Stephen’s life-long interest in the ocean started at an early age along the shores of Cape Town-South Africa, later developing into him compiling over 25 years of experience whilst working in various marine research fields. He has conducted studies locally and internationally, on all Top Predators that included seals, whales, dolphins, seabirds and great white sharks. He is an avid recreational fisherman and engaged in commercial inshore hand-line and offshore tuna fishing when not involved in any research activity.
Stephen is a qualified small craft skipper with a range of up to 40 nautical miles, a certified specialist marine tour guide, first aid at sea and marine radio telephone communication certificate holder. In addition, he has co-authorship status in 11 scientific research publications on the various Top Predators, consulted and featured in 8 wildlife documentaries for National Geographic, Discovery Channel, BBC, SABC, German and Italian Television stations, amongst others. Shows such as Ultimate Shark, Sharkville, Animal Camera, Ultimate AirJaws, Inside Natures Giants, Megladon, Pasella and The Lab are features where Stephen was used for his scientific talent, white shark handling specialist and logistics coordinator. The awarding of a ‘Certificate of Merit for Recognition of Outstanding Service to Animals – by the SPCA, for his ongoing rescue and removal of pollutants from entangled cape fur seals in the Cape Town Waterfront area, is fitting testimony of Stephen’s love for the marine environment.
He is highly skilled at handling and working with great white sharks, specializing in the use of satellite telemetry during capture and tagging processes. He has mastered the art of capturing white sharks via a hook-up method, landing them on specifically designed sub surface cradles and ensuring their survival whilst satellite linked transmitters are dorsal fin attached to monitor movement patterns. In a ground breaking research project, Stephen had the honour of placing the satellite tag, on the now world famous white shark nicknamed Nicole, who swam from Gansbaai (SA) to Australia and back over an 11 month period, the longest ever recorded intercontinental migration of a free swimming white shark! He captured and released the largest ever white shark offGuadalupe IslandMexico, for satellite tagging that was measured at 5m in length.
Amongst others, Stephen has conducted research studies on cape fur seals on island and land-based colonies along the South African coastline, Antarctic fur seals in the Artic region onMarionIsland, including resident seabirds such as the wandering albatross, king penguin, giant petrels, white chinned petrels and storm petrels. He has worked off the coast ofMozambiqueand participated in a transect survey of humpback whales for population estimates during their northward migration to their summer breeding grounds. Other cetaceans he has worked on were the endemic heavisidi dolphin off the west coast ofCape Townin order to understand more about their unknown daily inshore/offshore movement and feeding patterns. Stephen performed numerous autopsies on dead stranded cetaceans and dealt with live mass strandings, coordinating the successful return of animals back into the ocean. He is an active member of the South African Whale Disentanglement Unit (SAWDN) and successfully removed a tuna long-line entangled around the body of a free swimming humpback whale off the coast ofMosselBay.
Stephen’s wide field of experience in the marine environment is of great value to the tourism industry. All clientele undertaking a shark diving adventure with him can be rest assured of having a magical experience.