Most of us will never travel to the Galapagos Islands. Luckily for all of us, Polish diver Darek Sepiolo has taken some amazing underwater video footage that makes us feel like we're right there beside him. You may recall, we featured his most recent video, Galapagos: 2010, earlier this week. I caught up with Darek to ask him a few questions. If you've never seen his videos before, you can catch them at the bottom of the post.
How long have you been diving? Why did you fall in love with it?
I've been diving for 11 years. It all started by accident during a holiday in Egypt. It slowly turned into a passion and a full time job. It's the amazing feeling of being free when your down there that makes most of us come back. There are also lots of amazing creatures you meet underwater - huge whale sharks, mantas, whales, schools of fish, and beautiful corals. There are icebergs and hunting leopard seals for those who like cold waters, or caves and deep wrecks for those who are more adventurous.
Where do you see the most abundant underwater wildlife?
I think the most abundant life is found at the "Coral Triangle" - an area located is South-East Asia around Malaysia, the Philippines, and Indonesia. This is where you can see most of the warm water marine fauna and flora.
Do you ever get scared, like when you see huge sharks or other large creatures?
You have to respect the environment. After all, you're only a guest there and it's not our natural habitat. You have to be careful and follow the rules you learned during training. If you do, there is nothing to be scared of. Sharks are not deadly hunters. That is a Hollywood myth. Sharks are perfect predators but they do not chase divers to eat them. In most cases, it's the opposite. We chase the sharks to shoot them with our cameras.
If you could educate people on one thing about the environment, what would it be?
I'd like people to realize that sharks are not our enemies. We enter their world and sometimes bad things happen, but I imagine that there are more deaths a year caused by dogs than by sharks.
Also, sharks fins are very popular in Asia as an aphrodisiac. The soup made of sharks fins is commonly served in Asian restaurants. More than 400 million sharks are killed every year just for their fins. The fin-less corpses are dropped back into the water because there is no space on the ships to keep low value shark meat. Of course, the fins are not an aphrodisiac. it's just an old belief...
Thanks for the interview, Darek! Keep up the great work!