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September 2014    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 29, No. 9   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Fish-Mauling Divemasters

stand up and speak out against divers who harass marine life

from the September, 2014 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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Early last summer, I was hiking in the Rockies and our guide pointed out a wolf den; he thought there might be wolf pups inside. We waited quietly at a distance, our cameras ready, but none emerged, so after several minutes we moved on. If our guide had been a divemaster like some of those our readers and I have encountered, he would have approached the den with a shovel and dug out the pups, picked them up by their scruffy necks, and held them out for us to photograph.

What's with these dive guides and divers who feel compelled to pull out any creature they find and treat it like so much chopped liver? What is it about the attitude of these people who, once underwater, think the rules of engaging animals on land don't apply? Would they climb a maple tree and grab a handful of baby robins so the bird watchers they were guiding could get good shots? Of course not. So why is it that for many guides and divers, it's just fine to pull octopuses from their holes, squeeze and inflate pufferfish, or float an arrow crab, so the photographer can get a shot before a snapper picks it off?

I'm probably preaching to the choir, because most Undercurrent readers share my views. However, take this non-subscriber, Zachary Nims, a diver from Dallas, who thinks an octopus is little more than his personal rag doll. Check his charming video from a recent Bonaire dive titled "Octo Hunt" that he posted on his personal Facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=456095754536787&set=vb.100004090981275 ). Brave Zachary -- the octopus squirted ink!

We posted Nims' video on Undercurrent's Facebook page to raise a stink, and it received the most comments for one of our Facebook posts so far. A sample of (profanity-free) comments from divers included, "Divers like this need to have their certification revoked, and their picture put in every dive shop and resort in the world so they won't let him dive again" to "Hopefully, public backlash will make this dude think twice about this bad behavior." Unfortunately, the backlash hasn't been strong enough -- Nims still has the "Octo Hunt" video on his Facebook page for the world to see. This man remains clueless....


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