Jeff Grocke – Abalone Diver
“I have from a young boy had an affinity with the sea, and acquired a love for diving that still continues today. I have been professionally abalone diving for some 20 years. The majority of those years I have free dived without the protection of a cage unit. It wasn”t until 2 years ago after 3 White Pointer sightings over the years, and continued pressure from my family, I decided that perhaps I was “pushing my luck” and purchased a Shark POD.
I was however, a little sceptical of the protection that the inventors claimed the unit to have, but my doubts were short lived after my fourth confrontation.
I was diving in approx. 25 feet of water for Blacklip Abalone when the swell built up, making it too uncomfortable to work “blacks” so I swam out to the drop off of approx. 45 feet. As I swam out, I caught sight of an 11 feet White Pointer swimming in towards me. I sat on the bottom and watched as he turned and swam along the face of me approx. 18 feet away, and then turned in toward me. I realized then that the battery was low, as the red light was on and remembered Mike telling me that fully charged, the protective electrical field is approx. 7 metres in diameter. How far was it when only half charged? The Shark kept coming straight at me, not rushing, but definitely curious. He hit the field approx. 10 feet away from me and unbelievably it was like he hit a brick wall. He turned tail and bolted leaving me in a wash. I sat on the bottom for a further few minutes but never caught sight of him again. I was that confident, even with a low battery, that I finished filling my bag and returned to the boat where my sheller was totally oblivious to the Shark.”
Dion Edmund’s – Abalone Diver
“Ever since Damon had a very bad encounter with a very large Great White at Purdie Island in 1996, we have looked into any way of avoiding another encounter with Great White Sharks. We started out by using an underwater cage unit which we found very restrictive and unsuitable for our working environment, therefore found we still needed to dive freely on hookah gear most working days.
When we saw the first Shark POD unit on the market, we looked into the type of protection it could provide us. We decided to purchase the first model which wasn”t quite what we expected, as we needed to use a unit which had a power source on the boat and a hard wire attached to the dive hose. This unit proved unworkable, as the hard wire was too heavy for our air hose and caused it to sink to the bottom and constantly became caught on rocks, reef etc. Therefore we basically used it as a safety unit, which we kept in the boat, so it could be used in the event of another problem.
The day came when I was diving in approx. 35-40 feet off Flinders Island in low visibility, and had been in the water for about 1.5 hours. I was inflating a parachute when a Great White shark, approximately 10 feet in length, approached me. I laid flat on the bottom until Damon got the message to send the Shark POD down to me. I had seen the shark pass very close by five times in about 30 minutes, before the POD was sent down to me, switched on. I stayed on the bottom for another 15 minutes before I felt confident enough to break for the surface. From the moment the POD was in the water, I never saw the shark again. Since the Oz PODS have been available we (my brother Damon and I) have used these every time we enter the water and have found it gives us confidence to dive in most places, without the encumbrance of a cage. We have come to trust and rely on the Shark POD.”
Rene Spruyt – Abalone Diver
“In August 99 I was trying to erode the remaining 2 tons of my yearly abalone quota, I decided to work Weirs Cove at the western end of Kangaroo Island, which normally is a difficult area with large swells, but with the right weather, a days catch there is worth 2 or 3 elsewhere.
Visibility was incredible. At a depth of 10M the vis was about 35M. My bag was half full and I was working outside the cage and changing position – that”s when I saw it!
This Great White was BIG, 5M at least and coming straight in. The cage was too far away, but almost between me and the shark. It came directly towards me, but as it got to approximately 5M from the cage it shook and almost turned inside out – that”s when I realised it had hit the “Shark POD field” that I had set up on the cage.
My relief diver had previously had a similar experience and had told me that “Shark PODs work”. Now I believe him.”
Tim Miles – Dive Course Co-ordinator, Dive Instructor
When I was first introduced to Shark Shield I was a little hesitant to prominently display the product. It was just so revolutionary that I needed some time to ask questions to existing clients and new students and to make sure I was not highlighting what I believe to be the single biggest factor that prevents people taking up diving.
I can still remember the first time I mentioned to a new class that we would be wearing them on their first sea dive. Amazingly, although some of these males were rather macho, every student seemed to breathe a sigh of relief and statements followed like “I”ve been paranoid, but just didn”t want to broach the whole shark thing.”
From then on I realised I did not have a problem, and the word got around that we were offering “Shark Free Dive Courses.” The product was moved to a high visual area in the shop and customers we did not know walked in and bought it. This year we have sold many units, which has impacted well on our bottom line.
Our sales are to existing divers, surfers, swimmers, snorkellers and new dive students. One of the things that has helped us with sales to new and certified divers is the use of Shark Shields for training and on the deco bar.
