Fresh to Depth

Have you ever wondered what crazy person would want to put a cage in the deep blue sea? Full of sharks?? So who decided to drop a cage in a sharks den? And what does this have to do with Steven Spielberg’s movie Jaws and lions???
The history of the “invention” – or rather adaptation of the cage is quite interesting. Looking back to where it all began, the year was 1940 and Rodney Fox was born in Adelaide, Australia, he is an avid sea enthusiast with many feats include fishing, spearfishing and catching lobsters. This progressed whereby he became the 1962 South Australian Spearfishing Champion.
A year later, on December 8th 1963, four months after 25-year-old life insurance salesman Rodney married his wife Kay, he re-entered the South Australian Spearfishing Championship to defend his title at Aldinga Beach, 50 kilometres away from Adelaide.
While stalking large reef fish near the rocks, he was plowed into by a Great White Shark, grabbing his torso and dragging him below. He managed to escape and was rushed to hospital.
At the hospital, the doctors assessed the injuries and determined the tendons in his right hand had been cut, his left lung and clavicle were punctured, all of his ribs were bitten through and his organs were exposed. He received 462 stitches in his chest, including 29 in his lung, and 92 in his right arm and hand. After miraculously surviving the attack, he is left with very little after-effects – only the scars and a shark tooth embedded in his right wrist.
After the incident, Fox was afraid of sharks and had to receive physical therapy. Alf Dean, a famous game fisherman, wrote Fox in hospital stating, ”If you had seen what I’ve seen you would hang up your dive gear and never go in the water again.”
Dean had invited Fox to a hunting expedition where he had hunted 5 Great White Sharks. This was when Fox realised the stigma attached to sharks and that he was curious to understand these ancient creatures and one day while at the Adelaide zoo with his wife and niece he stumbled across an epiphany that lions are wild animals caged, so why not cage ourselves and discover the many mysteries of sharks.
Upon testing the two-man cage he had built, he invited shark attack survivors Henri Bource and Brian Rodger, along with Alf Dean to film the expedition.

scars
Because of the popularity of the shark cage diving, Steven Spielberg approached Fox to assist him in obtaining footage for the hit box office 1976 film Jaws.
Fox, along with his son, Andrew, and Dr. Rachel Robbins founded the Fox Shark Research Foundation (FSRF) aimed at studying sharks and conserving the species.
To find out more about Rodney Fox and the foundation follow the link: http://www.rodneyfox.com.au/about-us/rodney-fox/

shark cage diving shark breaching

Article Excerpt:
“I thought I’d been hit by a train.”
Rodney reached around the head of the shark and attempted to gouge its eyes.
“The shark seemed to let me go and I fell out of its mouth and then I quickly thrust my arm out to try and push it away, but my hand disappeared right over its teeth, into its mouth.”
Rodney quickly pulled his hand out, grazing the teeth of the shark and resulting in over 90 stitches to repair the damage done to his hand.
“Then I grabbed the shark in a bear-hug, right around the chest and around the back and I held on, thinking it can’t turn around and bite me.”
After realizing he was still 60 feet underwater, and running out of breath fast, Rodney let go of the shark and swam for the surface.
“I went to the surface, took a couple of breaths of air and looked down and as best as I could through the blood-red water, I saw this great big shark coming up with its mouth wide open.”
In what Rodney describes as the first miracle, the shark turned and swallowed the fish float that was attached to Rodney’s dive belt.
As the shark turned, Rodney was pulled back underwater by the rope that was still attached to his belt.
Seconds before he thought he would drown, Rodney’s second miracle happened, the line snapped.
“When the shark had bitten me on the chest, it had actually bitten through three quarters of the way through the line.”
With all of the blood still on the surface of the water, a nearby boat had motored over to investigate and was almost on top of Rodney when he surfaced.
“I came up in the middle of it [blood] and they rolled me in and took me off to hospital.”

lion cage

Williamson, B., 2012. Great white hope: The Rodney Fox story. [Online]
Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/02/17/2493781.htm
[Accessed 04 March 2017].

Works Cited
Rodney Fox Shark Expeditions, 2017. Rodney Fox. [Online]
Available at: http://www.rodneyfox.com.au/about-us/rodney-fox/
[Accessed 04 03 2017].
Williamson, B., 2012. Great white hope: The Rodney Fox story. [Online]
Available at: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2009/02/17/2493781.htm
[Accessed 04 March 2017].