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SDM's official Weblog, with the editor of SDM, Eli Martinez

March 30, 2007

I leave for Houston today. I am excited about the show, it should be fun. I haven't seen some of these industry people in a long time, so a few beers will be in order. I am just glad this week is over, talk about stressful. From the show stuff, to dealing with the printers, to preperations for the show this weekend. Damn what a work load. I should of stayed a tourist diver- ha, yea whatever, I love this life.

Well I got the new mags today, and I am happy to say they came out looking amazing. We begin mailing them on April 5th, then everyday after that till they are all gone. Sorry this part takes a while, but there is a lot of mags we need to bag and ship. Lots of great photos in this one as well. The editorial is FANTASTIC! (sorry shameless plug for my writing skills. Hey! Its my lie, let me tell it anyway I want to.)

Rusty also put together a 17 minute trailer for the show. It was great. He took snippets from every adventure we had this season and it came out wicked cool. Talk about a stroll down memory lane, I had forgotten about most of that stuff, so to see the adventure played back for me was really cool. I got to relive most of those memories all over again. I need to go sharkin again. It has been a while, it is time.

I talked to a friend of mine up in Houston who just got a boat and is going to take us out sharkin. I want scalloped hammers, and I want them bumping off my cameras. No one has that. Its time to get scared again.

If you all get a chance to hit the SeaSpace scuba show in Houston, look me up and come by to say hi. We will be at the Kickady Scuba Booth # 150 (I think, or was it #250?) Just look for Kickady Scuba... See ya!

March 28, 2007
We will be adding something cool to our site. It will be video snippets from our adventures. We are filming our reality series, taking all the best shark footage and putting it in shark sessions, but with so much going on we really do not have the ability to show you some of the very great moments that are happening out there. The things that happen on the fly. You know like, accidentally running into a school of blacktips, or what it feels like to have a whale shark ram your boat. Or how scary night diving with five big lemon sharks in total darkness, with only a small flashlight to show you where the sharks are. Things like that, so keep an eye out for our next newsletter, because the first one will be attached there. After that it will be available on our website, but it will first come out in our newsletter...

March 27, 2007
It is official, we are going after porbeagles this year! I know I shouldn't talk about it, but screw it, I am stoked. Porbeagle sharks baby! For those of you that don't know what a porbeagle shark is; it is one of the five warm blooded sharks, (whites, porbeagle, salmon, longfin mako, and shortfin mako make up the family). These sharks have suffered heavy losses due to over fishing so they are very hard to find. The best part is they are super fast, very aggressive, gnarly scary and way cool looking shark. No one has porbeagle stuff, and if someone does, they ain't sharing it. Even if someone does, there is not a lot to go around. There are just some shark species out there that not too many people have, because the sharks are rare, or hard to find, or in places that no divers have chummed before. The guys who do see these sharks are of course the fishermen, and they are taking us! Fishermen get to see them all. Again we are using their skill and expertise to go to places that we need to go. And where we are going is another first desent baby! No one is diving here. Of course there is a good reason why; because the place is not diveable.

This place we are going to, has ripping currents with an average of 10 feet of visability. It is very cold, probably between 30-40 degrees, and way out in a very remote area. We will not be pole camming this, because honestly where is the fun in that? We will be jumping in, topwater diving to film and shoot these sharks, one-on-one. That is how you get the best stuff. This is going to be such a kick ass adventure, I can't wait. It is one of those adventures that I really don't talk about much to my family or business partners because it will freak them out. And they don't really read these blogs (they hear about shark stuff all day), so I can write about it here and I can get some of you all fired up. I know this kind of diving is not for everyone. Some will probably ask, why do we want to do it? Because it is a another species of shark to document, and I want to see one, thats why. No other logic behind it.

Why did you climb Mt. Everest? "Because it's there!" was the answer

March 26, 2007
The week begins. This is going to be another busy week. We will be going to the scuba show in Houston, hanging out at the Kickady Scuba Booth. They are going to have a plasma TV screen up. So this week I have Rusty cutting a bunch of trailers to loop during the show. It will be about 15 minutes worth of shark footage along with a new trailer for Chasing Sharks. I am excited, I have not done a scuba show in a while. The last show we did was DEMA. That was in Vegas in 05' But we are back and its going to be fun. We will have the new magazine at the show, plus some cool shark videos to show everyone, so it will be cool. I will put the new trailer online after the show for those of you who do not get an opportunity to see it there.

