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March 21, 2008
Ok now back to SDM's film projects. I know it has been a while since I have updated you all but our project is still very alive - it has morphed and changed and returned to the original ideas that I had thought up when I first began toying with the ideas of filming SDM's adventures.

For those of you who have been following along with this project here is where we are with it...

Since January of 08', we have taken all our footage from our shark diving road trip and have been cutting together a film about our adventure, with a goal of finishing this film before kicking off this season's summer Reader shark trip tour so we can concentrate on getting back on the road and making more films for you all. It seems an impossible task of taking 100 hours of film and cutting it down into a one-and-half hour movie, but that is what we are doing.

The whale sharks are in town. On our way to North Carolina we stopped in to see the whale sharks at the Atlanta Aquarium. This catwalk is above the football field sized tank. Andy Murch talking to the camera.

With all the footage we shot, we had plans to make it into a several part mini series but have decided to just cut it into one movie for the simple reason that we want to go back out and make more films. So many great stories are left to be told, and it is time to move on and out.

Raf Flores is loading the hang baits into Captain Al's boat. Dusky sharks - Venice, Louisiana. You want big sharks-use big bait. We got big scary ass sharks.

Feeding the sharks off of St Maarten, El Caribe. Reef sharks and blacknose sharks - Some pretty gnarly stuff. This was my very first hand feeding session - some major head games going on right about now.

Freezing our asses off between dives, seeking out horn sharks at Catalina Island, CA. We rented our own little boat and headed out away from all the diver traffic to find these little sharks.

My first rough cut viewing will be the first week of April. The boys from EP have the first cut to just under 3 hours. So from there we need to see what will go and what will stay. We have to chop it down to just under an hour so we can then go back and add all the shark footage, and any missing story dialogue that needs to be added. The first film screening dates will be held during our summer SDM reader shark diving tour this coming July..

March 20, 2008
Sorry for a slow blog week, I have been working on the new issue 17 web pages everyday and trying to get it done by Monday. On Monday is when the new issue officially begins shipping, so if you need to renew, the time is now. Next week all the chaos begins. We begin packaging, packing and mailing out all subscriber mags. And then the added fun of shipping out to the book stores. It is going to be great to see our magazine out there again, it has been a while since we have been on book store shelves.

So much work goes into each issue. I always wondered why people in the mag business thought I was off my rocker when I said I was going to begin publishing my own mag. Many of them asked me, "why?" I didn't get it. Now I know why they say that - It's a butt load of work. It hard, and not always rewarding. Advertisers often treat you like shit, and after seeing all the other dive mag sales reps at the diving trade shows, I understand why. Rape and pillage come to mind.

I got into the magazine business with a total purity. I had no publishing background so I was not jaded, or set in my ways. I looked at the whole thing with fresh eyes and dove into it that way. I stayed as far away from the other dive magazines as possible, never looking at them for guidance. I think because of that, I have been able to create something unique and fun in our industry. So even after 6 years in this business, I still love what I do. I still love creating this magazine, I still love traveling and meeting new people. I still love diving and I look forward to each and every day that I get to live this life. So get ready for another kick ass issue of SDM... it's coming!

As always, I am "Livin' the Dream!"

March 17, 2008
I got a sweet email today from my good friend Steve Pavon. His email is worth repeating here in my blog, and in an upcoming SDM mag. This weekend Steve went fishing and while he was out there... well I'll let Steve tell the story;

"I went fishing saturday for trout at the island. After a while a dude caught a 20 inch bonnet head. he was asking people around him what kind of shark it was so I walked over and told him. I also said it was just a baby and he should throw it back but he put it in his bucket instead. I took the shark out and got the hook out of its mouth and threw it back in and gave the guy a don't fuck with me look - expecting a confrontation. He looked at me and asked me what I did that for, and I said no shark was worth getting his ass kicked over and I walked away."

Sharks are getting slaughtered left and right all over the world so one little victory, one moment of hope is so amazingly special. Thank you Steve.

March 14, 2008
Another Friday is here, and another month is almost gone. Where does the time go? It is really flying by so fast. It makes me worried for all of you out there that have not made plans to go somewhere and get lost for a few days this year. My good friend Heather Ryan sent me an email today. She is joining us for our Oceanic Whitetip trip this year and the selling point for her was not, the potential to see oceanics and tigers (well of course that was the selling point, but not the point of this blog), it was that she would be out at sea for 12 days; no phones, no faxes, no shoes. Just some good friends, good times, and great conversation heading out to some new places seeking out an EPIC adventure. Damn I love emails like that.

So with summer just around the corner, I hope you all get up and off your asses and get out there - chasing big dream, and wild and scary adventures! You got to grab every moment and every memory you can, when you can. Because when it is all over, all you are going to take with you are the memories! No one ever lays on their death bed saying, "I wished I worked more."

So keep this in mind as you end another work week. There are beautiful sunny skies out there; go diving, or if you can't go diving, then light up the barbeque pit, crack open a beer, play with the kids or call up some old friends and have some fun!


I don't say this enough to all of our SDM's readers... I love you guys, and thank you for sharing this adventure with me.

Have a good weekend... I'll drink one for ya!

