SDM is a family business, run primarily by Eli Martinez and his wife, Maritza Martinez. The goals of our company are simple, “to share with the world how important and beautiful our wildlife is, and to help dispel the predator myth.” ~ which is the belief that sharks and other predatory animals are mindless monsters that need to be killed or culled.
Predators, like sharks, wolves and bears are extremely important to our eco-systems and we can safely co-exist with them. Our mission is to help people understand these misunderstood animals better. Through our expeditions and photography work, we strive to help these important animals, with bad PR problems.
OUR COMPANY HISTORY
Based in South Texas, we began life as a publishing company. We published the first issue of Shark Diver Magazine in March of 2003. Over an 8 year period, a total of 25 issues of SDM were published. During that time, we also organized expeditions to various places around the world, seeking out different species of sharks and whales. Our very first was for sandtiger sharks off Morehead City, NC in May, 2003. As the years went on, we expanded these expeditions to include other wildlife, including terrestrial animals, such as bears and wild cats.
Sadly, the last issue of SDM was published in 2012. We recognized that social media was taking over the world, and a quarterly magazine just could not keep up with the speed of story telling on today's social media platforms. However, we also discovered the benefits of these mediums. We could now connect daily with our readers and share all the latest news involving wildlife in real time.
So, we decided it was best to do away with publishing our paper magazine and focused our attention on the two areas we truly enjoyed - Story telling... using platforms like; youtube for video vlogs, facebook, and instagram. And of course our favorite; connecting with people in the real world, by organizing expeditions and taking them to beautiful places to encounter and learn about these amazing animals for themselves.
When we ran the magazine, we gave a voice to sharks by promoting their importance to our ocean's eco-systems and their importance to people and communities, ( through eco-tourism ). As well, as providing the research community a voice, by publishing their work in each issue, sharing with the world the overfishing problems that sharks face globally, and the work being done to help protect them. Despite no longer publishing the magazine, we continue lending sharks (and other wildlife), a voice, by sharing these important messages on our expeditions, blogs, school presentations and social media pages.
Our work with sharks has varied through the years, from assisting with shark research, to documenting new and learned shark behaviors on our expeditions. We have also organized and worked directly with the scientific community, such as the porbeagle project in the Bay of Fundy, Canada. A first of it's kind.
An important part of our work is documenting predator behavior on our expeditions. The information we collect via; notes, images and videos, is used to help people understand these animals, as well as help compliment researchers on-going work to protect these animals, along with their natural habitats. Our expeditions, which are very species specific, provide us with unique opportunities to learn intimate details about these animals.
Eco-tourism is extremely important to the survival of all predatory species. The money generated stimulates local economies and everyone benefits; local governments, hotels, airlines, restaurants, tourist shops, tour operators, etc. Monies that eco-tourism generates is what allows governments to see the importance of these animals and helps to win them the protection they need.
We also spend a lot of time visiting schools to share our message. We have shared the predators story with tens of thousands of children through the years, sharing the importance of these animals and why we need them.
It is through these talks and using our voice through TV, and social media that we can do our part to help give a voice to the voiceless...because only through love, respect and education will these animals continue to exist in the wild.
Thank you for reading and visiting our website.
- the SDM Crew.
MEET THE TEAM
(Owner / Operator)
Eli is your tour host on these expeditions. His roots are deep in the shark diving community, pushing and changing what was known about sharks and the way sharks are seen. He is also no stranger to the dangers posed by extreme sports or big animals, having spent 6 years as a rodeo bull rider...
His love for animals and nature is where his heart truly lies and dispelling the “predator myths” is his life's work.
He has spent countless hours under the sea interacting with different shark species and has logged over a thousand tiger and lemon shark dives, as well as countless hours in the field observing land predators; photographing and studying their behavior, trying to discover their true nature.
He has worked as a host/cameraman/ safety diver for; Discovery Channel's, Shark Week, Animal Planet, National Geographic, CNN, Outdoor Channel and NBC's The Today Show, as well as various documentaries, newspapers and magazines around the world.
His TV show hosting work includes; SharkWeek's "Zombie Sharks." Nat Geo Wild's "Tiger Terror" and Outdoor Channel's "Blue Water Savages," series (8 episodes).
(Co-Owner / Operator)
Every wonder who was on the other side of your emails? Meet Maritza, the first person you will encounter from the SDM family. From responding to your emails, to arranging your trips, transfers, hotels...etc. She provides the help you need to ensure your expedition is a success and headache free. When she is not in the office, helping organize the trips, she is with you, out there, co-hosting the expeditions with Eli. Stay updated with her instagram, and check out all the latest adventures.
David is the latest addition to our team. He is our scuba instructor and safety diver. He is currently working this season at Phantom Divers, in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, honing his skills as a shark feeder and dive guide. He officially joined our team in January, 2014. Helping us to lead SDM expeditions whenever he wasn’t off on his own adventures. In 2015, David worked as a cameraman / safety diver for the Outdoor Channel’s TV series, Blue Water Savages (2015). You can follow David's adventures on his Instagram and Facebook account.
Sophia "Waterbug" Martinez
Born with a deep love for the ocean and all it's creatures. Except for jellyfish, she learned the hard way, she does not like jellyfish. Sophia spends her year, helping to crew SDM’s expeditions, learning about conservation and working on her photography. We began bringing her with us on the boat, during the summer, when she was 5 years old. It was those early adventures that sparked Sophia's passion for wildlife, and the need to protect them. She decided pretty quickly that she wanted to become a wildlife photographer, specializing in underwater wildlife. So we decided to home school and bring her on the road with us full time. She became a certified diver at the age of 10 and has been a waterbug ever since...She was the youngest diver that BAD Divers had ever taken to dive with the Fiji Bull sharks. You can follow her never ending adventures on her Youtube channel (Waterbug’s World.), Facebook and instagram