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Darwin Award Candidate — Why Now?
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Darwin Award Candidate

The Associated Press reports that Man Dies After Shark Attack Off Fla. Coast

(AP) An Austrian tourist died Monday after being bitten by a shark while diving near the Bahamas in waters that had been baited with bloody fish parts to attract the predators.

A woman who answered the telephone at Scuba Adventures on Monday said the company had no comment.

The company’s Web site says it offers the opportunity to get “face to face” with sharks. The site explains that its hammerhead and tiger shark expeditions in the Bahamas are “unique shark trips … run exclusively for shark enthusiasts and photographers.”

To ensure “the best results we will be ‘chumming’ the water with fish and fish parts,” the Web site explains. “Consequently, there will be food in the water at the same time as the divers. Please be aware that these are not ‘cage’ dives, they are open water experiences.”

In every local shark attack the victim was swimming among “bait fish”, shoals of small fish that the larger predators [grouper, barracuda, sharks, etc.] eat. The predators tend to move through the water biting, not paying particular attention to what they are biting. The larger sharks that feed on seals might actually attack a human in the water, but most “attacks” are sharks moving through the water biting whatever enters their mouth. Humans are apparently an acquired taste that most species don’t get into in any big way, or there would be a lot more sharks around swimming areas.

Free diving around feeding sharks is just an incredibly stupid thing to do.


1 Michael { 02.25.08 at 11:01 pm }

How can a company even offer such a “service”?

2 Bryan { 02.25.08 at 11:22 pm }

Having been an occasional diver, having lived along the Gulf for decades, the entire premise is insane to me. You don’t spear fish if there are predators around, much less chum the waters.

They seem to have been in international waters, or they would have come under Florida laws which haven’t been “friendly” to even shark tours, much less this sort of thing.

If you are a shark enthusiast, you surely would understand what the reaction would be to the practice.

3 Cookie Jill { 02.25.08 at 11:32 pm }

yep. keep up on my shark biting episodes via one of my favorite “little blogs”…


4 Bryan { 02.26.08 at 12:11 am }

There is definitely a mental health crisis in progress, if people are flying halfway around the world and paying big money to do things like this.

5 Cookie Jill { 02.26.08 at 1:36 am }

I think it’s called “entitlement” thinking.
I see it here in the land of $1.3mil MEDIAN priced homes all the time.

6 fallenmonk { 02.26.08 at 8:09 am }

As you say, any reasonably experienced diver or shark enthusiast would know better than to swim when sharks are feeding. This guy was obviously stupid or so cock sure of himself that his ego overrode his brain. I have spent a lot of time in the water with sharks in my five years of diving in Hawaii but I made a swift retreat if I saw someone spear fishing or if a shark made a kill and I sure as hell didn’t swim with the schools of fish.

7 Steve Bates { 02.26.08 at 10:52 am }

Ah, those Austrian tourists. I spent a summer in Austria… but that’s another story. Memo to self: when diving, ditch the Lederhosen… they may be the vector that carries the insanity. I don’t think this is what someone means when they say they’re going diving with a chum.

8 Bryan { 02.26.08 at 2:25 pm }

This is what is meant by “more dollars than sense” which only works when spoken.