I personally have been diving for many many years and it wasn”t until a few months later, after wearing shark protection, that I realised that I too was even more relaxed. Sharks have never stopped me from diving, but they took the edge off sometimes.
One of the most disappointing aspects of my business is the time spent on training a novice only to see them not continue with the sport I love. I believe that shark protection will give them the confidence, after leaving the safe confines of the instructor, to venture by themselves.
This new technology will have a significant effect on all water users in the future.
Peter Loveday – Prawn Fisherman
All of my working life I have had to endure the endless problems that sharks have caused to my occupation. Loss of catch through torn nets and down time for repairs caused a dent in my bottom line profits, but I considered this an occupational hazard, which had to be expected and accepted.
I heard about this new Shark Shield product that was on the market, so as an experiment I purchased a personal diver unit and set it up on the top of the net. It kept the sharks away! Now I don”t drop my net unless the Shark Shield unit is fully charged, because, since purchasing the unit six months ago, I have not had one shark problem. They still follow the net up, but stay a few metres away thoroughly frustrated.
I contacted the manufacturers in Adelaide to tell them how well it worked and found out that they have two new professional units called ProLine and Mariner, which produce a larger field and adapts to our nets very easily. Recently I did an experiment by leaving the unit uncharged, amazingly the sharks got into the net. I won”t do that again.
The units are very robust, come with mains and 12V accessory charger and, apart from a fresh water wash, require very little maintenance.
This new technology has saved me time and money.
Joe Backer – Recreation & Professional Shelldiver
You may have caught an abbreviated part of the White Pointer encounter put in the full test review of the Shark Shield on www.digitalreviews.net , but here’s the full story. Having been a recreation swimmer/spear fisher and professional shell diver for approximately 40 years, diving up to 15 km off the coast and 60 metres deep, I’ve had all sorts of encounters with sharks. From having to “smokie” a 3.5 metre Bronze whaler (silly move) then being back to back with the buddy, pushing them off when 11 or 12 more of them sensed the blood. The choice being for us to go up and die, (7 minutes into decompression after a 44 metre dive) or stay down and maybe die. We chose the latter on that occasion.
Even though we were not shooting fish on the many excursions we encountered sharks, no matter what the species, they always seemed to do a circle around us, usually not in any hasty or aggravated manner, but a cruise to see what was happening. Were we edible, maybe????
Usually, if I tried to attack them with the hand spear they would stay out of reach and on all of the occasions with the exception of one, they seemed more scared of me than I of them until the encounter at Bird Rock.
On this next encounter we were shell diving Cheynes Beach, Bird Rock, known to be out in the wilds, 58 metres to the bottom and about 5 kilometres offshore. We had been enjoying ourselves looking for cowries as usual and had gone a bit over our usual stay time which meant it was essential that we do a minimum of 8 minutes decompression.
Visibility was great and we could see about 35 metres of anchor rope going lazily to the bottom, and proceeded to play our usual charades while we waited for the dive computers to say we could break the surface. Suddenly, out of the blue haze at about the same depth we were glided a big Grey and White shark coming straight for us. I immediately realised that this was a White Pointer. Not because of his colour or shape or anything else, but his eyes and manner was so different. He was not scared and swam toward us with absolutely no fear and with such self assuredness and arrogance that he left no doubt that he was superior.
I find it difficult to put into words the difference between other sharks and sightings, so that you could understand the vast difference between everyday sharks and White pointers, anyway I removed the safety off the smokey and with 14 feet of hand spear extended, tried to prod him. He casually and arrogantly glided to the side, completed his circum-navigation of us while we clung feverishly to the anchor rope. Eyeing us with his gimleted unblinking black eyes, he casually mouthed the outboard leg, the harsh crunching sounds breaking the ominous silence as he tested the strange metallic object that dared to stay still before him, and then silently glided away. As the deco meter hit zero we jumped back in the boat, feeling a great sense of security with 3mm of aluminium between us and the water!
I have written this article mentioning the former White Pointer shark encounter hoping that you will see the difference between the encounter at Bird Rock and Cosy Corner.
Saturday the 10 December 2008 the sun beams down, clear skies, no wind, another magic day. We decide to shoot some fish and therefore we must go away from where other divers may go to look at the beautiful life beneath the sea. We head to Cosy Corner and run the boat well out, away from islands and pick a spot in open water where it’s about 15 metres deep. Throw on the Scuba gear, velcro strap the borrowed Freedom7 Sharkshield on to my ankle whilst having a shot at my buddy about wearing an old model Freedom 4 and we are good to go.
