Ocean Ramsey and her fiancé, Juan Oliphant, are on a mission to protect sharks in Hawaii. The adventurous duo went viral after images of them swimming with a massive great white shark were posted to social media.
This wasn’t just any huge great white. The two believe they were swimming beside the world’s largest great white ever recorded – a 20-foot long beast known as Deep Blue.
The photo above features Ramsey right next to the shark while her fiancé Oliphant is the man behind the camera. After all, he is The Shark Photographer.
There is no definitive proof that the shark is the famous Deep Blue, although many people think it is, including Ramsey and Oliphant.
Since the extra-large shark did not harm the pair, the two see it as further proof why sharks should not be targeted. Instead of being feared, they should be protected.
Ramsey is now pushing for a ban on killing sharks and rays in Hawaii.
The supposed Deep Blue was spotted near the carcass of a dead sperm whale off the coast of Oahu. Reportedly, the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources has received footage of the great white feeding on the dead whale, as well as tiger sharks taking part in the feast.
“Sharks have been on this planet for more than 400 million years,” Oliphant writes. He adds that they’ve “survived 5 mass extinctions, evolutionary perfection, yet in the last 30 years humans have wiped out shark populations by 90 to 95 percent. Sharks may not survive us.”
Ramsey is the cofounder of One Ocean Diving and Research. The collaborative research program hosts dives and gives everyday people the chance to swim with sharks by simply booking one of their tours.
More importantly, One Ocean Diving is focused on spreading “the importance of protecting marine animals, and to encourage people globally to take action and use their voice to stand up for all these amazing species!”
“What has changed is shark populations are severely declining but for the first time ever I’ve seen this huge shift in perception in the last 5 years mostly due to imagery and the work that @oceanramseyand the team at #oneoceandiving and @oneoceandivingprogram and conservation and research division does…”@Juansharks
Many sharks are killed for their fins because there is money in selling the fin to be used in soups and for medicinal purposes. This is especially popular in China.
There are about 2-3 shark attacks reported in Hawaii each year, and fatal shark attacks are far rarer. Meanwhile, millions of sharks are killed by humans around the world each year.
The incredible photos produced by the organization, as well as Oliphant ‘The Shark Photographer’ help to show the world that there’s a softer, less vicious side to sharks than we are used to seeing in popular media.
“The first great white shark I ever swam with was in 2005 off my home #Haleiwa with a similarly large great #whiteshark who also rocked the boat I was on at the time working with sharks. I guess I am lucky that history repeats and not much has changed which made me confident but not complacent during this encounter…”@juansharks
Movies like Jaws have trained us all to be terrified of sharks, but sharks do not want to attack humans. And when they do, it’s almost always by mistake.
No one knows this better than Ramsey and Oliphant. After all, this wasn’t the first time that the pair found themselves swimming with sharks.
Back in 2005, Oliphant had his first encounter swimming with sharks, which he described in an Instagram post. Since then, the pair has swum with many sharks, but none have been as large as the possible Deep Blue.
“I hope my conservation images like this help people to question their perceptions and realize the beauty, and importance of sharks and I hope that they inspire the kind of compassion and connection we need to have with nature and sharks, to help protect them and #coexist along side them.”Juan Oliphant via @Juansharks
If we do not ban together to protect sharks, we may no longer have them on this Planet.
Do these pictures help you feel more willing to stand up for sharks?