Whilst I have never seen a Great White Shark underwater, I have encountered many sharks and well remember my very first sighting in Fiji in 1979 - as though it were yesterday. As a professional underwater photo-journalist, I make it my business to know the best locations for whatever I may wish to photograph. Argentina for Killer Whales, Australia (Ningaloo) for the Whale Shark and Yap for Manta Ray - but only at the right time of year! If I were ever to consider photographing the Great White, I would probably head for either South Africa or Australia. Prior to reading this book, I would never have considered anywhere within the Mediterranean Sea.
When writing my third book in the mid-1990s about diving in Malta, I was told Great Whites were known to be breeding off one of the country’s remote islands called Filfla. The island is unoccupied and some distance offshore. Consequently, nobody bothers going the extra distance to dive there. Nevertheless, the rumours were rife - although there were far more people who dismissed the suggestion as nonsense. Over time, I formed the opinion there were no Great Whites in the Mediterranean - except, perhaps, for the occasional rogue visitor.
Quite clearly I was very wrong.
With four pages of impressive acknowledgements (all in small print), it is easy to appreciate how this really is a comprehensive study of the subject of the presence of the Great White Shark in the Mediterranean Sea. The co-authors commence with a study of the creature itself and, by so doing, skilfully set the scene for both the subject itself and what is to follow. Further chapters are then devoted to; Records from the Mediterranean (with known sightings listed by country), Summary Tables and An Analysis of the Presence of the Great White in the Mediterranean. In short, we have a thorough work laid out as the reader would hope with all facts and figures clearly provided.
The selection of black and white images found spaced throughout the book are quite fascinating. In addition to early engravings and ancient artwork there are also several pictures of jaws of various sizes from different museums - with details of when and where they originated (as early as 1640 and 1707 in some instances!). Far more compelling, however, are the 60 photographs of this creature (mostly dead) from the entire length and breadth of the Mediterranean dating from as early as 1822 right through to 2011. More than anything else, these images clearly show this particular shark is found throughout this particular sea (north, south, east and west) and is not just an occasional visitor. Such evidence is compelling.
With plans to rewrite my underwater guide to Malta well advanced, perhaps I don’t have to go to South Africa after all!!!
on 4 March 2013
This is the first time I have sent something back to Amazon for a refund.
Firstly, let me point out that it's not the books content I am angry about, it is the fact that I paid £45 thinking it would be a nice coffee table book that I would treasure. The book itself arrived with a layer of what looked like water damage on the cover. The pages were yellowed and the paper quality was awful, like something from a kids colouring book. The paper cover was flimsy and the whole book was thin and totally underwhelming.
I was so disappointed as I am a huge shark fan (especially great whites) and try to collect all GWS related books. I just couldn't justify spending £45 on a paper book that looked like it came from the bargin bin. I have no idea why the author let it be published in this format. I can't imagine anyone would receive this book and be happy. I had to pay over a tenner to send it back from Spain as well. Very disappointed.