Program of the Great White Shark Expedition in Australia

GREAT WHITE SHARK EXPEDITION with  SHARK BIOLOGY COURSE IN AUSTRALIA

Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions with Alessandro De Maddalena

great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, and silver trevally, Pseudocaranx georgianus, Neptune Islands, South Australia, Indian Ocean

INTRODUCTION

The Great White Shark Expeditions with Shark Biology Course in Australia are operated by Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions. The expeditions are hosted by Professor Alessandro De Maddalena, one of the world’s foremost shark experts. The participants will encounter great white sharks in their habitat and learn about biology, ethology and ecology of these predators. All guests can cage dive as there is no scuba qualification required to use the surface cage (a scuba qualification is required to dive in the special bottom cage). There is space for a maximum of 9 participants. Participants must land at the airport of Port Lincoln, South Australia, and leave from the same airport.

THE HOSTS

Rodney Fox is a miracle survivor of one of the worst non-fatal great white shark attacks on record. Rodney is also the inventor of the shark cage and the original pioneer of shark cage diving. For more than 40 years, Rodney has dedicated his life to major photographic, film, research and conservation projects with Great White Sharks. He is renowned as a foremost champion to the protection and understanding of his former attacker. Rodney has coordinated numerous expeditions for organisations including National Geographic, IMAX, Disney, Universal Studios, and the Cousteau Society. Rodney is still working hard to spread the message of conservation for the great white shark. He attends conferences, schools, institutions and openings all over the world as a guest speaker to recount his experiences with sharks and to campaign for their protection and appreciation. Rodney Fox is not expected to take part in the expedition.

Andrew Fox is Rodney Fox’s son and is leader of the Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions. Ever since a young boy, Andrew has accompanied his father Rodney on their expeditions, and now has more cage time and experience underwater filming and observing great white sharks than anyone else in the world. Andrew has spent most of his life working with leading film crews, photographers and shark researchers from all around the world. With this experience and his scientific training, Andrew is actively involved in all aspects of research in the field, including data collection, shark profiling and tagging. Andrew presents talks on white shark biology, behaviour and identification to passengers, community and school groups and the general public in an effort to help people to gain an appreciation of the biology and ecological importance of this species. Andrew Fox is not expected to take part in the expedition.

Alessandro De Maddalena (Milan, 1970) is one of the world’s foremost shark experts. He’s a researcher, writer, illustrator, photographer and expedition leader. He earned a Master of Natural Science, M.Sc., from the University of Milan. His Thesis was on the presence of the great white shark in the Mediterranean Sea. He is an Adjunct Professor of Vertebrate Zoology for the post-graduate course in Marine Sciences at the University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy. He’s a collaborator of Apex Shark Expeditions, (South Africa), of Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions (Australia), of Strømsholmen Sjøsportsenter (Norway), and has hosted over 50 expeditions with them. During these expeditions he gives courses in biology of sharks (in South Africa and Australia) and orcas (in Norway). He’s also the curator of the Italian Great White Shark Data Bank, a founding member of the Mediterranean Shark Research Group, a Regional Investigator of the Global Shark Attack File, and an Ambassador of the Undersea Soft Encounter Alliance. He is the author of 20 books on sharks, 37 research reports in peer-reviewed scientific journals and 82 articles in popular and professional magazines, published in 18 Nations. He has also given many lectures on shark biology at many universities, museums and diving associations in Europe.

great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, approaching scuba diver, Neptune Islands, South Australia, Indian Ocean

COST OF THE PACKAGE

The cost includes:

− 5 day boat trip from Port Lincoln to Neptune Islands,

− 5 nights twin cabin accommodation on the boat,

− observation of great white sharks from the boat and from the cages at surface and on the bottom,

− observation of other animals (stingrays, whales, dolphins, seals, sea birds),

− course in biology, ethology and ecology of sharks teached by Professor Alessandro De Maddalena,

− all meals and soft drinks on board.

NOT INCLUDED: flights, Neptune Islands National Park fees, dive gear rental, taxi, accommodation on land, meals on land, extra activities in Port Lincoln.

ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival of the group in Port Lincoln by 6pm to meet the group at The Marina Hotel for dinner. Boarding in the night.

Day 2: departure from the harbour in the morning. Snorkeling with Australian sea lions at Hopkins Island. Arrival at Neptune Islands.

Day 3: Full day at Neptune Islands for shark viewing and diving.

Day 4: Full day at Neptune Islands for shark viewing and diving.

Day 5: Full day at Neptune Islands for shark viewing and diving.

Day 6: Half day at Neptune Islands for shark viewing and diving. Arrival back to Port Lincoln at 6PM, disembark,

stay at The Marina Hotel overnight.

