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Valerie Taylor: 70 years and still playing with Sharks

Posted by Scuba Herald on Sep 23rd, 2008 and filed under Scuba Industry. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

Valerie Taylor: 70 years and still playing with Sharks

If you think you are to old to dive with sharks, think again: for many, retirement means daytime chat shows on the telly and a slowing of the pace of life.

But it is fair to say Ron and Valerie Taylor are not your average OAPs as they celebrate more than 40 years of getting up close and personal with sharks. If you consider yourself a diver and you don’t know who Valerie Taylor is, then you don’t know a lot about sharks!

The pair, aged 74 and 71, met as members of a spearfishing club in Sydney but decided to stop hunting fish in the 1960s and turned to conservation instead.

They began their quest by making a series of ground-breaking films showing life underwater, and are credited with being the first people to film great white sharks without the protection of a cage.
Some of their most famous footage of the creatures, which can grow to more than 6m (20ft), reached an even wider audience when it was used by Steven Spielberg in his 1975 film Jaws.

Their underwater work regularly puts the couple in danger, with Valerie surviving one particularly close call when a shark bit her leg during a dive off the California coast.

‘I felt a gentle bump and I looked down and my leg was in quite a large shark’s mouth – that was a startling sight,’ she said.

Valerie was able to break free after punching the shark in the gills to loosen its grip.

To try to make their job safer, Ron designed a chain mail diving suit.

But, after spending thousands of pounds, he found it was too small for him, so his wife volunteered to be filmed while sharks chewed her arms and legs.

The pair have won dozens of awards and Valerie was made an honorary member of the Order of the Golden Ark in recognition of her conservation work.

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2 Responses for “Valerie Taylor: 70 years and still playing with Sharks”

  1. andrew hoskins says:

    Hi,i recently saw the documentary”SHADOW OF THE SHARK”by Ron and Valerie Taylor.I have been facinated by sharks since a sand shark swam past my legs while swimming over 30 years ago.I would be grateful if you could give me any contact information,an email address or postal address for Mr and Mrs Taylor,as i would like to express my admiration and appreciation for there work and dedication in promoting the positive side to this wonderful creature.

  2. Roy Pruett says:

    My 10 year old daughter is very interested in sharks and
    Valerie Taylor is her hero . Nicole really wants to send Mrs. Taylor a letter or an email but we are finding nothing on the internet .
    Can someone help us – she has a real facination with sharks and like I said , Miss Valerie is truly her hero .

    If someone could point us in the right direction , we would appreciate it .

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