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    Ocean Ramsay Rides Great White Shark - Good or Bad?

    March 04, 2013 3 min read

    Ocean Ramsay Rides Great White Shark - Good or Bad?

    Are we turning sharks into circus animals? Or simply showing a gentler side? Are we turning sharks into circus animals? Or simply showing a gentler side?

    Last week, we posted a picture to our wall of lover of the sea, Ocean Ramsay, riding on the fin of a Great White Shark. It seemed to receive mixed responses. From 'good on her', to 'that's just dangerous', and especially 'how disrespectful to the animal'.

    Ramsay has also had similar interactions with Tiger Sharks (pictured) and Bull Sharks Ramsay has also had similar interactions with Tiger Sharks (pictured) and Bull Sharks

    What are your thoughts on this? Is riding on the fin of a Great White Shark, or any shark, disrespectful? Are we turning them into, as some have said, 'circus animals' by doing these acts?

    On the flipside, does riding and interacting with these apex predators help to educate society about the nature of sharks, and that they are not always killing machines? Ramsay states that she enjoys riding sharks 'as a way of showing the world the animal's gentler side'.

    Patting an apex predator Patting an apex predator

    Here is Ocean's story from the Daily Telegraph, where you can also watch a video of the encounter:

    THERE must be easier ways to get around underwater than hitching a ride with a great white shark.

    But for Hawaiian shark conservation advocate Ocean Ramsey, it's a way of connecting with nature and getting the world to take notice of this apex predator's gentler side.

    Ramsey, a free-diving expert, recently took a risk few others in the world have dared - swimming in open water with several adult great whites.

    She told The Daily Telegraph yesterday the experience, which occurred off the coast of Mexico, was one of the highlights of her lifelong diving career.

    "The goal was to go and find some great white sharks and collect video footage of their natural behaviour, but also, if the opportunity arose and the conditions were right, to actually interact with them," she said.

    "We wanted to show that this is what they're really like - not the Hollywood movie where you put a drop of blood in the water and the animals go crazy."

    Ramsey got what she was hoping for and more.

    After two days observing the white pointers from a cage, she ventured into open water, kicking slowly towards a 5m female before grabbing its dorsal fin.

    The feelings coursing through her body at that moment were a mixture of "incredible joy and breathtaking emotions".

    "There is an instinctive fear, knowing what the animals are capable of, but it's hard to describe what it's like to be in the presence of such a magnificent animal," she said. "I felt extremely privileged to have such a close encounter."

    Ramsey likened the connection she felt as she patted the sharks and rode on their backs to her experiences with horses.

    Sydney Sea Life Aquarium aquarist Amy Wilkes said that swimming with great white sharks was clearly a dangerous proposition.

    "It is risky - she is swimming with a very large predator, but the important thing to remember is that sharks are not always swimming around, trying to eat people," Ms Wilkes said. "She has gone to a great deal of effort to avoid threatening behaviour or scaring the sharks, so it's a calculated risk."

    Ramsey, a former marine park sharks curator who has also swum with tiger sharks and bull sharks in Australia and the South Pacific, said she had years of experience interacting with the animals and reading their body language and behaviour.

    "I wouldn't recommend or encourage people go out and go freediving with these animals," she said.

    "They are wild animals and they need to be respected as an apex predator - they can only ever be so predictable."