Summertime Blues, Sharks that Is

meeting our match on this watery planet

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Facing our Fears & Meeting our Match

After spending thousands upon thousands of hours underwater, there are those unique interactions that stand out and help us regain some perspective of our life, and all life, on this Blue Planet.

There is perhaps nothing more special than a one on one interaction with a shark, as they are unquestionably our match here on Earth. Just as we humans are the top down predator on land, sharks manage the undersea world. However, as humans become more and more intertwined with the sea, our ecological balance with sharks is in danger, thus we are in danger [and possibly becoming endangered!].

Ocean Opportunity Inc. has a warm place in its heart for sharks, particularly local populations off the coast of Rhode Island, where summertime brings warm Gulf Stream water, and with it transient populations of blue and mako sharks. This summertime event lends itself incredibly well to shark diving excursions, and introducing people to these magnificent creatures.

We do our best to coordinate an annual shark diving event, in cooperation with Snappa Charters, that brings underserved groups the opportunity to experience sharks face to face – meeting our match, and inspiring people to find a new appreciation of our [human] role here on Earth. We have worked with school groups, educators, scientists, and film crews to bring this experience to everyone.

Stay tuned in to our newsletter for schedules and future opportunities to participate.

 

Support our Offshore Outreach

Help Ocean Opportunity Inc. introduce our resident shark populations to the local community through offshore excursions, creative media, and digital storytelling.

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Read more about our unique perspectives on sharks...

Manfish and Sharkbites

Well, it’s about time a rather frank perspective was cast out there for us, rather than simply continue to take the bait: http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/09/world/shark-attacks/index.html The gist? More shark attacks, yes, but also more people in the water. There are some simple cause and effects in life that just can’t be ignored. In my opinion, shark attacks happen to be one of them. Sharks have certainly taken center stage more routinely over the last several years, which is a good thing. And, we are learning more about these creatures because we’re spending more time out there on and under the water seeking them out. It just makes good sense that as the number of human interactions increases, so to will the number of attacks. Likewise for beach-goers. Jaws isn’t there waiting for a meal, but if he is increasingly confused by the sheer numbers of people frequenting his home, it seems rather...
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our counterpart, the sharks

On the eve of yet another ‘Shark Week‘, it goes without saying that our toothy counterparts deserve a bit of mention here on ‘A New Life’. I picked up the following graphic via Facebook, courtesy the Florida Museum of Natural History, which provides some useful data regarding the geographic distribution of shark attacks in recently recorded history (since late 1500’s or so). https://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/fish/sharks/statistics/GAttack/World.htm While some might say, ‘geez – over a thousand attacks in the US alone’, naturally  we must put this in context and then quickly realize that the odds of choking to death on your lunch are far greater than being killed by a shark. We’ve heard all of those comparisons before, ad nauseum, and in my opinion we have to take a much different perspective than the ‘us versus them’ perspective. In short, they (the sharks) are by far the superior species – surviving millions of years...
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big sharks in our backyard

Last week we took a much needed family vacation to Cape Cod. Among the many day trips was a drive out to Chatham to walk the national seashore area adjacent to Chatham Light. In the distance – seals, and lots of them. No better chomping ground for big sharks that a colony of seals congregated along a skinny shoal.   Unfortunately for we humans, the shark population along Cape Cod beaches has been seemingly on the rise over the last handful of years – or at least they are now going noticed. I’ve always thought that our knowledge of these populations is a function of time spent out there looking to some extent, which may well likely be the case here in New England. With typically dark water, it can be hard to spot animals without either more eyes out on the water, or efforts placed on aerial imaging –...
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Hello Genie! Monster White Shark here in the Ocean State

