Air Jaws

Documentary: Air Jaws

Air Jaws
Air Jaws

I got a bee in my bonnet about watching this after subscribing to the Apex Predators newsletter and being impressed with the level of detail provided about shark and marine mammal movements in False Bay. The lack of publicly available research on sharks is one of Tony’s (and my) bugbears, and to see a for-profit operator providing such a level of disclosure, and demonstrating such an obvious passion for the work, was fascinating and very encouraging. If academics won’t cough up the facts, at least the commercial operators will.

Air Jaws was produced for the Discovery Channel’s annual Shark Week. Shark Week has been slammed for its sensational treatment of sharks and shark attacks, but we were pleasantly surprised by both Air Jaws documentaries.

Pleasantly surprised is actually an understatement – Tony and I were totally blown away. The footage of breaching sharks and frantically twisting and turning seals, filmed at Seal Island in the middle of False Bay, was breathtaking. We found ourselves cheering for the seals, and simultaneously stunned by the raw strength and power of the sharks as they fling their entire bodies from the water. This is a documentary – there is no mention of attacks on humans, no alarmist talk, and a fair amount of science. Even though it’s American, it’s measured and balanced.

The second Air Jaws follows a research team to Australia and California, to see whether the great whites breach there, and if not, why not. There are some gaps, and it’s not as visceral as the first production, but it’s still very interesting.

We were interested to see how the sharks will go after a decoy seal made of Hollywood prop materials that wouldn’t smell, move or give off any electrical signals like a real seal.

You can get the DVDs from Amazon.com or Apex Predators. Drop them an email if there isn’t a link on the website, or visit their store in Simon’s Town.

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Clare

Lapsed mathematician, creator of order, formulator of hypotheses. Lover of the ocean, being outdoors, the bush, reading, photography, travelling (especially in Africa) and road trips.

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