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Clipperton Island


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#1 Mary Lynn

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 01:06 PM

Hello All,

Just recently returned from an incredible exploratory dive expedition to Clipperton Island onboard the Nautilus Explorer. The trip included a number of Mexican scientists and researchers there to study the marine life and assess the health of the reefs of Clipperton Island. (More information can be found in Captain Mike Lever's captain's log on the Clipperton trip.)

I'll be posting a DiveFilm podcast episode in the next week or so with more about our trip, what we found there, and some of the history of that island and the situation with the shark populations there--or lack thereof.

What I'd like to start with, though, is a five minute video I put together on our transit home that includes an interview in Spanish with Roberto Chavez Arce, one of the Mexican divers and explorers on the trip. Underwater imaging by Roberto, Alicia Hermosillo and myself. Many of us are extremely concerned about gaining some sort of protection for the island and the surrounding reefs, and Roberto addresses this concern in the video.

The footage gives a pretty good idea of what we found: abundant healthy coral, numerous free-swimming morays, beautiful Clipperton Angels (named after Conrad Limbaugh), and several species of colorful opisthobranchs. The sharks that Conrad Limbaugh described in 1956 as being so numerous and aggressive that he had to cut short his diving until he could return with shark cages in 1958 were all but gone. Instead, we encountered small numbers of wary Silvertips and a handful of Hammerheads in deeper water. And the reason is very likely overfishing. You'll see footage of some of the miles and miles of longline criss-crossing all the reefs we dove in our five days of diving the waters of Clipperton Island.

Clipperton is an amazing place--I loved it. And I would return in a heart beat--especially to film the morays. In the meantime, I'll be posting video to try to get the word out about this wild and vulnerable island in the hope that perhaps it is not too late to establish some form of protection and enforcement.

Here's the first video post:



Mary Lynn

#2 Drew

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 04:34 PM

Wow... they finally started going there. I had to camp with a bunch of smelly frenchies for 3 weeks!

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#3 scubamarli

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 04:55 PM

I look forward to seeing Alicia's nudibranch discoveries.
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#4 Steve Douglas

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 05:18 PM

As always, well done Mary Lynn. But I knew that couldn't have been you down at 175ft. ;-)
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#5 wagsy

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 05:57 PM

Mary it looks great although what was he saying ha ha.

Look forward to watching the podcasts.
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#6 NickJ

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 06:22 PM

Drew 'smelly frenchies' is a tautology. The plural noun 'frenchies' is self explanatory

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Sorry Mary Lynn - fantastic stuff! Yet another location to put on the list.

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#7 shawnh

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 08:41 PM

Mary Lynn, good stuff. Very sad about the sharks. I hear this story over and over again :) Let us know how we can help with protection status.
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#8 Mary Lynn

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Posted 29 April 2007 - 10:24 PM

Let us know how we can help with protection status.

Thank you, Shawn. I'm hopeful that something will develop from this most recent trip, and will share what I learn. And also look very much forward to Alicia's Clipperton nudibranch work--the nudibranch images were, of course, hers! And, Steve, the Hammerhead images at 175 were some of Roberto's amazing scooter footage.

It was a great group!

ML

#9 batray

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Posted 02 May 2007 - 02:29 PM

It was a great trip and a tru adventure. However the almost complete lack of mature sharks was very sad.

I really enjoyed meeting Mary-Lynn on this trip. This is her with her camera above the reef at Clipperton.
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I will post a gallery of pictures on my web site soon, however I do have some images of the Clipperton Angelfish (Holacanthus limbaughi) posted here and here and images of the Clipperton gregory (Stegastes baldwini) here.

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#10 Mary Lynn

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 09:04 AM

Hey Chris!

It was great meeting and diving with you in Clipperton! And wonderful to see you here in the Wetpixel forums!

For folks who don't yet know, Chris runs a great website and forum for California diving info, images and resourses, Diver.net. He also took some gorgeous photos of Clipperton marine life. His Holacanthus limbaughi (Clipperton Angel) shots are simply stunning and some of my all-time favorites.

