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Making Friends with Tiger Sharks

Saturday 7 June 2014

I honestly didn’t think this was possible but here is the proof in front of my eyes – and this may well change the way that you look at sharks forever.

Diver Eli Martinez can be seen here diving with tiger sharks and interacting with them in what only can be described as a very friendly manner.

He strokes and caresses the sharks, almost as if they were dogs they he is encountering at the local park in this video shot by Armando Gasse in the Bahamas. It is an amazing sight and something which probably confounds a lot of expectations about sharks in general.  After all, thanks to a certain movie, many people believe that if you hold your hand out to a shark it will bite it off.

Yet before you book your plane tickets and rent out the diving equipment, I should add one or two words.  Martinez (who is also the editor of Shark Diver Magazine) has not simply jumped in to the ocean and struck up a friendship with some passing tiger sharks.  He has known these individuals for years.

Here are the facts in his own words: "Despite this looking easy and relaxed, it is only because I have been working with these same sharks for years, so I know them well. The tiger shark is a shark named Hook, and the lemon is a shark I named Taxi. The relationship is based on trust and respect, and I never forget that these are wild sharks, so I never get too comfortable. I always remember where I am, and what I am doing. So please watch this video as I hope it shows these amazing animals as they really are...beautiful, and intelligent, and amazing animals.”

It must be quite a thing to be able to say that you are first name terms with sharks.  Below is another video of Mr Martinez on another one of his visits to Tiger Beach where he again gets to interact with a number of his friends.  Among them are sharks he has named Taxi, Scratch, Cindy and Hook. They truly are ambassadors for their species.

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