Experience: Scuba Dive Instructor/Guide
Regions: Canterbury, Cook Strait, Fiordland
Interview Location: Milford Sound, NZ
Interview Date: 08 February 2016
Post Date: 01 December 2017; Copyright © 2017 Lance McKirdy and Steve Crawford
5. WHITE POINTER ENCOUNTERS - EXPERIENCES OF OTHERS
CRAWFORD: Did you hear about observations of White Pointers - either in Milford Sound or the adjacent waters?
MCKIRDY: Occasionally, yes.
CRAWFORD: Roughly how many occurrences had you heard about during those first few years?
MCKIRDY: Oh, just a few.
CRAWFORD: And where would those occurrences have been?
MCKIRDY: I’d certainly heard a direct story about Doubtful Sound. A National Geographic photographer was dropped down there.
CRAWFORD: Okay, when was this?
MCKIRDY: It was a few years ago. I was speaking to one of the old charter operators, shortly before they finished. This was before, when I was looking at coming into Milford, and I heard the direct story of a photographer - I believe it was a National Geographic photographer who submits work, wanting to shoot a White Shark. They were quite aware of where a particular shark tended to spend a lot of time, and sure enough they dropped him down, and he came up to the surface laughing because he had his photo.
CRAWFORD: That’s interesting, in at least two different regards. First, you heard it was in Doubtful Sound?
CRAWFORD: Do you have any idea whereabouts in Doubtful Sound it might have been?
MCKIRDY: I could give you the name of the operator.
CRAWFORD: Please, if that’s okay.
MCKIRDY: Sure, It’s Ruth and Lance Shaw, the former operators of Fiordland Ecology Holidays. They’re in the phone book, they’re located in Manapouri.
CRAWFORD: They run surface vessel charters? Eco-charters?
MCKIRDY: They did. From a vessel which is now sold, and setting out as a private vessel.
CRAWFORD: And they would know more about the incident and the specific location?
MCKIRDY: Oh, they know more about Fiordland diving than anyone.
CRAWFORD: Good, thank you. The other important thing about that observation, is the possibility that a particular White Pointer would be in a particular place over a period of time. That seemed particularly clear in this story, as it was recounted to you. Reliable enough that when they dove in that particular place, the diver found the shark.
CRAWFORD: Was there anything in the story that you heard, anything about a distinguishing feature of that individual shark?
MCKIRDY: No. But you’d probably be able to identify the photographer if you’d spoke to Ruth and Lance.
CRAWFORD: Yeah, okay. So, that’s good. It establishes an account of White Pointers in at least one of the fiords.
CRAWFORD: Do you recall if the story mentioned any kind of interactions between the White Pointer and either the diver or the people on the vessel?
MCKIRDY: No. He got his shot, and he was happy.
CRAWFORD: Alright. Any other White Pointer accounts that you have heard about in the Fiordland region?
MCKIRDY: Very little direct stories. Just what I had heard from people who had seen them, occasionally within Milford waters.
CRAWFORD: Would there have been some inside the sounds, versus others out offshore along the coastal waters? Or seen more or less in certain places?
MCKIRDY: Well, I have heard about sharks coming all the way up to Stirling Falls, and have been sighted by cruise boat skippers.
CRAWFORD: That’s half way up the sound?
MCKIRDY: Yeah. But other than that, I haven’t heard anything else. Nothing that I’m particularly familiar with.
Copyright © 2017 Lance McKirdy and Steve Crawford