Sparkler Spotlight: Justin "The Shark Scientist" Blake

Sparkler Spotlight: Justin "The Shark Scientist" Blake

For those of us who sit in our corporate offices, (or our makeshift work from home offices now), the thought of being on a beach is something straight out of a daydream. For Justin, however, it is a reality. The only difference is that Justin’s office is filled with sharks. Whilst these creatures might turn a daydream into a nightmare for some, they invoke passion for Justin, a shark scientist in South Africa.

Read on to learn more about his conservation efforts, and his Spark "Enter the shark tank with a marine biologist".

Tell us about yourself and your Spark – “Enter the shark tank with a marine biologist”.

I grew up hearing Navy diver stories from my dad. He has a passion for the ocean, which ‘sparked’! an early interest and growing connection with this otherworldly place in me. I was nervous of the ocean early on, as most people are, but overcame my fears by learning skills such as free diving, spearfishing and surfing. And no, I have not been bitten by a shark - close but all fingers and toes are intact!

My passion, and the subject matter of my Spark, is conservation of wild spaces which I work towards by sharing the mind-blowing stories of sharks! In addition, spending countless hours in the ocean has taught me a lot - reminding me constantly of my influence on those around me (you have a profound influence on sharks and other marine animals underwater), which is also something we touch on.

What got you interested in shark conservation in the first place, and why did you choose this to be the subject of your Spark?

My interest draws from the place that we’ve called our study site for 11 years - clear, warm water and lots, LOADS, of large sharks! It’s raw, powerful, breathtakingly beautiful and world class. Literally world class. And nobody knows about it! The findings of 11 years of tagging & tracking sharks have blown my mind over and over again. The lives these animals live below the surface are so exceptional that I need to share them with someone, anyone, willing to chat about them!

Plus, the proceeds from my Spark supports our work, it’s how we pay our bills and support our team of passionate ocean people who are helping us to save as many sharks as possible. If you find yourself asking “why would he want to save sharks?”, well you’ll just have to book and find out!

As a person who works on the ocean, what has been the most challenging part to adjusting to the online experience world?

Trying to figure out how to send the smell of the ocean to guests online! Any ideas?

What has been your most memorable online experience moment?


Passion is profound and powerful. Bringing tears of hope means I have connected with, and provided solutions for, those seeking positivity in their lives, something different from the negative sensationalism and stress we see in the world around us. We can save these places and animals if we choose to, if we act. I focus on solutions to help us all feel a little better about our impact on the world.

We’ve left the most important question for last: M&Ms or Skittles?


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