Day 7: Departure from Port Lincoln. NB: If you plan to SCUBA dive in the bottom cage even in the morning of the last day at the Neptune Islands, we advise you to do not fly before 1pm.

NB: This itinerary is merely indicative and subject to change at the discretion of the operator.

MEETING WITH THE GROUP

Participants will communicate to Alessandro De Maddalena full information about their arrival at Port Lincoln Airport. Please provide flight number, date and time. There are 2 airlines that fly to Port Lincoln from Adelaide, one is Qantas and the other is Regional Air Express; this is a short 40 minute flight. The taxi from Port Lincoln Airport to the Marina Hotel is NOT included. Participants will meet Alessandro De Maddalena and the other participants at their arrival at The Marina Hotel in Port Lincoln to have dinner all together before going on the boat.

There is also the option to fly from Dubai to Port Lincoln via Adelaide with Alessandro De Maddalena and other participants.

COURSE IN BIOLOGY, ETHOLOGY AND ECOLOGY OF SHARKS

The course will be taught by Dott. Alessandro De Maddalena. The lectures will be held on board, for a total of approximately 7 hours of course. Every day the lectures are taught in english, french and italian. During the boat trips, Alessandro De Maddalena and the Rodney Fox crew will be available to answer to all participants’ questions as the shark trips are a fundamental part of the course. Course program includes: evolution, classification, identification, size, coloration, morphology, swimming, buoyancy, skin, skeletal system, muscular system, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, nervous system, sensory perception, urogenital system, reproduction, habitat, distribution, movements, mutualism, parasites, predators, social behaviours, predatory strategies, diet, the great white shark, threat to humans, fisheries, utilization, captivity, shark diving, conservation, research.

OBSERVATION OF GREAT WHITE SHARKS AT THE NEPTUNE ISLANDS

Weather permitting, a 5 days trip from Port Lincoln is planned with Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions to observe great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) in the waters of the Neptune Islands. The beautiful Neptune Islands are a Conservation Park consisting of 2 island groups (North and South) and are located at the mouth of the Spencer Gulf, 4 hours by boat from Port Lincoln. Both of these island groups are home to large breeding colonies of the protected New Zealand fur seals (Arctocephalus forsteri) which is of course why the great white sharks visit. The smaller North East island also has a very small number of breeding Australian sea lions (Neophoca cinerea). These beautiful sea lions are listed as both ‘rare’ and ‘endangered’. Where we anchor each day is dependent on the weather but usually in winter this is nicely tucked up in ‘The Main Bay’ of North Neptunes West, away from the prevailing westerly wind and where the fur seals get protection from the weather. The water visibility ranging from 8 m to over 20 m can be experienced in our surface cage and ocean floor diving. We will always anchor taking weather, diving and best place for sharks into consideration.

The great white sharks do not live at the Neptune Islands, but stop off on their migratory pathways to provision on the seals. Some sharks can pass through the islands staying only a few hours, whereas others can take up temporary residency over a couple of months. A large photographic database is held by the Fox Shark Research Foundation housing over 10 years of photographic images of every shark that they have seen. The sharks that we see are the ones who “specialise” in seals. This means that we don’t typically see juvenile sharks who, in their early years, feed mostly on fish, but see the sharks that have grown enough to shift to a diet of mammals. We see a lot of sub-adult and fully mature sharks. Obviously sightings of great white sharks are not guaranteed, but we always choose the best period of the year to run these expeditions, therefore the probability of seeing them is very high.

The boat, moored in Port Lincoln, is an approximately 20 m vessel set up to be the world’s premier great white shark diving boat. On the boat there are twin share cabins and two bathrooms with shower. We offer both the surface (for non divers) and bottom (for scuba divers) cage diving. Everyone can dive in the surface cage, no scuba qualification is needed. We have a surface fed system/hookah system for the surface cage; tanks are on the back deck and each person in the cage breathes through a regulator on a long hose. But if you have your PADI open water certificate or equivalent then you can experience the great white shark down on the ocean floor on scuba. Divers must show qualification to participate in the ocean floor cage dive. The depths we ocean floor cage dive in can vary depending on where we are anchored but average around 15-25 m. The special cage is slowly lowered to the ocean floor where scuba divers can observe great white sharks, giant smooth rays (the world’s largest stingrays), eagle rays, wrasse, leatherjackets, and South Australian blue gropers. For the photographer this experience gives you truly unparalleled and otherwise unobtainable photo opportunities. Each ocean floor dive has one of our dive master crew in the cage to safely escort you and your cage dive buddies. Dive gear can be rented (it includes scuba tanks, regulator, weight belt, 7 mm wetsuit, undersuit, hood, boots, and gloves). If you bring your own dive gear, we recommend wetsuit of at least 7 mm or semi-dry or dry suit. Towels are provided. All meals and soft drinks are provided complimentary on board. Payment can be made onboard with cash or credit card (not AMEX) for incidentals, merchandise, and alcoholic beverages.