March 23, 2007
I talked to the printers office today to check on things. So far so good. We are on schedule for delivery of a few boxes of issue 14 next week. I am trying to get them ready for the Houston Scuba Show which takes place on March 31-April 1. If you happen to be in the area stop in and say hi. We will be at the Kickady Scuba Booth. They are sponsoring us for the show. Come pick up a copy of the new mag. If your a subscriber I'll give you a preview copy of issue 15 as well. (Ha, yeah right! I wish I was that far ahead). It should be a good time. We took a full year off from doing the trade show circuit to film our show. So most industry people probably thought we fell off the face of the planet, thinking we folded. Far from it baby! We are here to stay, much to the disappointment of the other cheesy scuba mags. Right now I am having so much fun with the magazine, and the show, and our reader trips, and some of our wild scary 'off the beaten path' shark diving stuff; I'm just lovin this shit! If you have not guessed yet, I had a really good day today. Another day where I say, I LOVE MY JOB! I wish I could tell you why I am so excited, but I can't. But I do promise to share things with you all really soon... I promise!

March 21, 2007
I love my job. I think it's the greatest job in the world, but sometimes, I really, truly LOVE MY JOB! I just got off the phone with a guy that is going to take me out this September to find porbeagle sharks. I hope it goes through and we get to embark on that journey, because whether we find the sharks or not, it is going to be an amazing adventure! It looks like this year is going to be the big chill run for us. I have been talking back and forth to Andy Murch, our staff photog. and we have been making some plans for what we will be doing together this year, and it looks like the Great White North is where we will be racking up some miles. Salmon sharks, Greenland sharks, porbeagles, Baskers, big blues, dogfish, sixgills - all the whos-who of the cold and murky ass water world.

The most exciting thing about this is the fact that all of it, every single adventure we will embark upon is going to be us diving places that no one has ever dove before. All of it is way off the beaten path (except the dogfish, that is an organized shark feed). We have to rent our own boats from fishing captains and explain to them what we are trying to do. Some of the captains will not take us out, they think we are madd. But some of the boat captains have wanted to start diving with their sharks for a while now. But they are just a little gun shy. I don't blame them, most of it is very low vis, and many of these sharks are going to be pretty gnarly. Salmon and porbeagle sharks are close kin to makos and I think they will behave just like them. Mako sharks are super gnarly and very aggressive, tigers are pusy cats compared to them. Easily the mako is the gnarliest shark I have ever dove with. I can just imagine what diving with their cousins is going to be like? Those sharks spend much of their time in low vis conditions and they are fast sharks. This adventure should be all time, as wild and exciting as diving with whites outside the cage. But I think this will be scarier still. EPIC!

March 20, 2007
It has been a few days since I updated my journal. It has been major crunch time here at SDM HQ. I have been doing last minute checks on issue 14. And finally I am proud to say, that the mag has officially left the building. Well... it is at the printers now. I should get the mags back within two weeks. From there we start putting them in those stamped brown paper folders you all love, and then mailed off. I have been up late every night for a while now, laying out the mag, and editing photos, and all the fun stuff that burns up the eyes.

Before the mags get here we go into the mail room and start stamping the envelopes, and placing labels on them, getting them ready for when the boxes of magazines hit our warehouse. We will be doing that until the mags show. Until then, it is sleepless nights for me. Which is typical, I am always worried about the new mag. I am worried that the colors will be off. I am worried that there will be editing mistakes, I am worried that the pages will not line up. Just freaking worried. Hey it is my baby, I have to worry. But I really like this issue. It is really cool, we played with more layout designs and I had a lot of fun doing it. The photos are really amazing, as always. I know you all will have a blast reading it. That is my job - to get you pumped up about going shark diving, and I know issue 14 will do that for you.

The show is really starting to gain some momentum and I wish I could tell you all the details of what is happening behind closed doors, but I am sworn to secrecy. Or at least until contracts are signed. It is really bad to discuss anything about the guts of the show until then. I can say I am very proud of episode one and two, I really like them and the screenings have all been positive. This show is going to have a love/hate theme to it. Either your going to love it, or your going to hate it. But the stories we are telling are what really happens when your out there chasing sharks. It ain't always roses and sunshine. There are disagreements and in fighting, and great times, and scary times, and sad times. Bad weather, murky water, storms at sea, seasickness, camera problems. scary sharks, and skittish sharks that are hard to film and photograph. It is Murphys law at its best. But at the end of the day, it is all about the sharks, and the freedom we feel, because we are doing what we love. That is the shows core theme...'Livin' the Dream!

