Underwater cameraman gets deep about shark diving!

2015-12-08 15:00

Cape Town – Sharks both fascinate and terrify us!

BBC Earth (DStv 184) showcases a stunning new two part series that shows the diversity of sharks around the world, featuring over 30 species of sharks and rays.

SHARK was filmed in dozens of locations worldwide, ranging from under the polar ice to mangrove swamps, shipwrecks and coral reefs. There is even a shark that walks on the land!

Cameraman Morne Hardenberg captured all the action for the series.

He has spent the last 15 years focusing on great white sharks through underwater filming, free-diving, research and shark tourism, and is one of the few cameramen willing to swim with great whites without a shark cage.

We had a quick chat with Morne about diving with sharks, his encounters with them and what to expect from the series.

Aren’t you scared to dive with sharks without anything to keep you safe?

I am not scared, I respect the sharks and learnt their behaviour and how I must behave around them. We have safety measures in place when diving with them. It's more about respect and knowledge and less about being scared or fearful.

Have you ever had a dangerous encounter with a shark?

Yes, in the few thousand dives with sharks I have had a few aggressive individuals who did not like us being in the water around them. They don't see us a food by the way we behave, but they sometimes see us a competition. We would interact with the animal until the animal breaks off the interaction and then we get out of the water.

How did you get into this line of work?

I grew up spear fishing in sharky waters, and back then I was very afraid of sharks. But I had a fascination and when I actually got to spend time around them I learnt that most of our perceptions about sharks are false and so my curiosity got me into what I do today.  

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about sharks?

That sharks swim around trying to eat people. That sharks attack without thinking. That sharks will eat you if they see you and that sharks are monsters and not important to a healthy ocean.

What can viewers expect from the series, SHARK?

This documentary shows various shark species, most of which people don't even know exist. It is a one of a kind showing the beauty of the sharks, and also how hard it is to be a shark in the ocean today. It is factual and doesn't play on people’s fears. I hope it fosters more appreciation and more accurate knowledge.

Watch the trailer here:

Catch the repeat of the first episode on Tuesday 8 December at 17:30, Friday 11 December at 17:30 and Saturday 12 December at 11:55 on BBC Earth DStv Channel 184.

Episode 2 of SHARK will air on Sunday 13th December 2015 at 16:00!

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