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Shark bite on Shear Water, Bahamas

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Hopefully the real details will be clarified as soon as possible to minimize the speculation. Sad day.

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I doubt the media will highlight that not-insignificant detail... <_<

 

The cause of death in the reports is all speculation and really does not change the situation nor would it change the underlying fact that the person died from a shark bite - yes the ascent could be the cause and the press may ignore it, but it does not serve the interest of anyone (at least IMO) who involved in trying to stop sharks from being potrayed in a certain way to say "the shark did not cause this person's death." As divers we understand the difference between the two.

 

As Simon mentioned, just a sad story for all involved - the diver, his friends and family and Jim and the others.

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I feel sad that a fellow diver who wanted the opportunity to interact with some of the world's most fascinating animals has died from a unfortunate accident. Hopefully we'll all be a little more careful. But this is an accident.

 

I'm also sickened by the news channels and reporting of misinformation. They should wait till the get the real story. You'd think it happened off Ft. Lauderdale from some of the reports.

 

I for one will certainly be more careful. I'm leaving on March 5th for Tiger Beach, hopefully this will not cause the trip to not go or cause a wonderful experience like shark diving to be shut down.

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Attention all shark divers: certain individuals have already started mudslinging in the media. Instead of participating in any of that, we'd like to provide a place for positive words about all parties involved in yesterday's unfortunate shark bite accident in the Bahamas. If you have anything to say in support of Markus Groh (the diver who passed away), Jim Abernethy, the M/V Shear Water, or her crew, please leave a comment at the bottom of this message or contact us with your message.

 

We'd love a place to collect stories about Jim's dedication to sharks. If you've got a cool story about how Jim or his crew made you love sharks or gave you the best shark dive of your life, please share it with us! We're also interested in anecdotes about his operation and character. If you have a story about Markus Groh (whom I did not know), please share it here, as well.

 

Please only comment if you've been out on the Shear Water or if you knew Markus personally. This is not the venue for sharing random speculation.

 

Share your stories here: http://wetpixel.com/i.php/full/seeking-tes...-v-shear-water/

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Speculating the cause of death right now is useless. Let's wait for the Medical Examiner's official call. We don't know what killed him and there are numerous reasons of how he could've died.

All we do know is he died after being bitten by a shark. Let's not join in the hysteria of speculation that has already started.

Wetpixel has already been quoted on WPTV 5 as a source. I think to be responsible, we should minimize the conjecture and speculation and wait for the ME's final word.

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Considering how much Jim has enriched so many divers lives, I hope they can now take just a moment reach out with support and share their testimonials.

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As today Dr. Ritter started a lawsuit with DIGIDEEP.com accusing us to demote his academic title in public

 

Whoopsy Daisy. :)

 

It seems he is getting more popular with each passing day.

 

Is there anyone he doesn`t want to add to his long list .................?

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Whoopsy Daisy.

 

It seems he is getting more popular with each passing day.

 

Is there anyone he doesn`t want to add to his long list .................?

I think there's enough mud slinging going around without having more about someone else. There'll be plenty of time in the days ahead to do the rest. Please try to keep on topic for this thread for obvious reasons.

Thanks for your understanding.

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I was deeply saddened to see this news, which appeared in a local paper in Zurich, Switzerland where I live. And the coverage was much more objective and less sensationalized than the US media.

 

I have been on the Shearwater three times, on many dives with bait in the water and tiger and lemon sharks around. The Shearwater crew always stressed safety and appreciation of these animals. The sad fact is no matter how safe you are and how you follow the rules, it is not reasonable to assume this activity is without risk. Its a risk every diver who stepped off the boat was aware of, but unfortunately not many see as a serious possibility once the sharks showed up and the shutters started clicking.

 

Its only natural to want to blame someone for such senseless losses - the shark, Jim Abernathy, the dive industry. The fact of the matter is someone who exposed themselves to a risk paid the ultimate price, but they did it doing something they loved.

 

My sincere condolences and prayers go to the family of this diver.

 

Philip Lewin

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I personally did not know Markus Groh, but I can feel quite certain that if I had met him on Jim's boat we would have quite quickly developed a sense of camaraderie, and become friends, as I did with all the divers I have met on his boat before. Not only do divers on the Shearwater automatically share a love for sharks and diving just by being there, but with Jim as the enthusiastic team leader, by the end of the trip, the divers have become part of a big family who have shared Jim's love for these remarkable animals. I hope that somehow my condolences can be transmitted to the family of Markus, and I would like to participate in any such gesture that Wetpixel might consider. (Particularly those who have been part of the Shearwater family)

Edited by loftus

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Once a diver has been part of the Shearwater experience their fascination with sharks becomes something of an ethereal experience - a consuming passion - often difficult to articulate to people who have yet to go diving with Jim and his team. Safety is always their first priority - their experience - their understanding - their focus - that willingness to "Get the shot" - to go the extra mile. The constant lookout for every ones safety & well being is always there - not just now and then - always.