March 12, 2007
I am on the road on my way back from the Flower Gardens. It was 2 days of some interesting diving. We took a standard dive group trip, or cattle boat for short. Geez I have not done a regular dive trip in years, it was a rude awakening. It made me love what we do on our small group trips even more. Shark diving trips are the shit! In all fairness to the operator - They were VERY professional and they do an amazing job keeping an eye on the divers. The crew was really nice, the food was excellent and the boat was really clean. I would recommend this operator to anyone wanting to do a regular dive trip. The Spree, check them out. I was just frustrated from not being able to chum in the sharks. Because the Gardens was loaded with them. I am not sure for how long though, unfortunately there was a longliner out there seeking out sharks as well. So in case one of those bastards is reading this, I won't disclose dive sites, but the place is really sharky. I was able to snorkel with the scalloped hammers, (thank you Melanie) that is the only way to dive with those guys, they came in so close, within touching distance. I unfortunately had camera trouble so I was not able to get the footage I was after. Paul got one image of a hammer on the dive this morning, which was good, but the shark was down deep and the lighting was bad. I filmed it, but again, I was plagued with camera trouble.

I did get to try out my new wetsuit. Pinnacle is sponsoring us for the 2007 season. I liked it, it was very comfortable. So other than diving with some very cool scalloped hammerheads and seeing some jumping spinners out in the distance it was an ok trip. I sat out 2 of the dives because the lighting was bad and there were no sharks in the water, no point in diving. Actually the morning dive on the last day there were lots of sharks swimming about, but the lighting and the vis was bad so we opted to sit it out. It turned out to be the best dive of the trip. Spinners were feeding, hammers were scattered about, there was a dusky shark swimming around and a few other LBS's, little brown sharks. So we actually missed out on a great show. We wouldn't of been able to film much but we could of at least seen the spectacle. I guess that is the down side of what we do, we get so involved with trying to capture the moment that we forget to just stop and watch it for what it is. But that is hard as well, as visual story tellers it's hard to watch this amazing thing happening before you, and you want to share it with the world, but you can't. It's a double edge sword I guess.

March 7, 2007
12 PM, March 6. What an exciting day I had today. I got some interesting emails that made me smile. Our show is really getting legs and finding a life of its own. And it is not just our show that is exciting, we have been getting requests for some of our file footage. Which is not a problem, because we have hours and hours of really good shark footage that will never make it into our show. We just shot so much of it. So it is great, we now have a new plan in the works for all the extra stuff we have done. Which is something I had not even thought of, because I was so busy thinking about our show and getting it sold that I never once thought "hey we could actually sell some of this stuff to other production companies out there." But now, it is moving out of my hands and into someone more qualified to handle this stuff for us.

Which is great because it frees me up to do what I love to do... film sharks. Thats my favorite part in all this. Swimming with sharks, coming up with great stories and livin the dream, or should I say my dream! Its not everyones dream. I don't think everyone wants to rough it in a smelly RV in some forgotten port because you heard rumors that you could find porbeagles here. Not that I found that port yet, but when I do I would easily spend weeks (and months, if money allowed) going out everyday trying to chum them up till that one special day came, and a porbeagle swam up to our boat for one of the most epic shark sessions in the world. Just me, Shiela, and that rare porbeagle shark. Those are my dreams. Thats the shit that gets my blood boiling. It is and always will be - about the sharks!

March 6 2007

I sat down with Rusty and Steve (our film editors) to watch episode one and two yesterday. It was the first time I sat down and watched episode two fully cut with music and everything. It was awesome. It had a few things that we needed to change up, but overall it was an awesome show. I think people will be blown away. Imagine a shark show with drama in it. Sounds weird but hey, shit happens when your out there in the real world chasing sharks. The crew tends to get in each others skin, then sharks are sometimes hard to find. The waters murky and not crystal clear like in most shark shows. Thats because they will spend months waiting for the conditions to be perfect then they shoot, or they purchase film from local talent and use that footage to cut their shows. Everything you see is filmed on location, all the drama really happened, and all the shark footage was shot by our team. Using either 'Shiela' or 'Big Bertha'.

