Sea TREK Helps Confirm a Myth!
You may have noticed a recent statistic going around social media that claims “selfie sticks” have caused more deaths in 2015 than shark related deaths. That seems like an incredulous statistic, but needless to say “death by selfie stick” is a tragic way to go! It’s no surprise that the statistic of shark related deaths was used as the comparison– society has an endless fascination and unfortunate misconceived fear with these mysterious predators of the deep. The entertainment industry more than satiates the demands of its shark-fanatic viewers– producing everything from movies to television shows, educational documentaries to unbelievable reenactments… and even a whole week dedicated to all things shark– also known as Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.”
Shark Week has gained such extreme popularity that this year Discovery Channel added an additional weekend of feature shows – appropriately named the “Shweekend.” As part of the Shweekend lineup, the mad scientists of the hit show MythBusters took it upon themselves to test a longtime myth that has been passed around fishing communities for generations. The myth says that if a dead shark were towed behind a fishing boat, the smell of the shark would deter other sharks from eating the fisherman’s catch. In order to test the myth, MythBusters’ hosts, Jamie and Adam, planned to release a “shark repellent” to see if it would dispel a feeding frenzy of hungry Caribbean Reef Sharks.
Long time Sea TREK operator and well known business in the dive community, Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas, hosted the MythBusters crew for their test dive off the southwest shore of New Providence Island in the Bahamas.
Jamie and Adam were more than prepared for their dive with the sharks, and eagerly awaited their dip into the tumultuous water. Jamie was equipped with scuba gear, a full-face Aga mask, chainmail, and of course his iconic black beret, while Adam used a Sea TREK helmet fitted with a two-way communication device between himself and Jamie. Adam was keen to try Sea TREK, adding that since he would be able to wear his glasses he could actually see what Jamie was doing!
After a careful descent with the assistance of safety divers Gigi Merlusca and Anwar Godet, the MythBusters duo set foot in the impressive Shark Arena– a beautiful site on the edge of the “Tongue of the Ocean” drop off, brimming with vibrant reef and abundant fish. World-famous shark whisperer, Stuart Cove, was there to greet Jamie and Adam as the team set to work; the first task– attracting the sharks! Using a bait box of mixed fish guts, Stuart Cove expertly attracted more than a dozen hungry Caribbean Reef Sharks and Nurse Sharks. With the sharks in a frenzy, Jamie cut open a balloon containing the “essence of dead shark” and released the putrid liquid into the water. Nearly instantaneously, the sharks were gone! It was the exact reaction Jamie and Adam hoped to achieve. The “shark repellent” worked so well, that the team decided to give it a second try to insure the first test was not a fluke.
Again, the bait box was filled and the sharks began to return to the arena. As the darting, hungry sharks grew in numbers Jamie prepared to release the essence. The balloon was cut and scent released; within seconds the sharks dispersed. “That was a very specific reaction…it was instantaneous… the sharks were shimmering to get the freak out of the way!” exclaimed Adam. Within 90 seconds the sharks were completely gone, and it took another 6 minutes before they cautiously returned. With two tests complete, and the exact same outcome, Jamie and Adam declared the myth “CONFIRMED!”
Both the MythBusters and Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas crews were all smiles during the shoot. “Having the opportunity to work with them and see how the myths are planned and figured out was great,” says Liz Parkinson, Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas’ Manager of Underwater Productions, “they are professionals who know how to have fun, but create a relaxed, productive environment… We all really enjoyed the opportunity to work with MythBusters and the Discovery Channel, and be a part of Shark Week 2015.”
If you missed the episode, you can a catch a glimpse of the action here: