Mirror – The shark whisperer: Fearless diver has killers of the water eating out of his hand

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After 10 years of trying, Eli Martinez has developed an amazing relationship with the deadly beasts

FEEDING lethal tiger sharks is like tickling trout for this brave diver.

But it has taken 41-year-old Eli Martinez 10 years to have them eating out of the palm of his hand, instead of biting it off.

He said: “They are wild so you can never get 100% comfortable.

“But I’m able to get them to roll 180 degrees around my hand.”

Eli has adopted the same feeding routine since 2002 at Tiger Beach, in the Bahamas to tame the 16ft killers, second only to great whites when it comes attacking humans.

He added: “They are calm unless threatened. And they have feelings. They’re not mindless monsters.”


The Telegraph – Pictures of the Day: 15 January 2013

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Eli Martinez gets a shark to roll over at Tiger Beach off the Bahamas. He says: ‘I’ve been going to the same spot for the last 10 years and after a few repeat interactions they know the drill but I must not forget what they’re capable of. You can spot which one is which by their different markings. They have various scratches and scars so you see them all the time. Hook is one of my darlings and Alex is always around too. I’m able to get them to roll 180 degrees in the palm of my hand.’


People – Fin-sanity! Shark Gives Diver a High-Five

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Up high, bro! 

Deep beneath the surface of the waters off the Bahamas, two unlikely creatures shared a celebratory moment – and amazingly, it was captured on camera. Eli Martinez, an editor at Shark Diver magazine, and a lemon shark decided to go hand to fin and make a memorable moment under the sea.Staff photographer Paul Spielvogel tells PEOPLE that sharks get close to get food offered by the divers. This shark came swimming straight for Martinez, and right as it reached him, turned and held up a fin. 

“The shark is one we’re familiar with,” Spielvogel says. “I was just snapping away, and this one came in and high-fived him. You see that shot, and you go, ‘That’s not real.'” 


GrindTV – Hammerhead shark eats out of diver’s hand

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Diver Eli Martinez aims to change negative views about sharks by interacting with them in waters off Bahamas, where hammerhead sharks enjoy protection

An experienced diver who leads shark diving tours took multiple trips and spent hours diving with hammerhead sharks in waters off Bimini Island, Bahamas, this winter before the sharks got used to his presence and became comfortable eating out of his hand.

Eli Martinez of SDM Adventures based in North Alamo, Texas, had hammerhead sharks slowly swim up to him and open their mouths to take in the fish he was offering. The scene resulted in an array of compelling photos, as you can see.

“This was my second season visiting the great hammerheads of Bimini and working with them this close,” Martinez told Caters News Agency, as reported by U.K. MailOnline. “They are very large sharks, but they are elegant predators. They don’t have a lot of interest in divers as they are so interested in the bait we are offering them.

“But you still have to respect these animals and be careful, following the obvious rules they demand.”

Hammerhead sharks can grow to 19 feet and weigh up to 1,300 pounds. Though their mouths are small in proportion to their bodies, they are equipped with rows of sharp teeth. Hammerhead sharks are known to eat fish, squid, octopus, crustacea, and other sharks, and are not considered man-eaters.

Reportedly, as of 2013, there have only been 33 known attacks by hammerhead sharks on humans, and none were fatal.

The damage man has done to the sharks, however, has been devastating, and it is one reason why Martinez is trying to change the negative views many people have about sharks by interacting with them.

“They are coveted by the shark fin trade because of their very large fins, so they have been relentlessly hunted and the global population of these sharks has suffered,” Martinez said. “Fortunately the Bahamas is a shark sanctuary and while they are in these waters they enjoy protection.”

The great hammerhead sharks are an endangered species and protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, an agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival, Martinez explained.

“It is truly a privilege to spend time in the water with these animals and an honor to be able to share them with the world to show how amazing and beautiful they truly are.”

Shark Sessions Episode # 1 “Charlie”

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Shark Sessions are short films we created to profile people who are just Kick Ass characters in the shark diving world. People who are making a difference, whether it be; shark diving, photography, films, conservation, or people who are pushing the envelope to change what people know or think they know about sharks. So this first one is about our good friend Carlos “Charlie” Estrabeau, the lead bull shark feeder for Phantom Divers in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.

To Touch A Tiger

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Here is a video created to show the other side of sharks, the side that is never shared with the public. Did you know that some sharks enjoy a nose scratch? or that some sharks enjoy belly rubs? Well they do…even sharks like tiger sharks. Here is a short video of SDM editor Eli Martinez interactiing with a few of his favorite sharks off of Tiger Beach, Bahamas. We hope you enjoy.

Whale Sharks, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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Every year whale sharks migrate to the food rich waters that are just a few miles off the coast of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. For the past 6 seasons we have journeyed out there to document and enjoy this natural spectacle. Here is a short video that shows what it is like seeing these amazing animals, not only from the water but from the air. Footage is by Armando Gasse and Eli Martinez. I hope you enjoy…

A Brazilian Dream

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A Brazilian Dream
This is a video I made for my good friends who joined me for a week of oceanic whitetips. It was an amazing week and the perfect trip. We found this elusive shark five days out of five day trip. It was a great trip.