March 13, 2008
I traded emails with my printer today, and it seems that my mag will be done late tonite and they will be in my hands early next week. I should get the first box of issue 17, at the end of the day tomorrow. Now is the time I normally get nervous. I am always worried about colors, and images, and pages and so on. I am confident this issue will look good, this is the 5th issue with me as the layout artist, and the first 4 mags I did came out great. But like always, I get nervous. I can't help it, SDM is my baby and I always worry about her. I know you all will love the story choices for this issue. I picked out some fun and interesting stories for you all to read. A great interview featuring the legendary filmaker Jeff Kurr is in this issue as well. That article alone is worthy of a pulitzer! Ok maybe I won't win one for it, but it really is a great interview.

Ok, I said I was not going to do it, but screw it - I am finally ready to give you all a sneak peek at the new cover... enjoy!

The cover is by SDM shooter, Paul Spielvogel. This is his first cover for our magazine. He has been shooting for us for a few years now, but none of his images have ever graced our cover before. I have been hard on him, always pushing him to shoot more, and spend more time in the water. We would be out on trips, and he would show me an image he was proud of, and I would look and say, "its good, but the next time your down there can you try and shoot the shark sort of swimming up toward the surface, with its mouth slightly open, with some of its teeth bared?" I was joking, but only slightly. He would look at me like I lost my mind, prep his camera and jump back in...

Well now you all know why I was always pushing him. I wanted his first cover to be amazing, and it is. This shot was taken at Tiger Beach in November of 2007. The hammer, we dubbed Julia, spent 4 days straight with us. She even hung around during our night dives. Spending any time with a great hammerhead is a very rare thing, spending 4 days straight with the same shark is unheard of. She was a great photo subject, and that reader trip was so special that it was only fitting that she would be SDM's issue 17 cover girl.

March 12, 2008
More slow time for me. The web is keeping me busy, as well as bookings on our Reader Shark Trips. The reader trips are so much fun. The spots we pick are always sharky, and the people who join us on them are so much fun. My ulitimate goal is to spend the rest of my days, hanging out and traveling with friends to some of the world's sharkiest spots; having fun, sharing stories, getting scared, drinking beer, making memories...

Unfortunatly we are running out of time. 9 more species have been red listed as critically endangered.

You fishermen out there... when will you finally realize that the ocean is not an endless resource, that it has limits to what you can take? I understand that fishing can be fun, and people need hobbies, but your hobbies are destroying the world and mankind.

Here are some simplified facts;
-We get 70% of our oxygen from the Ocean. The delicate balance of life within the ocean governs how we get our oxygen. Sharks are the guardians of the ocean, and have been for 400 million years. Of the 400 species of sharks that exsist, 123 are red listed... If we remove the apex predators from the ocean, we will destroy this balance. So my prediction is when sharks fall - mankind will follow.

We need to change our ways before it is too late... before this, and everything we know and love becomes something we dreamed.

Sorry for this dark - kick in the face - blog, but it had to be said.

March 10, 2008
Some down time right now. The mag is at the printers and things have slowed down for me. I am still working on the web pages to ride along with the new issue, but it is not the same hectic pace. So now I can start looking at some future plans, and first priority is our first official dive of the new year! Well this may be my second dive of the year. I am supposed to be going back out with the National Geographic team in early April to film some shark stuff, but nothing has been formalized yet, so I am not really focusing on it. It is on the back burner for now. I'll wait till they email me the contract, then I know its real. So until then, my first official dive will be at the Houston Aquarium. We dove their aquarium back in 2006, our staff shooter wrote an adventure article out of it. We will be doing a follow up story on the Aquarium sharks but this will be a conservation piece with Rob Brown, the General manager of the facility - showing us all the behind the scenes work for their protection of sharks.

There is such a love/hate reltionship between conservationists and Aquariums. Conservationists hate aquariums because they capture and put on display sharks and other types of marine animals.They prefer that these animlas roam the oceans free (so do I). Plus wild captures are often the only way for these marine parks to get new animals for display, and many of them die during capture or transport. Many of the animals on display are already on the threatened list, so there is a dark-down side to Aquariums.

The high side to Aquariums is they introduce the general public to animals that they would never see if it was not for these parks. They put people there, away from TV, and within touching distance. Future advocates for the protect of our oceans animals many times will grow up here. So to me aquariums are very important and the positive side needs to be reinforced, which is why I agree to write up and support aquariums.

SDM Editor, Eli Martinez, and SDM Shooter, Paul Spielvogel - whale shark shoot, Holbox Island, Mexico, 06'

The plus side for us is we will get to dive in their tank again. Me and our staff shooter Paul Spielvogel. Their tank is a great dive because of the diverse species of sharks that they offer; Sandbar, blacktips, sandtigers, whitetip reefs, zebras, and two species of sawfish. Talk about a shark swarm!

March 4, 2008
I am stuck at an airport in Dallas, killing time. My flight home was cancelled and it was moved from 2:30 PM to 9 PM. So nothing to do but wait and wait and wait. The good news today is the new issue is in the printers hands. The mag is done! I should begin getting copies in my hand sometime next week. This is going to be another great magazine and I am excited about it. There are some really good articles in it, and of course great-great images. This is the fun part for me - creating the mag, getting it printed, and then sending it out to you all. The feed back is what I look forward to, and as always a huge thanks to everyone who writes in and praises the magazine!

The work on this issue is far from being done. The packaging and shipping begins, which is time consuming. And of course now begins constructing the web pages to go along with the new issue. Again I will show people where they can dive with the different sharks they have read about in the new issue as well as some extra photos from our featured stories. It will be ready sometime next week, so I will start on it today... while I wait!

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