I was listening to myself talking about sharks on film, and it makes me laugh, because nothing is scripted. It is all off the hip and really raw. I wanted to stay true to the magazine, telling stories that flew off the pages of our magazine. I believe we have accomplished that. These stories are going to be told by guys who love sharks, love them. We are not scientists, or marine biologists (not sure if there is a difference) we are 100% shark junkies. It will be pure and hardcore.

I have been working hard on issue # 14. I will be totally done with the layouts this week, and will be editing the prints over the weekend. Which means that after my dives out in the Flower Garden Banks, I will be sitting down and going through each page making sure I try to catch all my mistakes. I also decided to wait till I was on the boat to write my editorial. I have never written one while out on a trip, so I decided to write it up while I am there. Who knows if it will make a difference but at least when I look back at it, I will remember where and when I wrote it. Hopefully it will have been while filming some epic shark stuff.

I am making plans to write a book this year. I have actually already started writing it, I am just not sure if it is finished yet. I don't have an official title for it yet, I am just calling it project X. It is going to be a mix of old writings and new ones. There is just so many adventures that me and my friends have experienced and I feel like they should be put somewhere where people can enjoy them. Magazines get tossed away (owch!) but books don't. They get shelved and if they are good enough, reread over and over again. I have 2 such books in my posession. 'Illusions' by Richard Bach. and 'The Cry of the Kalahari' by Mark and Delia Owens, I believe. Both books touched me in different ways. Each for their beauty and rawness. I could never get tired of those books.

Well enough procrastinating, back to editing the magazine! Cheers till tomorrow. Sorry for not updating the journal more often. It was a really busy week.

March 5, 2007
I am one week away from going diving. One long, long, long week away. The weather in the Gulf has been bad, and the boat has not been able to get out there. But I am hoping it will clear up enough for us to get out there to go diving. I hope. The sharks are calling. My Shiela is itching to get wet and film some sharks. ) Only time will tell.

March 2, 2007
This week flew by. We have been under such a tight deadline. We had to get both episode 1 and 2 ready for a distributor who is planning on showing it around to the networks for us. But they needed two episodes before they would commit to doing it. The reason for that is they had been burned by other independant production companies in the past, who had enough money to create one show, but ran out of money for the rest. We needed to prove ourselves to them. First to make sure we were the real deal, and second to make sure our first show was not a one hit wonder, and third so that they could make sure we actually filmed everything we said we filmed. We are new to the game, so I don't blame them, or mind it at all. We are the real deal, our show is good, and we did do everything we said we did. Nothing to hide, and I am proud as hell for it.

March 1, 2007
Here is the scene; It's 2 AM, and I am surrounded by cds, magazines, and external hard drives. the room is dark, except for the laptop monitor lights. I am drinking large quantities of tea. So I am hopped up on caffine and pumping out pages of the magazine. It looks good, another issue I am very proud of. Of course it could be the caffine talking, but I doubt it, we do have a good mag (big smile).

I needed to find a whale shark pic for this issue so I popped in one of our cds from Holbox. It brought back memories. Hot weather, shark infested waters, damn that place is fun. It is such a hard place to describe, the locals are really cool, I am not sure if they truly understand what a special place it is. I traded emails with one of the shark operators from the island. A guy called Banana. He was telling me that a few whale sharks have already started showing up. So far the sightings are not reliable, but if they are already seeing sharks, it will be going off in July. I am determined to film a breaching manta ray this year. They always breach in twos. The trick is spotting the first breach... Great! now I have told you all my secret, so now you all will go down there and get the award winner. Ahh, I don't really care about that, as long as I get one too.

You know what I hate about the diving industry, the Fraging politics. I really hate the wars between the dive operators, such a cut throat business. If you have never seen or heard about these little rival wars, believe me you're better off not knowing about them. many operators act as if they should be the only ones in the business, when in reality there is enough for everyone. In the end its all supposed to be about the sharks. But there is so much, "I was here first mentality" I try to stay clear of all this, but sometimes it slithers my way. At the end of the day, I am a Shark Diver, and I want to go diving, and I really don't give a flying ... you get the rest.

Well, its late and I am tired. I got some more film work to do in the morning.

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