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Seeking shark sanctuary

Monday, February 24, 2014
Richard Parkinson six days after the attack and operation, when he was out of bed for the first time for a few minutes. Inset: Richard Parkinson’s leg after surgery.

“Sharks are among the last great predators left on this planet. “They shouldn’t be killed just so that humans are the dominant animals. We can’t use and destroy them as we want. Sharks have been around for 420,000,000 years, modern humans not even 100,000 years. They deserve our respect.”
—Dr Diva Amon, Trinidadian marine biologist and deep-sea ecologist 



It was just another day at the office for Richard Parkinson, a Trinidadian marine biologist, free diver and private dive guide. Parkinson’s office is the wide, deep and endless ocean. Based in the Middle East, this day saw him prepare for a dive with clients, 70 miles off the coast of East Africa. While waiting for his party to get ready for a dive, he decided to practise one of his passions: free diving. 


One breath. Head first. Deeper and deeper. The only sound is that of water forced apart by a streamlined body, propelled downwards by powerful pumping legs. Crystal clear water, true blue colour—red is filtered from the light spectrum and blue reflected. Visibility is a diver’s dream, about 120 feet. He bottoms out at 100 feet, ready for the ascent. A shark appears. It comes straight towards him. A bull shark. Not to worry. This has happened dozens of times before. Sharks often come close, then veer away.


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