Over the side, visibility is good and I go straight to the bottom, already lining up some good sized Sea Sweep for dinner. I shoot 5-6 Sweep and after gutting them mid water decide I have effectively got sufficient dinner for both of us. After looking around to see if any Wobbegong sharks have come for the gut remains now drifted to the bottom, I caught sight of a large Queen snapper.
Away I go and decide this will be the last fish, pick the lateral line and with a good solid “thunk” I have my fish. With blood all round me I realise this will be the last fish as he is too big to get fully into the bag, so I pull out the hand spear paralyser’s prongs and with the Queenie’s tail sticking well out of the catch bag, I turn to go.
Whoa, what’s this; my buddy has a fearful expression on his face and is giving frantic shark signals. I can see nothing but decide “discretion is the better part of velour” so let’s get to the boat. Once in the boat my buddy finally becomes coherent and tells me how a 4-5 metre Grey and White shark arrowed down towards me as I was putting the fish in the catch bag. “It got to within 5-6 metres of you, gave an immense shiver, veered then departed as quickly as it came” he said. I shudder to think what may have happened with no Shark Shield as here is one of the most feared sharks, the White Pointer, lining up my catch for tea (maybe with me as dessert) and yet he departs as quickly as he came.
It’s the difference between encounters that interests me and the fact that he gave a shake, and then goes away and does not return.
Draw what you will from the story, but I am convinced that the Shark Shield works well even when the sharks are focused on feeding, so needless to say both my wife and I have now bought a Freedom7 each which we religiously wear swimming, snorkelling and Scuba diving.
Joe & Kerrie Baker
Albany Western Australia
Great White Scare for Police Divers
December 19, 2008 07:35am
A GROUP of Water Police has been forced to wait 10 minutes underwater while a 4m great white shark circled above.
The divers were at 18m, on a training exercise at Grange tyre reef, when the shark appeared near a boat above them.
They remained in radio contact with boat crew until given the all clear to surface.
The divers were wearing Shark Shield, an electronic shark protector vest. The incident, on Monday, is one of four shark sightings this week.
Greg Pickering – Abalone Diver, South Australia
‘I can say without any doubt that Shark Shield™ works as advertised. I recently had two separate encounters with Great White sharks and each time the unit repelled the shark at 4 to 5 meters.’
Saved from a White Pointer
Western Angler (www.westernangler.com.au), 22nd Sept 2011
The following information is from a blog on Western Angler. Shark Shield has also been made aware of this event by several other sources who have spoken directly to Geoff & his wife.
Geoff had just bought some new dive gear and wanted to test it out prior to the cray season. Both Geoff and his wife took their 7 mtr ally boat to Busselton (Western Australia) where they launched and headed to a calm patch of water in Meelup Bay. This was about 1 week after the body boarder got taken at Bunkers. This was also Geoff’s wife’s first boat dive.
They had enjoyed some time on the bottom when they decided to ascend to the surface from around 12 mtrs down. They were near the boat and Geoff was several metres’ ahead of his wife heading towards the transom.
Before getting on to the boat Geoff looked back at his wife and saw what he thought was a whale heading towards her. It instantly became apparent it was a massive white pointer as it came directly up to Geoff’s wife and stopped level with her, 3 metres away.
Geoff’s wife had a very clear view of the front of the shark and described how she could see every little wrinkle cut and ripple in its huge face.
After what must have seemed like an eternity the shark dropped to the bottom and at the same time Geoff made contact with his wife and he pulled her back to the transom.
As he was helping her to the back of the boat the white who was now on the bottom and directly underneath them, went from cruise mode to all ahead engines, in a split second it finned hard and arched up coming directly at them both with no sign of stopping.
At that point Geoff thought this was his last moments and was in disbelief thinking this is it, this how I’m going to die. As he watched the shark move in he realised that there was nothing left to do, at the last moment the great white hit the brakes and shook its head side to side like a person does as they walk into an unseen spider web.
The white then veered off and pushed into the blue. Not believing his luck Geoff got his wife on the transom but could not get up himself because she was blocking the way.
There was a certain amount of directness in his voice when he asked her to move into the boat. She was frozen and simply could not move. Geoff with a full kit of scuba gear pulled himself up over the transom and his wife and fell into the boat backwards. As he reached over to bring his wife in, the white cruised under the transom and hung around the boat for a few more moments.
Geoff also explained he had a Shark Shield on and is in no doubt that at the moment of pause that is what saved his life.
His wife did not have a shield and this may explain why the white sized her up and set up an attack from the bottom.
What the white didn’t bank on was the shield that now enveloped Geoff and his wife.
Geoff didn’t make the footage public out of respect for the very recent sad event that took place a few days earlier. He did call the police and after they got into the boat they headed towards the shore and warned nearby paddlers and swimmers.