It has been a while since I found the time to write a blog post and there also hasn’t been too much excitement happening. 2017 has so far been been mostly filled with sitting at my computer, working on my manuscript, sorting photos, preparing offers and planning ahead. One of my personal January highlights was the boot exhibition visit in Düsseldorf, the biggest and most important exhibition for boats (makes sense) but also internationally renowned for watersports, diving and underwater photography.
This year an incedible 1800 exhibiters were present and 242.000 people came to visit (source). I payed my underwater housing sponsors BS Kinetics a visit and exchanged my “old” Sechura housing (for the Nikon D7100) for the Dahna housing, which fits a Nikon D810. I also got a macro port as I want to get more into close-up photography especially since Amanda and I are heading for Bali in two months’ time, a world-renowned paradise for (and not only) macro photography. After the boot both of us were filled with diving lust and inspiration for upcoming trips.
On top of that, I won six free dives in Dahab, a beautiful place on the Sinai Peninsula, where I already spent almost a year doing an internship with the Red Sea Environmental Center. Let’s see if I get to actually trade in this prize this year 🙂
Besides a few other smaller trips here and there, the cold weather significantly confined my moving area – I am just not made for that. Temperatures have been as low as -10 °C and topped with murky skies of thick fog. Not my ideal weather, for sure. Anyways, sun is now slowly poking through the one or other time and with it life seems to prosper again as well. Just yesterday I finally finished my first draft to an extent I was happy with to send it out to the co-authors and I am now awaiting their comments to integrate them. Really looking forward to this paper and to losing my paper-virginity to the science world.
Another topic that at least all ocean friends will have heard about, is the passing of filmmaker Rob Stewart. I think for all divers among us it is a sad reminder of how dangerous this sport can be. It still must be investigated what exactly happened and why, but surely the filmmaker and activist world has lost a great person.
I have met Rob during the shark conference in Bristol last year, an exciting moment for me as his movie Sharkwater has truly inspired me.. I think what we can do now, is to keep his legacy alive, fight for the oceans and all living beings in it and for those of you who haven’t watched Sharkwater yet, go do it now here (and for those of you who have watched it, go do it again). May he rest in peace.
About two weeks back I was happy to receive an invitation by ‘Jugend forscht’, a national competition for children up to 21 years. They are encouraged to develeop new inventions and present them in front of an audience and some judges. I was asked to give a motiviational speech on how I became a marine biologist and why I chose to work with sharks. There were about a hundred kids and maybe another 30 adults listening to my presentation.
Many of the children were really curious and I was once again asked a lot of question from “Have you ever been bitten by a shark?” to “What is your favorite animal?”. Presenting in front of excitable children must be among the coolest things I do – it is just pure fun to perform in front of interested listeners that one can truly inspire!
Just this morning I had another chance to speak in front of a grade seven class of a local school and take them on a journey into the world of sharks. Different setting, same responses: an interested and excited crowd. Great way to start a day (8am is real early ;-)) If anyone out there reads this and is interested in m giving a speach somewhere, please contact me .
I also managed to get one of my shark images taken in the waters of the beautiful Fiji Islands onto the cover of the February issue of DIVER, UK’s bestselling underwater magazine. In the magazine itself you will find an article on Fiji’s world famous bull sharks -so if you are interested try and get yourself a copy!
In the coming weeks, I am planning to keep working on my PhD proposal. It is a massive amount of work and given the fact that I am not being paid for this preparation quite a tough one, as I also have to see how to pay my bills.
Unfortunately, Bremen or in general Germany isn’t a place for shark science and support is rather limited to say the least. But nonetheless, I am not only determined to make this PhD happen but I also believe it can happen. I just need to stay focus, put a lot of dedication and time into it and time will tell. Well, what is the alternative anyway? Not to try it? I don’t think that’s the right approach in life, but this is a whole other story..
Keep your spirit high and keep walking for what you burn in life – what else is it all about?
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Tom Vierus is an award-winning photographer, filmmaker, and marine biologist based in Suva, Fiji Islands. This blog is dedicated to his assignments and to sharing some behind-the-scenes footage.