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Today, Norm Goldman Editor of  Sketchandtravel.com  has a special treat in store.

Norm's guest is Patric Douglas, who was one of the first American tour guides permitted back into Vietnam. He has also conducted exciting tours through China, Bali, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America.


Patric claims that he has found a safer way to make a living and he is now involved with shark diving expeditions, wherein participants experience incredibly close Great White shark encounters. 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Patric Is On Your Left



Good day Patric and thank you for consenting to participate in our interview.


Norm:



Could you tell us something about yourself Patric and why you wanted to involve yourself in the Great White Shark expeditions?




Patric:




Great question. It's not something that you see at Career Day at the local high school, that's for sure. As you mentioned, I had been working as a tour director for 10 years running 21- day tours around the world, the shark adventures were a natural choice. Since I was a small boy I have been fascinated by marine life and sharks are every boys first thrill. Now at the ripe old age of 37, I get to live that thrill year after year&with some really great clients as well.


Norm:


What is shark diving?



Patric:



It's probably the most exciting thing you can do for a vacation at the moment. First of all there's the sheer rush of the whole thing. Your first meeting with a Great White shark is always a heart stopping moment in time. The fact is we are all just naked apes and like it or not on a very deep level we have a full and abiding fear of predators.  

Shark diving allows divers for a brief moment into the world of the shark. Whether you're in a cage with Great Whites, or swimming along with Whale Sharks like we did this spring in Honduras, or in a submarine at 1700 looking at an 18 foot 6 Gill which we also just returned from in Honduras-it's a rare opportunity.

Norm:


How does one sign up for one of these expeditions and what can they expect?




 
Patric:



Usually divers book either groups or as solo divers with us through our WEBSITE. They can expect to see sharks. We run only 88% shark sites. Some operators will take divers whenever they can regardless of if there are sharks there or not. We feel strongly about this point-divers free time is precious, so why waste it on a trip when you do not see the animals that are advertised?


Norm:


Have you ever had any life threatening experiences on one of these expeditions? If so, please describe.



Patric:


This season while Whale Shark diving on Utila (it's going to be a huge shark site soon by the way) a diver had her leg bitten by a Silky Shark that happened to be in the same bait ball with the Whale Shark we were swimming up to. She was brave, and we got her a quick medi-flight to a mainland hospital. Was it life threatening? No, but we did have quite a scare there for a moment. It's the first time we have had a shark attack like this ever. Her leg is fine and she has quite a story to tell now.


Norm:


Would you recommend one of your expeditions to honeymooners, and if so, why?


Patric:


The Great White expedition-that's a must! I mean, come on now, you have newly weds, big sharks, lot's of action, great food and private accommodations on board a 90 dive boat. When I get married I will probably do this one with a few friends, that's if my wife agrees to it!


Norm:


Where is the Isla Guadalupe and why did you select this location for your expeditions?


Patric:


Guadalupe used to be Mexico's prison island. It's located 210 miles off the coast of Mexico from Ensenada. The site is pristine, with 100- foot vis and warmer waters than you find at any other Great White sites on the planet. Plus this site hosts over 70 different animals we have seen thus far&it's a robust shark site and so close to home for many in the USA.


Norm:


I understand you experienced your third hurricane in the U.S. Virgin Islands. What was it like to be caught up in a hurricane?

Patric:


That's was exciting, the first two were minor blows with some wires down and trees about. The problem was this was a series of hurricanes in a row all in one month. By the time the third one came in we all thought it would be like the first two. It was a direct hit, by a category 4- storm that wiped out the island. We knew we were in trouble when the entire house next door imploded and nailed us knocking out one of the bedrooms and putting a 2x4 through the ceiling of the living room at super sonic speeds. Pretty much at that point we all stopped drinking (it was a hurricane party up until then) and we relocated the kitchen. The next morning we discovered the 170- foot coast guard cutter the Point Ledge in downtown ST. Thomas 200 feet from the ocean&what a hurricane!


Norm:


As I mentioned in my introduction, you have conducted 21-day tours of China, Bali, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand and Latin America. If you were to choose one unique romantic destinations in each one of these countries, which one would you choose and why?


Patric:

              For Argentina a small place called Mendoza-it's the wine country and similar to Sonoma up  here in California.


       
 New Zealand-Queesntown, it's an amazing place in the South Island full of mountains, great diving, and skiing too.

               Australia, I would choose Heron Island off the coast of Queensland by the Great Barrier Reef it's got romantic beaches, great diving and more.
 

              As for Asia-China has an amazing place called the Li River, full of greenery and close to Vietnam. You can take 5 day river boat rides down this river and it's very romantic.
 

              Hong Kong is not romantic at all, that is if you like romance at 1000 miles a second with a full (albeit drunk) concert ensemble all paying different tunes at the same time. That's Hong Kong in a nutshell, terrible place for lovers.


Norm:


Is there anything else you wish to add that we have not covered?


 

Patric:


If you get a chance to see a shark, or dive with a shark take it. These are animals that have been much maligned and misunderstood. They are graceful, exciting, and beautiful to watch. Just remember, this is their playground, so stay alert, and always leave the shark with a win-win encounter. This way both you and the shark can enjoy the encounter. 


Thanks once again for agreeing to participate in our interview.

To know more about these expeditions click on Patric's Site-Shark Diver

Visit sketchandtravel.com - click here

 

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