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Les Stroud's latest dangerous antics with sharks!


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#21 danielandrewclem

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Posted 07 August 2009 - 07:14 AM

I was watching "The Colbert Report" on Comedy Central the other night and was pleased that Colbert had some fun with Discovery Channel for its habit of having it both ways with its Shark Week content.
You can watch the full episode here: http://www.comedycen...pisodeId=240756
Go to the 12-minute mark.
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#22 Drew

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 03:13 AM

It seems that the poly carbonate cage was used in the Shark Week episode "Great White Appetite" and NOT in "Deadly Waters". Both are productions of Gurney Productions.
I'll try to watch Deadly Waters tomorrow and see what really happened.

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#23 Drew

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 10:30 AM

My review of Deadly Waters:

Opening scene 1: Les heli-jumps onto a reef shark, probably scaring the crap out of it. He is survivor man but why jump into a shark?
Segment 1: Bahamas with Stuart Cove: A veiled mention of the Marcus Groh incident with slight inaccuracy on facts but how is that important? The experiment with trailing and stationary chumsicle is a lot better than his antics with stuffing a mannequin with a wetsuit and bait fish to provoke tigers to bite the mannequin.
Segment 2: South Pacific (the controversial Beqa Lagoon shark dives this thread is about). Fairly innocuous start with Teresa Carrette talking about bull sharks. The feeding of the bulls leads to apparently bumping of the cameras and Les "retreats" due to the aggression of the sharks Then they both strangely hang in the water at the back of the boat calmly chatting about the dive. Les even jumps onto the platform first, leaving Teresa in the water alone.




Segment 3: South Africa: Seems like a repeat of Great White Appetite Seal Island segment but with Les instead of Graham. Rob Lawrence looks confused on which show he's on (sorry Rob, maybe they didn't give you enough caffeine to talk like Les... I think you were cooler leaping onto Seal Island to get the net off the seal and getting bit than Les' antics! :))
Segment 4: Australia: Another cross with GWA so it's almost a repeat! Best sequence of the show, natural predation of an Albatross despite their attempts to wrangle the shark. Not sure if that was staged or not but it sure looks cool. Of course another hand feed with macho Les.
Segment 5: Florida: Using prosthetic arms and legs, tries to 'test' whether sharks go for fish or arm first. Adds disclaimer that due to distance from shore, "scientists" say it's impossible to habituate sharks to seek similar forearms to attack. Also mentions FL ban on shark chumming.

So pertaining to this thread, the sequences from Fiji showed the bulls starting to bump cameras and show aggressive behavior, especially when once the hand feeding started. Anyone who's done a bull shark feed dive will probably have seen a more calm shark coming out to feed. Did Gurmey production crew push the boundaries of the Aqua Trek shark dives? The sharks definitely had contact with cameras. Whether it was the camera man shoving the camera at the shark or the other way round is impossible to tell since the editing was so crappy, especially since they intermixed clips from different dives with different conditions (blue water/green water, bad viz/good viz). Only the people on the dives will be able to say what happened. Les definitely hand fed a shark as well to prove his survivor man toughness. I also don't know who the scientists they are quoting from. I wonder if those scientists know that sharks go to feeding grounds seasonally and can also be trained to differentiate color etc. Seeing one hand or leg with chum next to it is association and it doesn't take much for a shark to learn, especially ones which see humans all the time.
More made for TV sharksploitation? Definitely. Any conservation message? Lost in the quick editing and the bravado lines, I couldn't really tell. The mad killer shark myth was certainly perpetuated with this program!
Another note is that with all the cage dives and shark wrangling of the great whites, there was notable scars and even a new wound on the sharks in the nose and forehead area. I already think this sort of wrangling is dumb enough but if the sharks are getting scratched up against the cages or boats because of the wrangling, then that's going too far.
I know Shark Week is Discovery's biggest ratings week but seriously, people watch this crap?

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#24 crubie

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 04:07 PM

Drew,

Summary is spot on !... :)

Having watched this, I am definitely going to suggest to Jim Abernethy to organise Helicopter Jump entries onto the Lemons/Tigers next time we go to Tiger Beach !... Or maybe from the micro-light ? :)

Both programs got me so pissed off at the TV, my wife (who was in the next room) thought there was a new presidential debate on...

On a more serious note :

- I completely agree with your point concerning the scaring on the great whites and I wonder if and how staged the attack on the zodiac (GWA) actually was...

-In addition. I have not been diving with Stuart Cove, but really wonder why he keeps being associated with these programs

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#25 Drew

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 02:48 AM

-In addition. I have not been diving with Stuart Cove, but really wonder why he keeps being associated with these programs

Well, money and exposure. It's pretty simple. The majority of shark divers do it for the adrenaline rush of diving with "deadly" animals. So the more exposure the better for his operations. And production companies pay pretty well.
To him, the general perception of sharks has to stay somewhat dangerous for his dives to make money. And his area, the sharks are protected.
Would sharks get more protection if their public image solicited more empathy to their plight? Many think yes. That's the issue. Sharks are highly evolved carnivores who have taken human lives. There is very little empathy for their plight because of that.
How many people stopped eating tuna because of dolphins being caught? Do you think there'll be the same amount of support for the "dangerous" shark? Reality does suck. Lions and hippos have killed more people but not in the 1st world areas where most are arm chair viewers.
What is needed are shows that bring empathy to the sharks without being too preachy. Flipperesque even!

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"Journalism is what someone else does not want printed, everything else is public relations."

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