I am sharing blog of my friend ELI MARTINEZ, who I really like and adore for his love for sharks. He is my hero.


Eli Martinez: ¨The best feeling in the world, having a lemon shark swim up to you and lay down so that they can receive a back rub.¨ (Image by Pat Ford)

 

Eli Martinez:

All I could say was “DAMN, the sharks are talking to each other!” I said that at the moment when two lemon sharks dropped by my bait box and asked for a back scratch. My mind was spinning, new behaviors were being revealed to me and I, the eager student was soaking it all in…

I always knew that if I spent enough time with these sharks, they would begin to show me amazing new things. Well I spent almost two months straight with the tigers, lemons and great hammerheads of the Bahamas this season… and hell yes, it was everything I hoped it would be. The only problem I have is, that it is never enough time.

I began keeping a journal (in late 2014) of all the sharks we interact with that visit these waters, something I wish I had done years ago. I am doing it to keep track of the players who show up, how often, their temperament and who they show up with.

My hope with this journal is to truly get to know these animals. I want to learn everything I can about them. Every shark species is different and every shark (within each species) has their own personality. There is a game, within the game in the shark’s world, and I want to learn it.

I am still going over the footage from these trips, hoping to come out with a few video blogs on it real soon, the topics will vary but a few exciting things I learned that I am sharing here are; sharks may not be as solitary as we were led to believe and some may even have favorite traveling partners…

In my tigers, two sharks, we named; Sophie and Wonda always seem to show up together. I have recorded them together over a five month period. These two are new to the tiger beach area so its been pretty exciting getting to know them. Both have extremely different personalities. Sophie is extremely mellow and passive, while Wonda is very mischievous and I always keep my eye on her when she comes in to make sure she behaves herself.

As for sharks that possibly may be traveling together, the same goes for the great hammerheads. They are known normally as solitary animals, but I have recorded a lot of the same players together, so it opened up a few questions for me that I am hoping to answer. Of course, everything I know about the hammers is still new, so won’t say much beyond that, but they are very interesting sharks. This was our 3rd season out there, and I only have about 7 weeks worth of journaled material with them, so there is still so much left to learn. I can’t wait for next season.

My lemons are ALWAYS surprising me with their ever evolving behavior they have been sharing with me. I recently posted that I believe, sharks communicate with each other. They talk, and the more time I spend with them, the more correct I feel I am about this.

The most recent example I have is on one of my trips out to Tiger Beach in January. I had two lemon sharks swim up to the bait box and repeatedly asking me for a back rub. The thing was, I have never interacted with either of those sharks before. This was a first for them. How did they know to come up to the box and do that? No one else has been giving them back rubs so the only way was, that they somehow communicated it from one shark to another. The sharks are talking to each other…but how? New questions pop up that I want answers to.

This kind of stuff just drives me crazy with excitement.

I love learning from these animals and I love sharing what I learn. Of course some of it may be wrong (hell, all of it may be wrong?) But then again, maybe it is right? The only way to know for sure is to get my butt back out there and learn some more. Totally up for more class room sessions.

Eli: ¨Love helping to change how people see sharks. Yes they can be dangerous and MUST be respected, but there is another side to these animals. These interactions are not about whats practical with a shark, but what is possible. Shark Diving is life!¨ Image by Leigh Cobb

Eli: ¨Emma singing her heart out. Such a sweetheart of a shark. She was with on the 17th and 18th. She was a no show on the 19th and then showed up with a torn up dorsal fin on the 20th. It seems an over romantic male tiger tried to give her some love and tore her up good. New girl showed up with her tail fin all torn up this trip, so something is going on?¨ Image by Rodrigo Friscione Wyssmann

 

 

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