Diving, Underwater Hunting and Sharks
Testimonio de Testimony of Poki Tane Haoa
Diving is a fascinating activity and being surrounded by fish, including sharks, is a wonderful feeling. I’ve never felt that the sharks were going to bite me. That’s a wrong-headed concept. Swimmers and divers die more often eating peanut butter than from shark bites. A shark is a wary fish in the presence of divers and keeps a careful distance. They don’t jump on people. They are only curious, especially in places where they don’t often see humans, such as the Motu Motiro Hiva islet, which is 12 hours in boat from Rapa Nui. In those more pristine environments, the food chain has maintained its natural balance among the fish, where the predators, such as the sharks, keep the weak and the sick from reproducing.
Poki Tane en / in Motu motiro Hiva
Technology has changed us, too. Nobody fishes with a line made of human hair and a Mangai (hook) of stone or bone any more. The older men accepted the change of Mangai for the metal hook and lure, but they maintain their methods of fishing large catch, such as tuna fish, amberjack, shark and others. The traditional method, that works very well even today, is to tie a chunk of bait to a stone and throw it into the sea. Tuna fish usually won’t eat chopped bait, but they’ve gotten accustomed to it throughout Polynesia.
We often will dive around the Island up to about 10 or 15 meters (33 to 50 feet), although some can do free-diving up to 35 meters (115 feet). In the past, lung capacity was very important and there were families with that gift. Today it’s not as important as the different techniques that can be used to develop ability, such as yoga, techniques of relaxation and getting accustomed to the lack of oxygen, teaching the body to resist to the point of convulsion. Today we don’t come up kicking as we used to, but use a technique more like a fish with a single fin. If we apply techniques with a constant weight and swimfins, it’s possible to get to 129 meters (420 feet) of depth. Of course, those athletes come out blue after holding on for a bit more than eleven minutes. Here we are still very far from those international levels.
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