The last few years have been exciting for we ocean enthusiasts and professionals to say the least. While the convention had been the very rare great white shark sighting in Rhode Island waters – perhaps once every few years – by a fisherman spending enormous amounts of time out on the water, the power of technology is giving us a much better look at the population and migratory paths of the beast here on the Eastern seaboard. Just a few short days ago, ‘Genie’ was located off of Block Island. Great white shark sends signal from R.I. waters | Breaking News | providencejournal.com | The Providence Journal – The Providence Journal Spending huge amounts of time underwater, your mind can start to play games on you. You second guess shadows, have that eerie feeling that something is lurking right there over your shoulder, or that you are being stalked. Every...
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this shark feeds around every corner

With yet another Shark Week behind us, it’s time to take to the water’s edge with a renewed curiosity and appreciation for our toothy friends for yet another year. Just as I though I was shark-free here at home, I was presented with an argument that I was certainly not going to win – we needed a ‘Shark’, vacuum that is. A few years ago, the Mrs. convinced me that our floors would be cleaner than they ever have if we invested in a Shark – and so we did. While its a fine piece of equipment, I must say that it is only as effective as how often it gets put to work. When we bought this first Sharl I was assured that with the multitude of attachments, this would be the last vacuum we would ever need. She’s quite the saleswomen apparently. This past weekend I was sold...
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it’s a bad week to be a seal

For ocean enthusiasts big and small, it’s near impossible to tune in to Discovery’s Shark Week for at least some of the latest action. This week happens to be it. A few things go noticed for those of us that are more closely connected with the industry: 1. the ‘style’ of content delivery is as close to mainstream reality television as possible an environmental documentary. This is good in that it reaches today’s popular/mass audience (good for ratings). This is bad in that it is overly repetitive and appears ‘hoakie’. 2. Where’s the real ‘meat’. Certainly we do not know all there is to know about sharks, but one can only digest so much of white sharks breaching and feeding action- of course this sensationalism grabs audiences, but makes me tune out. 3. Poor seals – even the positioning statement for this year’s Shark Week of ‘it’s a bad week...
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‘basking’ in the sun

On the eve of Discovery’s Shark Week, I was invited by Captain Charlie Donilon (Snappa Charters)to head offshore of Rhode Island to assist with underwater filming for a feature film production by Garth Donovan. I’ve headed offshore to dive with our local sharks out in bluewater annually for about the last five years, with a kickoff project being a writing assignment for Rhode Island Monthly Magazine about blue sharks. I am constantly taken by this environment’s ability to envelope and intimidate. There’s nothing but blue – deep and vast – within which is home to en entirely new underwater world. I remain convinced that exploration of these offshore waters by humans is a new frontier for the taking.  English: Male Basking Shark (Cetorhinus maximus). (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Anyway, as these offshore shark diving days go, we spent the bulk of the day waiting, sharing sea stories, and wishfully thinking that our...
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sharky summers in New England

Summers here in New England bring a few things for shark lovers – ‘summertime blues’ off of the Rhode Island coast, Discovery’s ‘Shark Week’ of course, and in recent years…the Great White, making JAWS a reality. With great white sightings off of Cape Cod making national news headlines, I often field inquiries about my own experiences with sharks while diving. In the tropics, with clear water, sharks can be seen as a fairly common occurrence. I’ve spent enough time there to encounter numerous species – reefs, lemons, nurses, bulls, hammerheads, and others. Each has its own unique set of behaviors, and each interacts with humans just a little differently. Now, of course, I’ve spent far more time diving here in New England, and while I have seen sharks here, it is a far rarer occurrence. Does this reflect the numbers in the local population? or the fact that they are...
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swimming in sharky waters

The recent news that ultra swimmer Penny Palfrey’s team went so far as killing three sharks to enable her recent record is nothing short of appalling. Palfrey’s record to conduct a 67 mile ocean swim in the Caymans was nearly cut short as she was approached by several oceanic white tip sharks, so when it came down to breaking a record, or getting out of the water for personal safety – they killed the sharks. A few points jump out at me with this. First is that ‘records’ are nonsensical feats. While they do measure limits of human performance of oneself, or while pushing a technology, they are not undertakings essential to our immediate survival. Record breaking for sake of record breaking is a ‘stunt’, and with ‘stunts’ come incidents and accidents that are generally appalling from the public perspective. Second, know when to quit. If the pursuit of the record...
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one shark, two sharks, red shark, blue shark…

