The other day, actually, a few months ago, a coworker gave me an article about a woman who free dives with great white sharks. Granted, first thing I noticed was that I recognized the shark before I looked at the woman. However, the article and this blog are about the person, and her name is Ocean Ramsey.
Now, Ocean has been called the shark whisperer. She free dives in Mexican waters (and possibly other places) and grabs onto the dorsal fin, basically hitching a ride with the big fish. I admit, it is truly amazing to watch her do this, and I give her full credit for her bravery for what she does. Not because I think great whites are mindless beasts like the media and a few Australian politicians lead you to believe. No, I appreciate what she does cause while the sharks are not mindless beasts, she is still taking a great chance because they are still wild animals.
I also believe what she was doing may be illegal in Mexico. Granted, I am not 100% sure about that, but it is what I have heard from a few sources. So, not only is she risking her life, and the lives of anyone in the water (and not in a cage) with her, but she could also get the charter company in trouble as well. Which is why I won’t even ask the people running my shark diving trip if I could leave the cage.
Now, why am I so conflicted? Well, I am not sure what she is doing helps or hurts the sharks. Yes, she is showing that you can function in the waters with the amazing animals without being killed or maimed. Ocean is also proving that Jaws should not be treated as a nature show, Jaws is fiction. But she may give people the idea that these creatures should not be respected and other divers may take a chance that they otherwise may normally not take. And as Australia has proven, human nature is to overreact and blame the animal for acting like it is supposed to.
Now, I am sure that if something did go wrong, Ms. Ramsey would not want the local government to go on the hunt for their own warped sense of revenge, but politicians rarely act in the way the people want. And most divers I have talked to respect nature, just like most surfers I know. However, it just takes one idiot, and then some politician will think that baited lines will keep people safe.
Now, on facebook someone posted a picture of Ocean and a great white shark, and Ocean was criticized left, right, up, and down. I couldn’t actually bring myself to join in the conversation. Yes, she is taking risks, but I am also a little jealous. I would love the opportunity to swim with a great white. Yes, I have gone cage diving and will be going again this October, but to actually swim freely with a great white, that would be amazing.
So, while I think Ocean is doing some good, I also think that she is doing some harm as well. And I am conflicted… and a little jealous.