Growing up surfing and diving my whole life I’ve shared the water with many sharks. I’m a marine biologist, shark and marine conservationist, professional freediver, professional scuba instructor, surfer, swimmer, yogi, and professional model. I achieved my associates degree in behavioral sciences, psychology, my undergraduate was marine biology, and masters studies ethology, the study of animal behavior, specifics on shark behavior, body language, social hierarchy and how they react and interact with their environment. My current research seeks to measure if their behavior is significantly affected by environmental specifics including weather and the presence of other animal species and what are the human implications of spending time in proximity to sharks in and out of known aggregation sites. My passion is conservation work, sharing my voice for sharks, other marine life, the ocean, and nature in general because I deeply value and respect sharks and the natural world because of my many years of personal experience and the depth of my understanding of ecological roles as well as the incredible “best moments of my life” that have happened while interacting with marine life and being in the ocean and nature away from human civilization.
At home on Oahu, I work daily freediving with sharks out in the open ocean to collect up to sixty two variables of data every two hours in shark aggregation sites around Hawaii, I opened my studies to the public to share knowledge about sharks in an effort to help people better understand, appreciate, and respect sharks as valuable apex predators and to combat the irrational fear many people have of sharks due to the lack of scientific information, experience, and primarily fear imparted by traditional “Jaws” type media that demonizes sharks. I wanted a practical application of my science that would benefit both the human community and the sharks who need much more help than most would realize. The program I developed was the first cageless shark diving and research program open to the general public in United States and Hawaii. The program is called the “Pelagic animal research and interaction program” taking people out with marine biologists that I have personally trained to identify agonistic territorial shark body language to gather data and educate the public along the way while facilitating a fun highly educational guided cageless freedive with large shark species like tiger sharks, galapagos, hammerheads, sandbar sharks, silky sharks, whale sharks, and more. I partnered with professional shark and conservation photographer, captain, freediver, divemaster, Juan Oliphant (IG: @Juansharks) to open the public pelagic shark program through One Ocean Research and Diving (www.OneOceanResearch.Org) (now one of two companies I am a co-owner of.) Ten years before opening One Ocean research, before I even did my master research, I founded a not for profit organization to help highlight the beauty of sharks and the ocean realizing at a young age that most people didn’t have the same knowledge or perception of sharks that I grew up with. The idea behind my efforts with my conservation organization Water Inspired was to utilize all means possible to help highlight the beauty of the underwater world, especially sharks in hopes of inspiring people to take a deeper look at sharks, marine life, the ocean, and help rally more people to help protect marine life. I think what really got me into conservation without even realizing it was working with divers when I was young, one of my first jobs was working in a dive shop, many people would express a great deal of fear about encountering a shark during a SCUBA dive, I was continually assuring them that the reality of seeing a shark is extremely rare and they would be lucky and likely it would be the highlight of their SCUBA adventures to actually see a shark because they are amazing and beautiful and generally extremely wary to approach humans. When I was 18 I began teaching SCUBA while working on my undergraduate, it was the same fear of sharks expressed by every general public class I taught, so I began to incorporate some of the science and stories of the sharks I had seen during dives and I continued assuring people the reoccurring truth, that seeing a shark would be one of thee coolest things they would be lucky if they saw one. I traveled around the world working on various research projects gaining more diversity of experience in the field with a growing number of marine species, I taught diving for some years seven days a week from sunrise through night dives.
The first shark I can remember seeing I think I was 8 years old, the water was clear, it was just past the breaking waves and as it swam under me 10-15ft below along the beautiful rippling sand bottom, completely disinterested in my presence, I was at once enamored. There was a slight thrill seeing something I’d never seen before in person and a completely different feeling came over me and I followed after it watching with wide eyes transfixed at how beautiful, graceful, and perfect and unique its movement, shape, and presence was. There really is nothing like the feeling of being in the presence of a shark. I am thrilled to now work around the world on different research and conservation campaigns and to have built a strong community of people with a diversity of backgrounds that all respect and help work to better protect sharks. I have seen such a change even since opening One ocean Research and Diving to the public and getting people in the water to experience for themselves just how incredible sharks are and backing that up with solid scientific information and a call to action for conservation is now one of the most rewarding experiences I am grateful to have. It feels good to do good and giving back to the sharks and marine environment that have literally given me the best moments of my life, moments that nothing can compare to, it is an honor and privilege to be able to share that feeling and inspire people for the benefit of the sharks, ocean, and human generations to come. So much of our actions as a human population today will determine what kind of world the next generation comes into and grows up in. I love the development of science, technology, and the ability to quickly share factual information and spread a good message. My hope is to change the fear that people have of sharks and the ocean into a fascination and inspire them to help protect these vital animals, marine ecosystems, and nature in general.
As for my dear White sharks, I feel extremely fortunate that some of the greatest moments of my life have been diving with Great Whites. It’s difficult to express the incredible joy and breathtaking emotion experienced locking eyes with a Great White. Watching the sharks acknowledge and observe me while I peacefully allow them to swim towards me and the experience as they accept my touch. I generally discourage people from touching sharks or any apex predator but its true that certain individuals do seem to enjoy interacting, perhaps out of curiosity or maybe just to satisfy an itch for those sharks who continue to swim back slowing as they swim close. I would rather people touched a shark fin and made a deeper connection to care for these highly misunderstood apex predators rather than the all too sad reality that more often their fins are being cut off at a rate that averages out to the deaths of 2-3 sharks per second being killed just for their fins, just for a status symbol bowl of soup called shark fin soup. Shark fin soup is neither tasty or nutritious, it is actually toxic, simply a status symbol, and the demand for it is responsible for the global decimation of shark populations by over 90 percent.
I hope that by sharing my experiences with sharks, I might inspire others to take action and help protect these amazing creatures before it’s too late. Please join me in the water to experience it yourself (check out OneOceanResesarch.Com to join me freediving with shark in Hawaii) or help get involved by checking out WaterInspired.Org, OneOceanConservation.Org, HawaiiSharkDiver.Org and my Instagram accounts: @OceanicRamsey Juan Elephants Instagram: @JuanSharks and out team instagrams: @OneOceanDiving @OneOceanResearch @OneOceanConservation @OneOceanEducation @WaterInspired @OneOceanGlobal @OneOceanDesigns
Check out her signature program based off her global shark research and experience now open to the public in Hawaii and special locations around the world: @OneOceanResearch and @OneOceanDiving
Today, many shark species are on the brink of extinction. Scientists estimate that over the past 50 years, 90% of the world’s shark population has disappeared. We believe that in capturing and exhibiting images of sharks and humans interacting peacefully and intimately, furthering our scientific understanding and sharing factual and practical learned knowledge, we can help change the way people think about sharks. In doing so, we hope to promote sharks as they really are: amazing, beautiful, and important animals that need to be protected. Ocean hopes to inspire people to not only care about sharks but to inspire them to take an active role in protecting them, other marine life, and making daily choices that reduce the impact we have on the ocean, nature, and greater environment.
Get involved: Check out @OceanicRamsey on Instagram for the latest campaigns, organize a local educational outreach presentation or event such as a reef/beach clean up or a clean up at a nearby nature preserve, trail, park, and include a presentation or information board on daily consumer choices that help reduce debris and how debris affects animals and natural ecosystems. Check out OneOceanresearch.Org, www.WaterInspired.Org, OneOceanConservation.Org Or to donate to the causes and efforts we choose to focus on shop online at www.HawaiiSharkDiver.Org