Within just minutes of dumping a shot of secret sauce (mackerel oil) overboard to add to our chum slick, the first blue shark made a pass by the boat to say hello. And I can assure you, they were much more prepared for us this past weekend, than we were for them… The two hour ride out to Cox’s Ledge, some 35 miles offshore from Pt. Judith, Rhode Island, was rather uneventful. However, as the boat came to a stop, the swell, coupled with low-sitting haze and stench of chum had many on board regretting their decision to sit out there in blue water for the day and wait around for sharks. Even I was queasy… Within a short amount of time, we had several blue sharks circling the cage, which was our cue to jump on in. Throughout the day, we had as many as nine relatively large blue...
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JAWS celebrates 35 years!

Thirty-five years ago, this very weekend, Steven Spielberg brought fear, panic, and mass hysteria to beaches worldwide. While the film JAWS was unquestionably remarkable for its time and included a number of industry firsts in the area of production and special effects, it marked a terrible turn for humans’ appreciation and conservation of sharks worldwide. To this day, sharks are viewed as man-eating monsters, when in fact, they are anything but… In fact, millions more sharks are killed by humans each year, than vice versa. The list of shark education organizations and efforts grows continuously, yet so do shark deaths. I personally believe that this comes to a matter of perspective. We humans are guests when we enter the ocean realm, and are no longer at the top of the food chain. When we encounter sharks, it is on their terms, and in their environment. They are not monsters…they are...
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Shark week!

August is here, and that means Shark Week on the Discovery Channel! Check it out here: Discovery Channel’s Shark Week In just a few short weeks, Ocean Opportunity is running its 2nd Annual offshore journey to dive and swim with the blue sharks of the ocean state. This year, our efforts are on introducing teachers and students to this bluewater environment, and getting them connected with our match on this planet – sharks. For more info, please visit the following: :: Short Film from Amazon.com:: Blog & Field Dispatches:: Field Photos:: Award Winning Article in RI Monthly Magazine:: Expedition Video Clips:: Recommended Reading We’ll see you out there! var addthis_pub=”oceanopportunity”;

short film 'Summertime Blues' released via Amazon

Ocean Opportunity is pleased to announce the release of its first minidoc (mini-documentary), ‘Summertime Blues’. The short film is an artistic piece communicating the beauty and plight of Rhode Island’s blue sharks. The film is the first in a series entitled ‘Earth | Get Connected’ which is designed to bring critical, yet rarely seen, ocean science, conservation, and exploration issues to our global community. This film has been released exclusively through Amazon.com. All proceeds benefit Ocean Opportunity and our developing programs. Buy your copy today!

Past to Present | Summertime Blues

In 2008, OO organized an eco-educational experience for a group to observe and interact with blue sharks off of the Rhode Island coast in cooperation with Dr. Brad Wetherbee of the University of Rhode Island and Snappa Charters. The work was featured in Rhode Island Monthly Magazine with the article receiving 2nd Place in Science and Environmental Reporting by the RI Press Association. This is the first of three similar offshore eco-educational ‘Summertime Blues’ field excursions organized over the forthcoming summers.

In the Field: Summertime Blues

In Fall 2008, an OO field team, joined by Dr. Brad Wetherbee from the University of Rhode Island, ventured more than 30 miles off of the Rhode Island coast to document and interact with the local sharks found off our shores. The northeast US provides a haven for many transient shark species, and this expedition sought to bring their remarkable story back to the Ocean State. Stay tuned to the December 2008 issue of RI Monthly Magazine for more. :: Field Photos:: Recommended Reading