Monday, October 5, 2009
There are a number of important facts about scuba diving that you need to know. The first one is that you need to have a self-contained underwater breathing apparatus. These high pressure tanks that are strapped to the back of the diver, provide air to the diver that is regulated through a breathing device. This lets the diver go very deep in the water without worrying about coming up for oxygen.
Next of the facts about scuba diving is that you need specific diving apparel to protect your body and allow you to swim easily. Such apparel includes wetsuits, gloves, hoods, computer watch, etc. The next fact about scuba diving is that nearly anyone can be certified for scuba diving. More than one million people get certified for scuba diving each year. As long as you can put on a heavy tank filled with compressed and dive down deep, you can become certified. The thing that scares most people away from scuba diving is that breathing through the rubber tube connected to the air tank is the only way to stay alive that deep in the water. People have a fear that something will go wrong, but it is rare that something does.
The next of the facts about scuba diving is that the diver must make a decision on what type of underwater adventure would be preferred. You could dive in warm or cold water, or explore locations of shipwrecks. If you are on a cruise or in other specific instances, you may not have to get certified before going scuba diving. In cruises to the Caribbean, Acapulco, and the Florida Keys, you can get a one day crash course on scuba diving before you go exploring.
If you want to become a serious diver, you will need to know the mental and physical facts about scuba diving before pursuing the sport. Physically, you will need to look at your swimming, breathing, and equalizing abilities. You need to be able to swim well, not only for exploring, but also in case of an emergency where you need to be rescued.
Breathing-wise, you need to be able to breath solely through your mouth. This is one of the most important facts about scuba diving, because otherwise you won't be able to stay under water. When it comes to equalizing, you need to know how to "pop" your ears. When you go deep in the water, there is a lot of pressure that builds up in the ears, and so you must "pop" your ears in order to equalize the pressure. To do this correctly, you will need to consult your scuba instructor or a doctor.
The last of the facts about scuba diving is knowing whether you have any physical conditions that might limit your ability to scuba dive. Such conditions include being overweight, fatigued, having diabetes, heart conditions, or any other ailments, and prone to drowning. It is always a good idea to get a physical done by a doctor before scuba diving.
For information on purchasing scuba diving apparel and equipment or finding scuba diving lessons, start searching online. You are sure to find everything you need.
Source: Article Base
Shark Cage diving Cape Town
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
There are two areas where Great White diving is done, Gansbaai and Mosselbaai. Both these destinations can be reached with a scenery drive from Cape Town International Airport. Below is some information on these areas and Great White Cage diving. Also some information on other diving sites.
Daily shark diving/sighting tours (weather permitting) are done off Gansbaai, a mere stone-throw away from the most southern tip of the African Continent. Approx. 12km offshore from Gansbaai (2hrs drive from Cape Town) there are two islands situated next to each other. Due to a number of geographical reasons - one being the shallow and narrow channel that runs between these two islands - Dyer Island has become known as one of only two unique areas in the world, where the chances to view the great white shark, rises exceptionally high. Other wildlife species such as Cape Fur Seals, Cape Gannets, Cape Cormorants, Jackass penguins, whales and dolphins are also likely to be sighted.
Gansbaai is little holiday and fishing village situated a 160km from Cape Town. The area has several attractions for the nature lover with whale watching being the most popular. Accommodation may be taken close by at a very nice chalets with small harbour and sea views offering excellent meals. The shark dives are launched from the neighboring Kleinbaai. Cage diving is strictly regulated by the authorities and conducted in an ethical way in accordance with international standards. It is bsolutely safe and you need not have any diving experience at all, only a short course on safety and the use of the equipment.
On a typical day we meet the skipper early in the morning and then head out about 9 am and return about 3 pm - depending on the conditions, wind direction and currents you proceed to one of numerous holes, put down anchor and set out the bait. Only bait that forms part of the animal's natural diet is used.
We then wait for the Great Whites to find us. This can take anything from minutes to several hours. In the meantime every one is briefed on the procedures, and the cage is put into the water. The cage is securely attached to a platform on the back of the boat and the top of the cage floats about 23cm above the water. It is constructed of steel bars and is closed off at the top by means of a gate.
Once the first shark is spotted the bait lines are drawn in towards the boat so that everybody has the opportunity to view and admire this magnificent predator. The first cage renters the water and the lines are drawn slowly towards the cage to lure the shark. This is an emotional and heart stopping experience.
It must be remembered that these are wild animals, and no guarantees can be given that they will be sighted on a particular day. It is therefore advisable to budget for at least two consecutive days diving. Statistics kept of sightings over the last five years in Mosselbaai help to pick the best possible time of the year being April to July and September to November. In late Aug and early September 2004 there is a lot of shark activity, they are seeing 9 – 15 sharks a day.
In Gansbaai the best time of the year is in our winter season (April - September), when the sharks are particularly active in their feeding patterns (80-99%). Even though you still have a chance of seeing the sharks during the other months (October - February), their feeding patterns are different and they tend to have inconsistent feeding behaviour by feeding actively the one day and less active on other day's. However, due to breeding season amongst the seals on Dyer Island during the months November to January natural feeding predations are often seen in the area. Sighting rate in the low season is approx. 60%.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
Ecotourism might well be a way of saving some of the sharks. If living animals are more valuable to locals than dead ones, they might survive.
