When my friend started opening his mouth about all the giant sharks in the waters before the trip my wife insisted I bring my old, and never used, Shark POD* for my son. As far as MY safety was concerned she was OK with me swimming around with a pork chop tied to my leg. I decided to buy a couple of those new Shark Shields that Mark Labocetta brought up on the list and once my buddy saw how small and simple they were he had me buy one for him.
The Shark Shield was interesting. I didn’t use it on my body until the last few days on Wakaya as I hadn’t seen any of the vaunted man-eaters I had heard about, just numerous big reefies smaller bronze whalers, and the visibility was good enough that I felt I would see something coming in. However, it definitely works and I would use it without hesitation in murky water or on some of those crazy trips the hardcore guys go on to Guadalupe or wherever. On Vomo I attached it to my float where my stringer was, and in a virtual first, didn’t lose a fish on a 3 hour dive. Normally, trailing your fish on a stringer 75 feet behind you is like ringing the lunch bell.
There were sharks on every dive so it was easy to test. I actually speared a fish and held it out and waved it around. I couldn’t get a shark near me. They would come in and veer away. Same thing when I didn’t have the fish. Usually I can dive down and jab them with my gun to get them away but with the shield I couldn’t get close enough to do it. It was like they hit an invisible wall that not only stops them but irritates them. For blue water diving, where you can have some monster sharks coming out from any direction, particularly the often observed behavior of tiger sharks just stealthily appearing at your fin tips, I would call the shield a no brainer. Same thing for the Florida guys who dive murky water with those bull sharks. In Northern California, South Africa, Australia and other areas where great whites are prevalent and water visibility is marginal it would make for more relaxed diving.
As I am often diving in remote parts of the world, I am grateful for, and enthusiastically support, products such as the Shark Shield that are so well designed and effective – especially for freedivers who are trying to minimize bulk and stay streamlined.
*The Shark POD is a discontinued product and no longer in production.