Participants must keep in mind that great white sharks are very dangerous animals, it is therefore necessary to follow carefully the instructions given by the staff, do not stretch out hand or feet from the cage, do not touch the sharks and in general do not make anything that can threaten yours and other persons’ safety. Please note that all activities are weather dependent. In the remote case that the whole shark trip, or part of it, has to be cancelled because bad weather does not permit it, the participants will receive no refund.

ACCOMMODATION

On land, we’ll stay in Port Lincoln, South Australia. It is a coastal city on Boston Bay at the southern extremity of the Eyre Peninsula, and is located approximately 280 kilometres in straight line, and 646 km by car, from the capital city Adelaide. Suggested accommodation for the night when we are back in the harbour after the expedition is at The Marina Hotel (http://marinahotel.com.au) in Port Lincoln. The hotel is walking distance to where our boat is berthed, and is a 5 minute taxi ride from Port Lincoln town centre. The accommodation at The Marina Hotel is NOT included. It is important to keep in mind that in Australia there are power sockets of type Australian standard AS/NZS 3112.

EXCHANGE

Automated teller machines where it is possible to withdraw Australian dollars are available in Port Lincoln, even at The Marina Hotel. It is suggested to activate the SMS transaction notification service for your card. You will be notified about your transactions in real time that you make on your credit card or bancomat and this will enable you to identify any fraudulent transactions taking place on your card.

MEALS

All meals and soft drinks are provided complimentary on board.  Alcoholic drinks on board, and meals on land are NOT included in the cost.

INSURANCE

Please note that travel insurance is not included. It is wholly the participants responsibility to obtain adequate travel insurance.

PASSPORT AND VISA

For entering in Australia it is necessary to have a passport with validity of at least six months past the travel date. It is also necessary to have a visa: eVisitor is available online 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for applicants outside Australia who want to visit Australia for tourism. An eVisitor allows the holder to travel to Australia as many times as required within the validity period, which is 12 months from the date of issue. The maximum length of each visit is three months. eVisitor applications are free (there is no application charge or service fee). If you are granted an eVisitor you do not need a visa label in your passport. Instead, you will be sent notification of the grant by email (it is advised that you carry your visa grant notice for your own reference). To apply for an eVisitor go to  http://www.immi.gov.au/e_visa/evisitor.htm

Check at the local Australian Consulate for additional information about visas.

VACCINATIONS

The only vaccination requirement for entry to Australia is for yellow fever: Australia requires any person over one year of age to hold an international yellow fever vaccination certificate if, within the six days prior to their arrival in Australia, they have stayed overnight or longer in a declared yellow fever infected country in Africa or South America.

BAGGAGE

If once at Port Lincoln airport you find out that your baggage hasn’t arrived, you must go immediately to the undelivered baggage point and you must give the following address for the delivery of your baggage:

The Marina Hotel, 13 Jubilee Drive, Lincoln Cove Marina – Port Lincoln SA 5606.

Tel: (08) 8682 6141 Fax: (08) 8682 6702.

TEMPERATURE AND WEAR

During our staying in Australia will be Autumn. The average temperature in Port Lincoln is around 20°C. At sea it can be cold and windy. Weargear for the trips is not provided by the operator. Therefore it is suggested to bring a waterproof jacket to protect from the wind and cold, long pants, cap, glows, boots or other waterproof shoes, swim-suit, wet undersuit, suntan lotion. We also recommend that you bring polarized sunglasses. It is suggested to wear in layers, so that if the temperature raises it is possible to uncover gradually. Water temperature at Neptune Islands is around 18-20°C.

SEASICKNESS MEDICINE

It is important to prevent sea sickness, because it is frequently reported during these boat trips. We suggest two medicines to prevent sea sickness: Stugeron (cinnarizine) or Dramamine (dimenhydrinate). Stugeron works very well; a tablet taken the night may be sufficient, but if needed it is possible to take a tablet even in the morning (or half tablet the night and half tablet in the morning). Be aware that alcoholic beverages can cause strong sea sickness.

PAYMENT TERMS AND CANCELLATION POLICY

Please see this page on Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions’ website:

https://www.rodneyfox.com.au/home/expedition-terms-and-conditions/

BOOKINGS

To book your spot please go to this page on Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions’ website, and select BOOK NOW on Alessandro De Maddalena’s Shark Biology Course:

https://www.rodneyfox.com.au/bookings/#Autumn2020

 

 

CONTACTS

E-mail: alessandrodemaddalena@gmail.com
Sito web: www.alessandrodemaddalena.net
Facebook: www.facebook.com/alessandro.demaddalena.1