Taught the AWARE Shark Conservaton Specialty in October for the first time and what a great course it is. I was already a Shark Awareness Instructor in the Bahamas however being back in the UK teaching made me notice the huge decrease we see of sharks around the coast here. The presentation slides are fantastic and its great that you can add your own slides about local sharks to make it even more relevant for your divers.
Many people were laughing at me for teaching this course in the UK saying 'there are no sharks', so to educate people that we do in fact get sharks around the UK was great, and to inform of the decline was a huge eye opener to all involved.
You do not have to see sharks on the dives for this course so I did tell my students we may not, however the idea is to look at positive and negative impacts to sharks in our area. We jumped in on the first dive and within minutes saw a Small Spotted Catshark! yay! everyone was so excited you could see our smiles! Then a few moments later we came across another which was a smaller Catshark just chilling on the bottom...was not bothered by us at all so we got a really close up encounter which was fantastic for all of us.
On the second dive we came across a huge Spider crab which was completely tangled and trapped withing some discarded fishing line :( the poor thing! so we got our knives and carefully cut away the line and Mr. Crab crawled off free!
So the whole course was a fantastic success and I recommend any Instructors obtaining the status to teach and for divers to take part in if one is happening in your area.