Dec 15, 2011 - 2011 "The Good, the Bad & the Ugly"
Since I have no new dive stories to relay to you this week, I would like to share some of my poetry with you instead. It's a dive version of the "12 Days of Christmas". Relax, I'm just joking. I like having you as readers and would hate to loose you. Besides, I don't write poetry. I just have a few words to share with you this week on what was, what is and what will be for 2012. Oh yes, I also have a Photo Tip of the Week. Please read on.
I wanted to take this moment while the season for festiveness and sentiment is high, to thank my family, friends, readers, fellow divers, lovers of the ocean and my beautiful girlfriend Annette for your support and enthusiasm for my work. The ocean has always been a place of escape for me. A place to forget about the life above and live in the moment in the world below. For me, photography and video has become a means of transporting this feeling back to the surface to share with others. I don't think I would be a photographer if there were no one to entertain my images and stories with. It is because of you, the viewer and reader, that I continue to engage in this path and for this I thank you most sincerely. I hope I can continue to entertain and inform you for years to come.
A Note on Our Marine Environment
Since I started this Dive Blog Report in May of this year, I have made a conscience effort to minimize social, political or environmental commentary with the goal of simply entertaining you, the reader. Although I have no intentions of preaching to you about world politics I do however feel it is my duty to inform you of maritime environmental issues in future Blog Reports. To be silent about an issue so vital to myself and the world, would be irresponsible.
2011, the Year.
On a bad note for me and my family, my father, Fred Gerken, passed away in early October. My father, as well as my mother, were the ones who made it all possible for me to experience the ocean from an young age. It was these early years of boating, swimming, snorkeling and diving off the shores of Long Island, NY that left an indelible mark on me until this day. My fathers health later in life prevented him from participating in many activities including travel. To compensate, he lived vicariously through myself and experienced my life as if he was there. My photo and video works were incremental in achieving this. There wasn't a photo I took or a video that I shot that he had not viewed or even critiqued at times. He was my biggest fan, as I was his, and a supporter of everything I did. He will be sorely missed.
On the ugly side, the world seems to be hell bent on killing every last shark in the ocean for the sake of a bowl of shark fin soup. Shark fin soup is a delicacy mostly served in eastern asian countries that can fetch up to $100 or more per bowl. Sharks are caught to the tune of 65 million per year to meet the demand for this market. Most of the time the fin is sliced off while the rest of the shark is tossed back in to the ocean sometimes alive. Can it get any uglier than this? These apex predators, that are so vital to the health of our oceans fish stocks, are being wiped out at an alarming rate. This is not so much an issue of cruelty but stupidity. By destroying the upper parts of the food chain we will harm everything beneath it thus harming humans. There are many violations of our oceans being perpetrated in the world but for me none so heinous as shark finning. If you would like to know more about this and to get involved to protect sharks, please contact me at the links below. I stumbled across a Blog on shark finning and all things shark related at RTSea Blog. Check it out.
Lastly, lets not forget that adversity can be a strengthener that will, hopefully, teach people to be better prepared for catastrophes. Well at least in theory that sounds good. With that said, I'll let you decide what category to place Hurricane Irene in.
2012, the Future
In addition, I will be adding a dive and photo newsletter to my itinerary of social media networking tools. The newsletter will highlight what the Dive Blog Report will contain and reach out to those who have yet to discover this sight. The first newsletter should come out early in the year. If you would like to sign up for it click on the link towards the bottom of the page.
I have lots more to tell you in regards to upcoming presentations, photo workshops and dive magazine stories to be published in 2012, but you will have to stay tuned for the next Dive Blog Report scheduled for after the New Year. I'm not sure if I will be doing much diving this winter so I'm relegated to telling you stories from the past such as "Mike's Top 10 Dives" of all time. From Truk Lagoon to Vanuatu to Palau and North Carolina check out my stories of the best dives I have ever done. Lastly, I would like to say Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone out there reading this. I'll see you in 2012!
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