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The Private, Exclusive Guide for Serious Divers Since 1975
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October 2015    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Available to the Public Vol. 30, No. 10   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Shark Bytes

from the October, 2015 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

John Bantin, who writes often, wittily and thoroughly about diving for Undercurrent, just had his second book published -- Shark Bytes, his personal stories and firsthand descriptions and anecdotes of over 30 years of diving with and photographing sharks. While Bantin does write about shark behavior and characteristics, the book is not an encyclopedia, ID book, or natural history drama descriptor. "I don't offer myself as an expert regarding sharks," Bantin says. "I simply offer myself as a shark witness, and in Shark Bytes, I delve into the way my own attitude to and understanding of sharks has developed during the intervening years. It's about how I grew to love diving with sharks."

Along with his "wow" close-up photographs on nearly every page, Bantin describes his encounters with many of the sharks you might meet on your own dives, from wobbegongs in Australia to whale sharks in Galapagos. He tells about his first certified openwater dive in Antigua, during which his divemaster led him unsuspectingly into a cave that contained a nurse shark (and the dive boat sank); a scary encounter with silky sharks taking his measure in the Red Sea; and a tiger shark at Grand Bahama that picked him up by the tank and swam off with him. Bantin also doesn't stint on giving his opinions about shark behavior and humans' interaction with them -- in the chapter on oceanic whitetips, he gives his theory about why five unfortunate swimmers were savagely attacked by one off Egypt's Red Sea beaches in 2010. He devotes rich commentary in the last two chapters, titled "Shark Feeding: Right or Wrong?" and "Is the Only Good Shark a Dead Shark?" He also shares his encounters with dugongs, dolphins, manta rays, and gigantic groupers.

There are quotes from Peter Benchley, underwater filmmaker Mike deGruy, Stuart and Graham Cove, and Marty Snyderman, the last of whom offers sage advice about being close to "Mr. Big and Might Be Dangerous." Whole chapters were supplied by Pete Atkinson and Bret Gilliam, experienced shark divers in their own right. Overall, Bantin's stories are both informative and conversational, treating readers as smart divers who just want to know more about sharks. By including his own trials and tribulations about diving, Bantin shows how, with common sense and a big heap of respect, shark diving can be both safe and glorious fun.

Buy Bantin's book through our website (www.undercurrent.org), and all our proceeds from book sales go toward saving and protecting the world's coral reefs.

Shark Bytes

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