 

Thats what sets the team at JASA head & shoulders above any other operation I have ever dived with, and the reason that I and others like me come back year after year - its like nothing else - anywhere else !

 

My condolences to the family & friends of Markus Groh , and passengers and crew on board the Shearwater.

 

 

 

THE DIVERS PRAYER

 

Almighty God,

Our Heavenly Father,

we, who descend into the depths of the seas,

beseech Thee to protect and guide us in Your Aquatic Kingdom.

We pray that Thee can find a worth in those who search the waters of the Seven Seas to increase the knowledge of man,

to seek and understand the vast mysteries of our past as well as that abundant world which lives below the surface of the water,

and to enjoy this new found world and all it has to offer.

As we small people work below ,

 

Dear God, watch over us and help us to return safely to our earth-world.

But, Heavenly Father, should we perish in this watery-world,

we beg that Thee will forgive our earthly sins,

cleanse our hearts and souls, and lead us to Thy Celestial Kingdom to serve Thee forever and ever.

Amen

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I've been on Shear Water three times -- each time we had some interaction with sharks. I've been to tiger beach twice. It is unfortunate this happened and it is unfortuntate that so many seem to be jumping to conclusions. Here in Orlando today, the headline on top of the local news section is: "Inside: Shark-baiting turns deadly near Bahamas." The actual story headline is: "Man dies from shark bite after open-water dive in bloody waters". The actual story is from the AP and is fairly objective except for the seemingly ubiquitous quote at the end from Neal Watson. Shark diving has always been controversial, but I have to say that Jimmy took what could only be considered to be a very cautious approach. That being said, when you put people together with other large predatory animals, inevitable is a word that is probably appropriate. However, that applies to many other things as well. It seems that we hardly bat an eye when a person is killed by another person (remember that we, if not the largest, are certainly the most numerous and persistent predatory animals there are). Yet one single bite from a shark can generate international outrage. Face it -- despite the waivers, warnings, etc., diving with sharks is dangerous. In doing so, I made a risk decision and did it. I've made similar decisions every time I've gone mountatin biking, skiing and non-shark diving in strong currents (how many people died due to strong currents last year -- anyone? I almost had a friend die in a mountain biking incident -- does that make it something I will never do again? Hardly. I would like to think that my friendship with Jimmy doesn't cloud my judgement. I would also like to think that if it had been another operator I would still be waiting for the fact before sounding an alarm. The issue seems to be that the immediate assumption is that Jimmy somehow unduly put people at risk. All I can say is that my experience with him makes me question that assumption. I hope that all the work he has done to promote awareness of large sharks isn't damaged too much by this unfortunate accident.

 

Mike

 

PS -- River rat -- GO!

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A particularly articulate and cogent post, Mike(O).

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Agreed....well put MikeO.....

 

Having said that, I am a little nervous about my May trip which I plan to do on the Nekton to the Bahamas.....I particularly want to do the shark dives. However the danger was never "real" to me till I read about such incidents ..... It's just like going through the posts on diver passings ....sobering.

 

I think a healthy respect for these magnificent creatures is very important. However, I WILL be staring down into the water till I am ready to get out and next up the ladder! Lol....

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Agreed....well put MikeO.....

 

Having said that, I am a little nervous about my May trip which I plan to do on the Nekton to the Bahamas.....I particularly want to do the shark dives. However the danger was never "real" to me till I read about such incidents ..... It's just like going through the posts on diver passings ....sobering.

 

I think a healthy respect for these magnificent creatures is very important. However, I WILL be staring down into the water till I am ready to get out and next up the ladder! Lol....

I think a very important point that Mike made is the concept of inevitability; with any activity that involves risk, an accident is almost inevitable, sooner or later. I would probably put the level of risk of this activity as probably similar to skydiving, an activity enjoyed by thousands, but with the inevitable accident from time to time. Every individual has to answer for themselves whether they want to pursue any activity that involves risk when no one is making them do it, and most people will think us crazy for doing it just as they would skydiving or mountain climbing.

I personally plan to continue diving with Jim though probably with even more respect for these awesome animals.

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I think a very important point that Mike made is the concept of inevitability; with any activity that involves risk, an accident is almost inevitable, sooner or later. I would probably put the level of risk of this activity as probably similar to skydiving, an activity enjoyed by thousands, but with the inevitable accident from time to time. Every individual has to answer for themselves whether they want to pursue any activity that involves risk when no one is making them do it, and most people will think us crazy for doing it just as they would skydiving or mountain climbing.

I personally plan to continue diving with Jim though probably with even more respect for these awesome animals.

 

I agree on all counts. Diving with sharks doesn't "worry" me; I just have great respect for them (and carry a big camera to try to keep between me and them). I think it depends greatly on the circumstances...are you by yourself or in a group, near bait or not...and specific species. I will say that the times I've been in the water with bull sharks, they make me nervous (they seem slightly emotionally imbalanced - fidgety, nervous, etc.), whereas others (tigers) almost never have caused me any anxiety...mostly because of Jim's briefings and protocols.

