Local News

North East barman ‘bitten on the groin’ while feeding sharks

Marcus Kitching, from Swainby, feeds sharks in the Carribbean. Photo by Stuart Cove's Fin Photo.A former North East barman has traded tavern life for a trident, going beneath the waves of the Caribbean to hand feed “man-eating” sharks.

Less than two years ago Marcus Kitching, 21, was working at The Black Horse in Swainby, North Yorkshire, serving up food to hungry diners. But now he’s swapped pub grub for paradise, living on a yacht and working as an instructor at Stuart Cove’s Dive Bahamas school, taking tourists to see the reef and tiger sharks that feed in the warm tropical waters.

“I’m a very lucky man,” Marcus told The Darlington and Stockton Times. “Two years ago I was learning to scuba dive in a pool in Billingham and now I am feeding sharks in the Caribbean.”

Marcus lives with his two uncles, who used to own the Dog and Gun pub at Potto, North Yorkshire, on a yacht moored off the coast of Paradise Island, near Nassau.

“Shark feeding is something Stuart Cove is known for,” Marcus told The Gazette. “It’s one of the few places in the world that does this kind of no-cage shark feeding.”

“The sharks need to eat a huge amount each day so our feeding doesn’t interfere with their natural hunting habits.”

Marcus wears chain mail when he dives to protect him from the reef sharks, which have a reputation for eating anything in front of them, gaining them the nickname of “man eaters” among locals in the area which is famous for the James Bond films Thunderball, Never Say Never Again and Casino Royale.

And the former Stokesley School and Yarm School pupil was recently grateful of the protection, when a large female reef stark decided to bite him on the groin.

“I felt an odd sensation between my knees and looked down to see a large female reef shark clamped on to the chainmail in my groin area,” Marcus told The Northern Echo. “I thought ‘please, I barely know you’.”

The sharks Marcus feeds are wild and the amount of feed is so small so as to not interfere with their natural eating patterns or hunting habits, with the aim of his work to educated visitors and conserve the ecosystem rather than provide a show.

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