Thank you, Chris, for posting the image--it's really cool and makes me miss Clipperton even more. Still working on a Clipperton podcast here--maybe ready in the next couple of days after a little more fine-tuning. I'd also like to include some more info about the longline we saw and the lack of sharks there.

Mary Lynn

#11 sgietler

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Posted 03 May 2007 - 09:25 AM

thanks for the report Mary Lynn, the video is looking really nice..

great photos Chris

looks like a great trip, I wish I could have gone. I'm looking forward to more reports and photos from everyone...

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#12 davephdv

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 12:36 PM

Thanks for the input.

It has one of my dreams to go there since I first saw it on a map. Had a talk with Mike on my Jan Soccoro trip this year about the trip you went on. He had me read the book he had on board about Clipperton. Had to admit it tempered my enthusiasm some for the trip.

He said this years trip had filled up by work of mouth without ever being announced.

Considering the long length of the trip and the high cost. Would you highly recommend the trip for someone that couldn't write the trip off as an expense? Compared to going to some other exotic dive location? Especially versus say Cocos?

The corals looked very abundant with ample smaller fish and Morays. True. How were the sharks and such compared to say Roca Partida?

Thanks again for the video and post.
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#13 Mary Lynn

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 03:57 PM

Thank you for writing, Dave. You must have read the Jimmy Skaggs book, Clipperton, A History of the Island the World Forgot. There is another book, very beautiful, about Clipperton called Isle of Passion by the Argentinian novelist, Laura Restrepo, about the Mexican garrison on Clipperton in the early 1900s.

For me, Clipperton was one of those places that I had no idea of how I would feel about it until I actually got there. And it surprised me by so thoroughly captivating me. Maybe because of all the reading I did, maybe because of the history involving Conrad Limbaugh (whose papers I've been organizing for Scripps Archives for a couple of years now), maybe just something about the island or the trip itself.

It is not a place to go for large animals, at least not currently. Not like Roca Partida, Socorro or Cocos, etc. You will see why in my upcoming podcasts. [It looks like the podcast will be two parts, the first out in a day or two with my description of some of the trip, the waters and what we experienced diving there. The second part is in production, and will include some interviews with others on the trip, a Scripps scientist, and other interesting interviews on what might be going on and what might be done to better protect the island.]

But there is most definitely something about Clipperton that makes me really want to return there. It's a very cool place. Very wild, and very beautiful. To me, anyway. There's just something about it that I can't quite put my finger on.

So check out the upcoming podcast, watch some of the videos done by others, read Captain Mike Lever's logs and talk to some of the other folks from the trip. If the Nautilus Explorer returns there, I very much hope to be on board!

Mary Lynn

#14 davephdv

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Posted 06 May 2007 - 05:05 PM

Thanks,

I will be on the Nautilus in July. I intend to grill Mike on the trip.

Will those podcasts be in 720P? Please let us know when they are available.

Dave
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#15 Mary Lynn

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 03:43 PM

OK, part one of the two-part Clipperton podcast is now live as episode 43 at DiveFilm Podcast Video. Click here to get to it at iTunes (which helps keep the podcasts on the "Featured TV & Film Podcasts" list at iTunes), or here's the xml feed:

http://divefilm.com/...sts/podcast.xml

More info accessing the podcasts here.

I did this as a standard def podcast for a number of reasons, including that there's a good amount of SD archive footage in the podcast. But I have begun encoding the SD podcasts at 640x360 (16:9), so it should look better on computer and TV.

Part two will probably be posted in a couple of weeks, depending on when I can get a couple more interviews finished.

Hope you enjoy the podcast!

Mary Lynn

#16 wagsy

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Posted 08 May 2007 - 04:55 PM

Mary that last podcast was wonderfull, you are doing an amazing job there. :rolleyes:
The way you narrate and edit makes it really enjoyable to watch, you should be getting paid for doing stuff like this. :blink:

The 16.9 is much better to watch as well.