Jaws - What Great White Sharks Eat
The Great White Shark (Carcharodon carcharias) was made famous by Steven Spielberg's film ‘Jaws’, where it is portrayed as a rather malevolent creature intent on eating humans. This is probably not true, and it is thought that Great Whites bite humans ‘by mistake’ more often than not. Their preferred prey (seals and large fish) have much more fat than the average human swimmer, and it has even been suggested that they cannot easily digest humans!
The normal hunting strategy of the Great White Shark is to attack once, and then wait around until the prey becomes a bit weaker before going in for a meal. Humans usually manage to get out of the water before the final stage, and many survive. Biologist Douglas Long has been quoted as saying that ‘more people are killed in the U.S. each year by dogs than have been killed by great white sharks in the last 100 years’. (This does not help if you are one of the few!).
Intelligence of Great White Sharks
All predators have complex behaviour, and many seem to have some sort of intelligence. Great Whites are quite social (for sharks) and are very curious. They are one of the very few species of shark that will ‘spy-hop’ to look around. This behaviour lifts the head out of the water and is something that Killer Whales also do. Since Great Whites rarely survive long in captivity there have been few studies of their mental capacities, but observation in the wild seem to suggest that they might be one of the few animals that will ‘play’ – by dragging bits of seaweed along behind themselves.
Great White Sharks' Enemies
Only Humans and Killer Whales pose any real threat to Great White Sharks, and, of course, other Great Whites! While they can be social at times, they can also be cannibals. Killer Whales rarely attack them, but humans often do – a set of jaws can be worth as much as £20,000, and the fins are quite valuable too. Great Whites will eat Dolphins, but Dolphins have also been reported as ‘mobbing’ Great Whites on occasion, and even killing them with repeated ramming.
Rather like whale watching, cage-diving attracts enthusiasts. Here divers go down inside robust metal cages and sharks are lured to the scene. This form of ecotourism gives the diver/tourists an immense adrenaline rush, and incidentally makes shark conservation worthwhile. Jaws might be worth £20,000, but a single boat can make as much every day there are paying tourists.
Many species of shark are endangered. Maybe ecotourism can help by making the living animal more valuable to local fishermen than the fins or teeth? When a single species, such as the Great White is actively conserved huge numbers of other species, and the habitat, are also saved. So, if you enjoy having yourself scared almost-to-death, then ‘go for it’ – you might be helping preserve one of nature’s most misunderstood predators.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Close on 73 million sharks are murdered each year, and this is a conservative claim. If the wholesale slaughter of these magnificently adapted creatures is not stopped with immediate effect, sharks may well join the ranks of the dodo, the Tasmanian wolf and the quagga.
bodies are struggling to get the attention of world governments in an effort to regulate shark fisheries but the fact that sharks have a poor public image in conjunction with the low economic viability of these fisheries has made this task near to impossible.
7.8 million sharks killed off the Southern African coast alone
Recent literature published in the National Geographic suggests that 7.8 million sharks are killed off the Southern African coast alone each year, and largely by mistake. Hooks intended for other maritime creatures often find sharks instead and although recreational fishermen are slowly embracing a ‘catch and release’ method, many opt to remove the shark from the planet permanently.
The insatiable Asian appetite for shark fin soup and other mythical delicacies has elevated the status of at least 1/5 of all shark species to the seriously endangered list but it is not only the rampant killing that is so disturbing, it is the unconscionable cruelty that shows a total lack of respect for the species.
The fin is generally removed with a hot metal blade but instead of putting the critically maimed creature out of its misery, it is simply tossed back into the water to die a slow and painful death. The immobile victim will either suffocate or fall prey to other ocean going predators.
It is not only the east that is responsible for the unprecedented depletion of shark stocks throughout the world
- In Australia, the main ingredient of fish and chips is shark, disguised as ‘flake'.
- In India, baby sharks are considered a rare delicacy and are the main component of the popular dish ‘sora puttu’.
- In Iceland, the national dish is ‘hakarl’ or fermented shark.
Late maturation increases vulnerability
What makes the shark particularly vulnerable to extinction is the fact that they mature later than other animals and consequently cannot breed rapidly enough to sustain their populations. It has been documented that some species have declined by over 90% in the past 30 years but an overall 70% decline would not be out of the ballpark.
The Great white shark, vilified in the cult movie ‘Jaws’, has made it onto a rather unenviable list, that of the Convention of International Trade in Endangered Species or C.I.T.E.S Appendix II list of endangered species but fortunately the sheer majesty and brute power of these sharks has won them a few friends.
Shark cage diving leads to a better understanding
Shark cage diving off the coast of Cape Town, for instance, has had a positive impact on the future of these beasts. By observing them closely in their natural habitat, a lot has been learnt of these demonized creatures of the deep. Finally some of the myths that have led to the brutal killing of this magnificent creature have been laid to rest but the industry as a whole needs to be effectively regulated if we are to protect the dwindling number of sharks in our waters.