Al J Venter Takes a Detour From War Books to Bring Us Shark Stories
Al J Venter, the author of over forty books on war, has written about the sharks in South Africa’s waters in the collaborative Shark Stories. The book includes contributions from experts and notables such as Willie van Rensburg, who survived an attack by a great white shark:
For decades, the waters around South Africa have had more sharks – and a greater variety of these predators − than any other coastline in the world. One international authority recently labelled South Africa ‘the shark capital of the world’. There are several reasons, one being the annual sardine run up the east coast, which draws enthusiasts from every continent, coupled to a spate of great white shark viewing operations near Gansbaai off the Cape coast. Tens of thousands of people have flocked there in the past 20 years and many famous names as well: Brad Pitt, King Abdullah of Jordan and Leonard diCaprio among them. Al Venter has put all these facets together in the comprehensive book on sharks. He has been free-diving (without cages) with sharks for 40 years, had three of his friends killed by them and dozens attacked, some seriously. Yet, he regards the shark as one of mankind’s greatest oceanic assets: remove the shark from the maritime equation (as the Chinese are now doing with their long-line fishing) and an ecological disaster will follow.
Pulling together with a bunch of specialist divers and friends, Venter has created a book on sharks that is not only instructive but is fascinating. His photo selection stands at the highest international level with individuals like Fiona Ayerst, Morné Hardenberg and that delightfully diminutive ‘shark warrior’ Lesley Rochat. All these people are internationally recognised for their work.
In 30 chapters, Venter draws on the experience of notables like Geremy Cliff (of the KwaZulu-Natal Sharks Board), Sijmon de Waal, former SA Navy diver Peter Sachs, Walter Bernardis (the tiger shark man), Willie van Rensburg (who survived a great white attack) and Mike Rutzen (known for his films on diving with great white sharks) together with a host of others known for their underwater experiences. Considering the number of shark attacks off our coast, this is both a remarkable and a timely volume.
About the author
Al J. Venter, now living in the UK, has written over 40 war books, including Allah’s Bomb, Iran’s Nuclear Option, and Iraqi War Debrief, and most recently, War Stories. But he is also an avid diver and has already co-authored with John H Visser a book entitled Dive, South Africa.