White Sharks Outside the Cage

2001, Nature  -  48 min Leave a Comment
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The darkest depths of the sea hold a secret. Shrouded in mystery and fear, beyond the protection of the cage lurks a leviathan, rarely seen and studied only at great peril. Scientists struggle to unravel its secrets but most of the time it has remained beyond their reach. To reveal the truth behind this master of the sea will require unconventional research and an unconventional researcher - someone willing to venture beyond the limits of conventional science, to meet white sharks outside the cage.

Cold currents from the deep South Atlantic surge towards the coast of South Africa carrying nutrient-rich-water that supports a profusion of marine life. A small island to the south, the Dyer Island, is the home of one of the largest Cape fur seal colonies in the world. Attracted by the rich waters these seals live and breed on the windswept island supporting in turn the largest populations of great white sharks in the world. The green channel that runs between the islands is their hunting ground. It is known as Shark Alley.

Scientists flock to this white shark headquarters but there is one researcher who stands out from the rest. In his quest to uncover the secret world of these primal predators he challenges the Hollywood image of sharks as merciless killers. His name is Mark Marks. Mark is on a mission to use his scientific skills, both conventional and unconventional, to reveal the true nature of the white shark.

Marks his research in the traditional way, observing what he could from the safety of a shark cage and a small boat. However he soon became frustrated with being able to see only small fraction of the white shark's behavior in the murky water. He knew that he would have to get closer to his subjects... much closer. He recalled an early encounter with white sharks. He was still at school and had gone diving with some friends off the coast of California.