Shark Week brings out the best in the Spielvogel family of shark divers

By: J. Werner
| Published 07/02/2016


THE WOODLANDS, Texas - Just when you thought it was safe to sit down in front of your television’s Shark Week, and the Spielvogel family that shark dives together, is making plans to get back into the swim of things.

Television's longest running and most anticipated summer event returned to the Discovery Channel this week, celebrating its 28th anniversary with all new and compelling shark stories, but wait! There’s more! Not to be outdone, the National Geographic Channel is also serving up their own SharkFest. And if a whole week of titillating shark shows doesn’t satisfy your curiosity about these unique creatures, Hollywood is is rolling out another “shark and awe” film about the Great Whites...The Shallows, timed to release during this shark frenzy, and who better to critique this fantastic film footage of fascinating fin features than The Woodlands’ resident shark diver and photographer, Paul Spielvogel.

Real estate attorney by day at American Title Company - The Woodlands, and shark enthusiast all the time, Spielvogel said he hadn’t seen newly released The Shallows and didn’t intend to. Spielvogel recommended instead, some of the excellent programming on the Discovery and National Geographic Channels. The Discovery Channel made a 180-degree turn on its Shark Week programming format a year ago, diverting from outrageous, but entertaining cult films like “Dinoshark,” and “Sharknado,” and presenting sixteen programs that feature the world’s leading authorities on sharks and marine biology, and their studies of the many shark species, of which there are over 400.

The National Geographic’s SharkFest programming is airing equally informative and entertaining features about the ocean’s most fascinating, yet maligned creatures.

Spielvogel recommended watching all the programs.

“We know most of these people featured in these documentaries, and have dived with many of them,” said Spielvogel.“Watch all of them. Even if you think they’re bad,” said Spielvogel. “Everyone has their own opinion. If they don’t like it, they can change the channel.”

Spielvogel’s daughter, Jessie, ‘skyped’ in on the conversation. The youngest of Paul’s three children, the two older sons are also divers. It’s a family tradition. Proud father Paul, talked about the family… The Spielvogel shark diving family

Jessie interned with Discovery during her college years, and is now employed with a non-profit in Washington D.C. that focuses on climate-related issues. A certified diver since the age of twelve, Jessie has now become a diving ‘buddy’ with her father, planning the dive trips, participating in the dives, filming the sharks with a GoPro, and taking ‘selfies’ with a selfie stick. In the following video, Jessie describes her initial dive with sharks, and how she’s become acclimated in their environment… Shark diver/photographers Paul & Jessie Spielvogel

"Jessie is the next generation of shark conservationists. We’re encouraging more young people to get involved in shark diving, to continue to advocate for the sharks,” said Spielvogel. “Sharks play an important role in our ocean’s ecological balance.”

The two are anxious to take their next dive together. They’ll be traveling to Playa Del Carmen to dive with the Bull sharks in October.

“There’s a reason they’re called Bull sharks. They’re very aggressive. They’ll bully you.”

Some scientists theorize that the Bull sharks aggressive nature could be to a higher testosterone level in their blood.

Paul and Jessie talk about the Playa Del Carmen shark diving trip with the Bull sharks... Playa Del Carmen shark diving expedition

Jessie talked about getting ‘skunked’ on a trip earlier in the year. Their trip in January was a 10-day trip to the Bahamas to dive with the Tiger sharks and the Great Hammerheads. Uncooperative weather conditions permitted only one good day in the water with the sharks; a disappointing expedition for divers who had congregated for the dive from all over the world.

Naturally the topic of shark attacks came up, and the possible cause for the increase in shark attacks is discussed by Jessie Spielvogel… Jessie Spielvogel discusses possible causes or increase in shark attacks

Both maintain that sharks do not prey on human beings because we’re not the regular diet all the shark species. A better understanding of shark migration and shark feeding habits would greatly reduce the possibility of shark bite, as the two explain... Jessie & Paul Spielvogel discuss shark feeding habits

And before you see the newly-released The Shallows, listen to what Paul Spielvogel says about the maligned Great White shark... Paul Spielvogel discusses diving with the Great White sharks

Both Spielvogels urge people to enjoy the beaches this summer and not worry incessantly about the sharks. They encourage watching the shark documentaries on the Discovery Channel during Shark Week, and reading more about the various shark species to become familiar with their migratory patterns and feeding areas, before diving in unfamiliar waters. If interested in participating in shark diving, contact them. Instead of worrying about a shark bite, take a bite out fear.

Spielvogel’s shark diving adventure that demonstrated a astonishing concept referred to as tonic immobility…putting a shark in a state of immobility...Discovery Channel's “Zombie Sharks” explores tonic immobility

To view more magnificent photos of sharks photographed by Paul Spielvogel, view and his Facebook page.

See related link for movie review of Hollywood's newly-released 'shark and awe' film, The Shallows:

Movie review: "The Shallows"

#SharkWeek #TheShallows