Samsung is promoting it’s head-mounted Gear VR display with some 360-degree footage of great white shark diving off Port Lincoln, Australia. Head-mounted displays like the Gear VR and Occulus Rift offer viewers an immersive experience that can simulate a completely different environment.
I shot some similar white shark footage using the Kolor Abyss 360 rig at Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico, last September. This footage should be compatible with both the Samsung Gear VR and Occulus. If you don’t have a head-mounted display, you can still take advantage of the 360-degree effect, using your mouse to click and drag to change the angle.
Anthony Hoy recently added the above video report to his YouTube channel. Hoy focuses on the great white shark cage diving industry at Australia’s Neptune Islands and addresses the debate about whether or not cage diving practices “train” white sharks to associate humans with food, thereby increasing the likelihood of attacks on humans.
The report features accounts from tour operators including Rolf Czabayski and Rodney Fox who both contend that their operations do not endanger bathers nor increase the risk of attacks at Port Lincoln beaches. Both dive operators perform their dives at the Neptune Islands which is over 40 miles from Port Lincoln.
Additional accounts from John West, Operations Manager of the Taronga Zoo, who states that sharks can be trained in a laboratory environment. Dave Buckland, an abalone diver, contends that shark cage diving could result in sharks being more comfortable approaching boats and divers. Ken Penalurick, another abalone diver, told Hoy that he believed that sharks were becoming more aggressive, based on his experiences.
While the video report includes arguments on both sides of the debate, most of what is presented on both sides is based is essentially anecdotal evidence, with no real scientific research or data presented to support either side of the debate.
According to Australia’s Ten News, the search continues for a Port Lincoln man who was reportedly attacked by two sharks, believed to be great whites. The victim was surfacing from an abalone dive in Coffin Bay, when he was attacked by the sharks, according to the diver’s boat skipper, who witnessed the attack. The skipper was treated for shock when he returned to shore.
CNN is reporting that this latest attack marks the second dive partner that the skipper has “lost to sharks.” In 2000, the skipper’s boat overturned, and he swam 8 miles to shore, while his companion clung to the boat. In that case, the only traces of the victim that were recovered were “a shredded life vest and a battered lunchbox,” according to CNN.
The Australian is reporting that while some in the Port Lincoln area are calling for “shark culls,” after this recent attack, a friend of the victim stated that the victim was a conservationist and noted that he believed the victim would not like to “see us all going out there and killing all the great whites that we see.”