his advanced openwater certification in early July, shortly before he left for the Bahamas. Ken Knezick, owner of the dive travel agency Island Dreams in Houston, had dived with Petty and told the Longview News-Journal,"John is an extremely experienced and capable scuba diver."

    "Petty might have panicked and drowned, not have found his way back to the group and been lost at sea, or been injured and bled to death. We may never know."

    Scuba Adventures runs three or four Bahamas dive expeditions every month, and Abernethy has come under fire in the past for promoting dives with shark species known to pose a threat to humans. We wrote in our April 2008 issue about how Scuba Adventures lost an Austrian diver named Markus Groh to a bull shark that apparently mistook his calf for the baitbox put at the bottom to attract sharks. Abernethy himself has been bitten. In January 2011, he got a bite to the arm from a reef shark during an excursion to Tiger Beach. According to witnesses, Abernethy was bleeding profusely and needed stitches, but made a recovery and quickly went back to work.

    And shark bites may be more than an uncommon occurrence with him, may be happening more frequently than he'd like to admit. A former employee of Scuba Adventures tells Undercurrent that Abernethy and one of his boat captains, George Hughes, were each bitten in the hand or arm last summer. Both were treated in the Bahamas, but Abernethy allegedly told others he was spined by a fish he was cleaning. Abernethy didn't respond to questions from Undercurrent.

    Veteran dive writer and Undercurrent contributor John Bantin, who has gone on many shark dives in the Bahamas, says tiger sharks are the garbage collectors of the sea. Describing a dive he did there last summer for the British magazine Diver, he writes, "They'll try to eat anything, including underwater cameras, scuba tanks and in this case, evidently, me. One feels strangely detached when a huge tiger shark grabs your tank and swims off with you. It happened to me twice on the same dive, and I had started to think that my luck was running out . . . The shark, nicknamed Emma, now makes a habit of grabbing cameras and swimming off with them. It's a tiger shark's idea of a jolly jape. But my problem was that she took my tank while I was still wearing it. What do you do when a big 15-foot-long stripy fish with teeth grabs you? Well, there's not much you can do."

    Regarding Petty's disappearance, Bantin tells Undercurrent, "If this dive did happen in the dark, [probably no one] noticed it happen. He might have panicked and drowned, he might have not found his way back to the group and been lost at sea, he might have been injured and bled to death. I fear we'll never know."

    Neal Watson, president of the Bahamas Dive Association, is tired of Abernethy bringing bad publicity to Bahamas' sharks. He told The Tribune that Petty's disappearance is Scuba Adventures' third mishap in the Bahamas, and that the incident could be due to negligence and incompetence of the Shear Water crew. "This operation has a controversial history and does not operate under the Bahamas Diving Association's shark diving procedures and protocols that have been established to ensure safe interactive shark diving experiences." Shark feeding and shark diving is outlawed in all U.S. waters, so Scuba Adventures, based in Riviera Beach, FL, motors southeast to do cage-free shark dives in the Bahamas.

    "The big issue is when you watch the Today Show or Good Morning America, [or read] the press from around the world, they never said it was a U.S.-registered dive boat that was operating in the Bahamas," says Watson. "They say a scuba diver got killed by a shark attack in the Bahamas. So they pull up their anchor and go back home to South Florida, and we are stuck with the negative publicity of a situation they created through negligence and incompetence."

    Protocols for tiger shark diving without a cage include keeping people in a tight, confined area where they can be seen all the time, Watson says. "The crew should have seen what was going on the second it occurred, and been there to assist. You don't just later find out that you are missing somebody -- I think it was negligence on the part of the company." While the Bahamas Diving Association has no control over U.S. dive operators, it's in discussions with the Bahamas government to ensure that they follow that country's official diving procedures.

    Undercurrent contributor Bret Gilliam stands up for Abernethy and how Scuba Adventures runs its dives, and divers who sign up for his trips should be aware of all possibilities and accept the outcomes. "Petty made a deliberate, informed decision to dive outside cages with sharks, specifically tigers. These are known potentially dangerous predators and there are obvious risks. It is up to the individual diver to decide if those risks are acceptable. Jim Abernethy has excellent protocols for his operation, provides complete briefings and advice prior to dives, and emphasizes that this activity can incur extreme hazards and risk of attack. Guests must execute a detailed and fully descriptive waiver and release document that lays out all potential risks. There is no question that divers are fully informed and it's up to them to make a conscious intelligent decision to participate."

    And if Abernethy follows his own past procedures, he's not going to do anything different. He spoke to Undercurrent back in 2009, after Scuba Adventures was cleared of wrongful doing in Markus Groh's death. "The main reason why I haven't changed anything is because sharks don't eat people," he said then. "Sharks do not seek them out, I've never seen a shark being aggressive toward people. He said he looks at sharks the way the Audubon Society looks at birds. "They've been selling bird feeders for years, and birdwatchers feed birds, but every now and then, a bird will bite a person as a mistake. However, feeding the birds is an opportunity for people to get close to these animals so they can see them. -- Vanessa Richardson”


  10. The Chairman

    The Chairman Chairman of the Board

    # of Dives: I just don't log dives
    Location: Cave Country!
    That's a lot of conjecture and it portrays Abernethy as something he isn't. Let's be real, Watson sees Abernethy as a competitor. He's going to take any shot he can to try and shut him down. Here's the report from the Bahamian government.

    Attached Files:

    danvolker likes this.

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