 

I won't speculate as to what Jim will/won't be allowed to do in the future on Shear Water, but my guess is that the shark diving being offered/done for the rest of this year (by ALL boats in the Bahamas) will be done unusually conservatively. So I certainly wouldn't be at ALL nervous about going on a trip you already have booked.

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I don NOT support shark diving.

 

Simply, I vote with my pocketbook and won't go on any dive trip where sharks are fed or teased. I consider this very sad occurance to be inevitable. That it happen where the operator's safety record is above reproach simply highlight the fact that this is a dangerous activity.

 

However, I don't support anybody denying your right to do this stupid thing.

 

Tom

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....I would probably put the level of risk of this activity as probably similar to skydiving, an activity enjoyed by thousands, but with the inevitable accident from time to time. Every individual has to answer for themselves whether they want to pursue any activity that involves risk when no one is making them do it, and most people will think us crazy for doing it just as they would skydiving or mountain climbing.

I personally plan to continue diving with Jim though probably with even more respect for these awesome animals.

.....

However, I don't support anybody denying your right to do this stupid thing.

I don't usually mind anyone doing whatever they durn well please but I do draw the line when someone does something that reasonably can effect me. If someone wants to take the risk to sky dive, if something goes wrong, about the only way that I could be effected is if that person landed on my head. I'm not worried about that. If someone is baiting, feeding, chumming for, etc. sharks, there are several ways I am effected. That's why I don't like anyone doing it. I don't want a wild and potentially dangerous animal being taught that I may have some food for it with me. I don't want the media telling stories like this one and getting anyone less sympathetic to sharks. I don't want the shark-finners to have another reasons to say they are doing the world a favor.

 

I love sharks too but I want to safely see and photograph them for the next 50 years. The fact that some people are getting lovely close up shots of lots of them only bothers me because some of them are making it harder for me to do what I want.

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Ive just heard about the accident. There is a way to dive with sharks out of a cage without getting hurt. Its called a SHARK SUIT. http://www.neptunic.com

 

I wear one to dive with the Humbolt squid in mexico and so do all of my customers. For years the shark dive industry has been living under the impression that they are good not lucky and that there is no need for protection of their customers. I dont know of a single shark dive operation that gives armor to its customers even though its readily available. Guides and people who feed them directly get armor but not the customer 15 feet away. ;)

 

If you dive with sharks with no armor, you are right, its like skydiving, only with no reserve chute. Whats the back up plan for "dont worry the shark wont bite you." It should be some type of secondary protection for the diver in the situation. I dive with sharks, and Humboldt squid and I have had people give me a hard time because I wear my armor on every dive that I know that there will be a shark or Humboldt around. These animals have evolved over millions of years and it is disrespecfull to expect them to act any way other than the way they are built for. If you are going to dive with dangerous animals you need to protect yourself for the POTENTIAL DOWNSIDE OF THE ENCOUNTER out of respect for the abilities of the apex predator you are going to try and take a picture of.

 

If the dive operation does not offer shark armor you can still buy your own, it costs about half of a good camera and should be included in the gear for any extreme underwater person.

 

 

Or you can jump without the reserve chute...... :)

 

GTB

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Neal Watson, the president of the Bahamas Diving Association and owner of Neal Watson's Undersea Adventures, has been blasting Jim all over the news. All news outlets list him as president of BDA and ignore that fact that he owns a competing shark diving organization. Watson's shark dives are also cageless and baited, but they are different because he actively feeds sharks while divers are in the water (feeding is different than baiting) and claims that he doesn't do cageless shark dives with the "œ10 dangerous species" of sharks. But then, Watson includes lemon sharks in that list, which immediately gives it no credibility. Also, how do you keep a tiger shark away? Is there some sort of magic underwater fence he uses?

 

As someone who represents the BDA, I don't see how Watson can attack Jim without also attacking his own operation or operations like the Dolphin Dream and Gulf Stream Eagle, who both do the exact same dives. It gets even stranger: the Dolphin Dream is a member of the Bahamas Diving Association!. Dolphin Dream claims that they do "caged or cageless dives where [they] chum and shark feed these large top predators," referring to their operation with tiger sharks and great hammerhead sharks. No one I know who has been on the Dolphin Dream has ever been in a cage. So how can the BDA be attacking cageless dives with big sharks, when they do it themselves?

 

You can see how Watson's hypocrisy might be pissing some of us off. After this is all over, you can bet that I'll be vocal about boycotting anything Watson touches.

 

In the meantime, all we can do is support Markus Groh and his family, Jim Abernethy, and all shark diving operations in the Bahamas.

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On at least two occasions that I have dived at Tiger Beach, Dolphin Dream was a few hundred yards away, so they obviously go to the same area. If he wants to sling mud, I think it will be quite easy to solicit information about his operation and the unsupervised manner in which they conduct open water Tiger Shark dive experiences.

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