SDM JOURNAL FOR...
November 25, 2008
The new mags are supposed to arrive tomorrow. I hope they do... now the stress of waiting for the postal service is on. I got back from Tiger Beach on Saturday, and I am proud to say we had a great trip! For those of you who have not seen it yet, I posted the trip journal already for everyone to see the diving highlights. Paul Spielvogel did a great job of capturing, both the topside and underwater stills for the trip. We also captured a different look to the tigers than what normally comes out of TB. The interaction shots of Wolfgang, our freediver and the tigers is breath taking. When divers on scuba take those same shots it just does not look as cool or as poetic.
I am also proud to say that we have now had great hammerheads show up and say hi for 3 seasons in a row now. I do not know what were doing to get them to keep coming in, but we have really good shark mojo going right now, and I do not want to jinx it. Maybe the sharks know we are pushing and working towards their survival? I don't know, and don't care, I will just keep trying to bring them in.
Our hammer Julia, during our November 07 trip. She was a beauty!
It started in November 06, we had a great hammerhead show up for a few minutes. Then in December no great hammers showed up, but we did have a bull shark show up for the day, followed by two bulls during our night dive (worthy trade off).
Our bull shark during the day dive- December 06
Then in November 07, we had a great hammerhead stick around for 4 days straight, including night dives. On our December 07 trip, she came in for a few minutes. So the pressure was on for this year, would we get another hammer? I am pleased with our results, a great hammer came in on our 1st day for a few minutes. She did not stay very long, as I think the divers, not to mention the 5 tigers were making her nervous. We have had tigers and lemons, reefs and nurse sharks during all of our trips, but having a great hammerhead, and a bull shark show up is so damn cool, and just adds to excitement, and uniqueness of the trip.
Our hammer on this seasons trip. Image by Paul Spielvogel
So after our amazing trip last week, that just pressures me up to have an amazing trip for our guests in December... the tigers will show, I do not doubt that, but to have a great hammer, or a bull make a showing would be amazing. Out at TB, every day and every dive is different...Less than 2 weeks for the trip!
November 13, 2008
I am sitting in my office, watching the rain come down in buckets- waiting for it to stop so I can put the top on my jeep. Watching it rain, reminded me of the day I came back from a day of sharkin' with SDM shooter, Paul Spielvogel. We were driving back from South Padre Island, TX after spending the morning in the water diving with scalloped hammerheads and blacktip sharks. It was pissing on us hard, and again, I did not have the top on my jeep. We were on the freeway, when I had to slam on my brakes. This guy in front of me decided that the rain was coming down too hard to see, so he just stopped. He literally stopped in the middle of the freeway with visablilty down to maybe 20-25 feet. I slammed on the brakes and went skidding into a ditch filled with rain water. I was surprised we did not flip the jeep, cameras and dive gear would of been scattered everywhere. Not to mention that Shiela, my trust HDV camera and housing would of probably been ruined. But we didn't flip the jeep. We slid, and slammed to a rough stop. I dropped it into 4x4 and we cruised out, laughing about our sudden and unwelcomed adventure.
This day had all the elements of a being a really bad day. It was pissing rain on us all morning, the swells were really big and choppy, I was sea sick, and the winds picked up on the way home, making it a cold miserable ride. When we returned to port, my jeep was totally filled up with water, so with soaked seats we drove home. It was on the way home that we almost wrecked... The interesting part of this tale is that it all happened on a great day of sharkin'. We spent the day in the water, swimming with sharks...and we came home with the photos, and an EPIC story to tell. Me and Paul lived up another great adventure, and it will forever be a cherished memory.
There is no better feeling than sitting on a boat, for hours and hours waiting for the sharks to show up... the sight of seeing your hang bait get pulled under by a big shark...then throwing on gear and dropping in to see a hammerhead pulling on your bait line is just magic.
I guess that is probably the main reason I continue to go out there year after year, despite, bad weather, and bad seas. I am always searching for sharks in new places, and in my favorite places, hoping for that high you get when that first shark does show up. Its a feeling of pure excitement that runs through your body...adventure at its finest. There is also a high in knowing that the shark your swimming with has probably never seen a human before - and this wild shark chooses to interact with you, or is willing to come in close to investigate what you are. No words, no pictures could ever capture what that feels like. It is something you just have to go out and experience for yourself.
Only 5 more days till the tiger shark trip!
November 11, 2008
Only 6 days till departure, and the tigers are calling. I was worried that a last minute hurricane was going to disrupt the trip, but it looks like the latest storm is blowing out and the seas are going to be good. The best part of that news is the boat we are using was able to get out there this week before our trip... which means they will be chumming the waters for a full week before we arrive, and that means we have a better chance at finding not only tiger sharks, but the elusive great hammerhead shark. I am hoping that Julia will make a return visit to these waters.
For those of you who have never seen a great hammerhead shark, I can say this - it is hands down your most memorable moment in the water with sharks. I believe it rivals seeing your first white shark, or your first whale shark. (If you dont believe we can argue that fact on a boat ride sometime.) There is something so magical about these sharks, something so alien, and something so beautiful. I hate to see any shark die at the hands of a fishermen, but nothing effects me more than seeing one of these guys get killed. There is not a mean bone in their body, and if there is, I have never seen it. I am sure these guys can turn sharky with the best of them, but until I see it... I will go to the grave believing there is not a mean bone in their body.
On another note... I have just put up the trip dates for our 2009 tiger shark trips, so if anyone wants to go and needs time to save up some dough, or make payments slowly. Now is the time to book your trip.
November 7, 2008
Issue 19 is finally out of my hands and in the printers hands. I can relax for a bit, well sort of. I have a bunch of web projects that I am going to be working on. I want to redesign our website and release the updated site in January of 2009, so that will keep me busy for the rest of the year. I am really pleased with this issue. I am looking forward to the emails I get when you all get this issue in your hands.
This is the fun part for me. Seeing the reactions when you all get one of our magazines. I am always proud of each issue we put out, but this issue is f'ing awesome! It really is, we also published some images in this issue that will blow your minds. I am excited.
We also started production on a DVD project. The new short film, which is called 'Sessions' is a short film about our Chasing Sharks Dive adventures. When I first came up with idea of making films, the original idea was to take the camera with me on our reader trips and get a behind the scenes look at the fun and lifestyle that is experienced on the shark trips. The idea eventually evolved into our feature film, 'Summer of the Sharks,' which is a behind the scenes look at the SDM team on a 2 month long shark diving adventure.
But 'Sessions' is all about the readers and the different shark trips we experience together. It is scheduled for release in January 2009. We will have a trailer ready for you all in December.
It has been fun here at SDM HQ. this week, you never know who is going to call. Along with trying to upload pages of the new mag to our printer, I have also been back and forth with a Discovery Shark Week producer looking for a specific shark species and where to find it, (I can't give out more details than that.) but I think we got that settled, as long as the shark is there when they get there. We also got a call from Maxim Magazine's photo department. They are doing a story about shark diving, and needed some guidance as to where to begin their search for images.
So today is Friday and the weekend is here, and the count down for our Tiger Shark trip has begun...only 10 days to go!