A big congrats :)
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#17 NickJ

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 01:35 AM

Very compelling video Mary Lynn, and excellent voice over! No clicks or pops. Are you using SoundTrack Pro to record and scrub? I'm very interested in your v/o settings and methodology.

Great music track too. SonicFire? Are you layering your audio tracks in FCP, or using STP to create a single 'clean' track. Any advice really appreciated.

Can't wait for Episode 2!

Edited by NickJ, 09 May 2007 - 01:36 AM.

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#18 Mary Lynn

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 12:52 PM

Hey Wags and Nick,

Thank you for your very kind words about part one of the Clipperton podcast--it means a lot to me coming from you both! And Wags, I'm just glad I have some decent paying vid jobs so I can also spend time doing more of this stuff that means so much to me like keeping these podcasts going. And I can't thank enough all the folks like you who have so generously contributed great videos to share via the podcasts, and help raise awarenss about the underwater world we all care about so much.

Nick, your words about the narration are much appreciated! I'm actually going to swap out my voice-over soon with a newly-recorded one because there are some technical issues with the one currently up. Specifically, it needs "de-essing." I know there are "de-essing" filters, but re-recording is what it really needs. I was just too close up on the mike I like to use, and all the esses ("s") are too sharp.

Anyway, I use SonicfirePro for music, but I'm pretty lazy and just use Maestro to create various tracks in set lengths which I then take with me on the boats and cut in to taste. It's pretty crude, but works OK. And I use numerous layers in FCP--as many as I need to separate all the different sources, music, ambient/nat, voice- over/interview, foley. And I ride my meters carefully to keep the levels where I want them.

I've used SoundTrack Pro for processing audio in the past and really like the automatic aspects such as normalization, but can't say I'm very adept at usage of the program overall. This is an area (audio) I would really like to get better at!

There's a great book on audio for video by Jay Rose called, "Producing Great Sound for Digital Video." In fact, I'm re-reading it now for good tips! Thank you for your feedback on the podcast! Please stay tuned...

Mary Lynn

#19 NickJ

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 05:40 PM

Interesting you picked up on your 'esses' - I think we are much more critical of our own voices than others. I didn't find your essing intrusive when I viewed the video a couple of times yesterday - but I did go back and listen again and sure, you could clean a little more - but where do you stop!?

I (think I) have challenges with explosive 'P's and a bit of a nasal twang. The great thing about SoundTrack Pro is you can edit and smooth and apply filters to your heart's content. I have had good luck with the STP compressors (not to be confused with the encoder of the same name) and also some of the noise filters and even 'nasal twang' filters. Of course I analyze and correct for 'clicks and pops' over and over. Also the ability to add ambient noise at the beginning and end of sentences is something I've found really useful - especially to kill the short but perceptible intake of breath take just before another phrase etc.

Thanks for the pointer on the Jay Rose book - I'll seek that out definitely. Good luck with the re-edit - but can we see Episode 2 first :rolleyes: ?

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#20 Mary Lynn

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Posted 09 May 2007 - 06:22 PM

Also the ability to add ambient noise at the beginning and end of sentences is something I've found really useful - especially to kill the short but perceptible intake of breath take just before another phrase etc.


Ahhhh, you're making a great case for me spending some time coming up to speed with Soundtrack Pro! Much can be done in FCP. And, of course, you can edit to within 1/100 of a frame for really getting in and taking out glitches, etc. But audio editing programs like Soundtrack Pro put it all in one place with some really powerful tools. Audio is so important and so challenging. And it can often make a huge difference in how the visuals are perceived. So much to learn and so little time--thank you for motivating me to give SP a go!

Some very interesting folks on deck to be interviewed for part two, and some very interesting folks already interviewed. Challenge will be keeping it brief (under five minutes), and engaging to a wider audience...

ML