September 28, 2006
Another day out in the water. Well at least in a few days. I have chartered a boat captain to take us out to find sharks in my local Gulf waters. It turns out that schools of blacktips, spinner sharks and Atlantic sharpnose sharks follow the shrimp boats around, and for a couple of days, so are we. It should be fun. According to my buddy Captain Al, sharks that hang around shrimp boats are very aggressive, so me, Raf, and shark photographer, Paul Spielvogel will have our hands full... I hope. Our captain is waiting for reports from some of the shrimp boat captains, confirming that they have sharks chasing them around. The weather in the Gulf has been bad lately, so none of the commercial fisherman had been going out. So I am hoping to hear something good from them within the next few days. I am just excited about going out for another day of filming sharks. I have my camera dialed in real good and I am ready.
September 24, 2006 Sunday
I spent my Sunday editing sandtiger shark footage from our June trip. Rusty our lead editor and topside cameraman has been busy editing together our first episode, and I am in charge of the underwater footage. Of course I wrote the first draft for the episode, but Rusty has the final say on what he actually cuts together for the show. He looks at the film all day, everyday, so he knows what will work for the story and what won't.
I guess I have the easy job, or boring one you could say. My job is to look through all our dailies (the tapes that contain all the underwater footage that was shot each day of the trip). I started out with our silky shark footage, which was shot in the Gulf of Mexico, off of Galveston, Texas. And then I went through all the sandtiger shark stuff which was shot in the Atlantic, off of Morehead City, North Carolina. Talk about long and boring. I went through ten, one hour tapes. I had to watch each one, until I found something good enough to use for the show. I would watch sections of film that had nothing but blue water and little fish, then all of a sudden a shark would appear. If it was good enough to use, then I would rewind the clip, and play it back in slow motion. I would then write the time code down for that clip, then move on. For ten hours, I did this. Don't get me wrong, I am not bitching, I love what I do, and I love sharks, but sharks can be so boring. Some move so damn slow. We had four hours of silky shark footage, and in those four hours, I found exactly 2 minutes and 27 seconds worth of footage that is good enough to use for the show, at least I hope it is. And of those 2 minutes and 27 seconds, only 30 seconds will actually make the final cut.
Can you believe it, the Galveston trip cost me over $4,000, and all we are going to use from the trip is 30 seconds...That's show business.
September 20, 2006
Enough is enough. This was my fourth time out to Guadalupe island for white sharks, and I am done. Don't get me wrong, I am not done going to Guadalupe, I am done with just sitting in a cage watching the shark swim by. I know that I can safely swim outside the cage and film these sharks. I don't know how I know, I just know it. Unfortunately because of where the island lies, it is almost impossible to prove this theory. It is just so far away. One day I hope to prove this theory. But until then, I will be content to going back to Guadalupe next year, with a tin cup in my hand rattling it back and forth across the bars of my cage. Waiting... just waiting for the opportunity to jump out and film these sharks, one-on-one baby! And it will look so good on film, swimming side by side with a white shark.
September 12, 2006
California Shark Seafari
Our California trip is over and we are now on the bus headed down to Ensenada Mexico to catch the Solmar V for our 18 hour boat ride down to Isla de Guadalupe, Mexico for white sharks. This California film trip was amazing. Of the nine sharks we were hoping to film, we were able to shoot five different species of sharks, we made new friends and we have experienced one hell of an adventure. I wanted to keep up a daily report, but I was just so tired. I could not find the energy to write. We dove everyday for five days straight. I know it sounds like a typical dive trip, but it was not. It was way wilder, way harder and more exciting than anything I have ever done before. We took some big risks on this trip, driving over a thousand miles in five days; and we could have been skunked, but the shark god, 'Tibbius' was with us on this one.
Here is a quick look at our Cali road trip, the full report will be published in our feature article "Notes from a Shark Filmmakers notebook", in the upcoming issue # 13...
September 7, Thursday. We spent the first day at La Jolla shores snorkeling with leopard sharks. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. At one point we had around 30-40 of these sharks swimming around the area. It was wild!
September 8, Friday. We were invited by Walter Hiem to join him for a day seeking out mako and blue sharks out in San Diego. And did we ever find them. Me and Andy spent three hours in crystal clear water with two different mako sharks, and two different blue sharks. But we had both species with us at all times. The mako sharks are very aggressive sharks and very worthy of their bad reputation. I really had a lot of fun diving with those sharks. I am looking forward to diving with them again.
September 9, Saturday. We went to Catalina Island for the day to try and find soupfin, horn and swell sharks. I know it was a big request but we had to try. We eneded up finding a couple of horn sharks. It was fun. It was also a very different style of shark diving for me. No amount of chum would of helped us bring out the sharks. It took a lot of work looking under rocks trying to find these sharks. But it was worth it.
September 10, Sunday. Ron Clough of the ‘California sharks and rays count’ took us out to find angel sharks. This is a very hard shark to find. They have been over fished, and the numbers have dropped down to nothing. We went to this real cool surf spot in Ventura County and dove the kelp beds their. In less than ten minutes, Ron found us an angel shark. I got some good footage of the shark and Andy got the images. It was a great day.
September 11, Monday. We dropped off Rusty at the LAX airport and drove back up to San Diego to catch up with Larwence Groth and the "Sharks, Legends, & Lies" tour for great white sharks. But we had a few hours to kill and decided to try one more time to see if we could find smoothhound sharks. We didn’t find them, but we did swim with leopard sharks again…so it was cool.
September 6, 2006
On the plane to California. We have finally taken off towards Cali and the search for more sharks continues. It is a sad time for this kind of adventure in light of what has happened to the great Steve Irwin. But sadly, accidents do happen in this sport. But he died doing what he loved, and I don't think he would of ever wanted it any other way. I am sure he would of wanted to grow old and gray first, bouncing his grand kids on his knee, but he still would of wanted to be out there chasing down an adventure somewhere. Livin' the Dream. I took it as a monster blow when I heard the news. I had never met him, I was hoping to one day dive with him, and share a beer or two. I just hope we can carry on his message, that many of the world's animals need our help.
So we begin diving tomorrow. The first sharks we will seek out are leopard sharks, and smoothhound sharks. So me, Andy, and Rusty, (our topside videographer) will hit La Jolla shores near San Diego sometime in the AM tomorrow. We will spend all day trying to find and film these elusive sharks. I hope to find them, they are one of the prettiest sharks in the shark world. We have nine different species of sharks on our list to film over the next few days. Personally I just hope to see one shark, but if we get all nine sharks-Insane! Our days will be spent diving, but our nights are devoted, to cleaning and prepping gear, charging cameras, talking shark and updating you all with our daily progress as we go...