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Sardine Run, Wetpixel Trip


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#1 echeng

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:37 AM

Hey, guys! The Wetpixel Sardine Run group has been having great luck so far. We haven't had any big bait balls yet, but both days we've been able to go out (2 of 4, so far), we've had small bait balls and tons of dolphin, whale, and ganet activity. This is extreme diving at its finest. :lol:

The Wetpixel group:

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We're bumping into Drew every once in awhile. He maintains that he is staying in "civilization" down the coast for us, but you don't see him logging on and posting photos. hehehe.

Giles is having many "firsts" here. "That's my first whale!" "That's my first dolphin!" "That's my first sandwich!" etc. etc. He hasn't been in cold water since he was certified, so it's funny to listen to him complain about being in a 5mm suit.

We tried to get out early this morning (7am), but the conditions were too rough for a launch and probably too bad to be worth being out there. It's an off day today, so I thought I'd post a few images from the last two days.

The Mbotyi River Lodge, from the air:

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More photos from two days of water time:

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eric cheng
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#2 wagsy

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:49 AM

Hi Eric
You guys look like something out of Team America Aquatic Version..... but where are the all the babes :lol:

Great pics.....
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#3 cor

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 05:49 AM

The sardine run is bearable in 5mm?

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#4 debersole

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 10:19 AM

Eric:

Great shots as always! I love the last one. Keep 'em coming!

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#5 Jettbritnell

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 01:37 PM

Nice pics! What a great adventure...

Cheers, Jett

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#6 james

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 02:51 PM

Have fun and be safe Eric. Great pix.

Oh, and tell Giles that I think he looks super-sexy in that wetsuit!

Cheers
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#7 anthp

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 04:23 PM

Have fun guys - you all suck! :lol:

Thanks for the pictures Eric - my fav is the last one too.
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#8 synthetic

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 06:27 PM

Great stuff! What kind of birds are those torpedoing from the surface?
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#9 ce4jesus

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 06:35 PM

"but where are the all the babes"

a look at the photograph of this motley crew answers that question... :lol:
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#10 MikeVeitch

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Posted 25 June 2006 - 07:30 PM

Looks good so far...

tell Giles to lay off the beer or Alex will fire him as a model... :lol:

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#11 echeng

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 12:46 AM

The water has been really warm here, so a 5mm would be totally fine at the surface (20 deg C). However, when (if?) we get some action and get in on scuba, it will be much more comfortable in a 7mm. :lol:

By the way, the Wetpixel group is:

Eric Cheng
Ken Howard
Matt Moreno
Giles Shaxted
Flann Horgan
Jurg Vonwil
Lucien Schmidlin
Son Ly

Also, Michael Aw and Franco Banfi are here. There are multiple film crews around, too, including an IMAX team with a helicopter.

Bad weather prevented us from going out again today, so it's been 2 of 5 days out on the water! 3 more days in the water with SEAL, and then Giles, Ken and I will be out 7 days with Drew.
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#12 Kelpfish

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 02:51 PM

Looks like a lot of fun. Keep shooting!
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#13 Hamish Morrison

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Posted 27 June 2006 - 03:44 AM

Looks like you are having more luck than I did in 2003. We had unseasonally warm water and no sardines!
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#14 echeng

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 12:37 AM

We've just finished our 10 days with SEAL Expeditions. Of our 8 possible days, we were actually out on the water for 5, and even though we saw (small) bait balls around, it was unusual for everything to come together in such a way that even warranted getting into the water. At least 9-10 boats out on the water rushing to get in on big action didn't make anything easier, and sometimes it seemed that the incoming zodiacs themselves would break up the action (when skippers decided to just zoom in instead of skirting around the edge).

But the entire experience was altogether enjoyable, and we've all had a great time here.

Ken, Giles and I are now at the Outspan Inn in Port St. Johns, and will be here with Drew for 6-7 more days out on the water. I hope we get a proper bait ball so we can have the opportunity to attempt to get some good images!

More photos:

Matt, Giles, Son, and Cain (our guide) on horses. Gallopy horses, that made our bums sore.

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The most beautiful double rainbow I've ever seen, right from the Mbotyi River Lodge:

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Magwa Falls:

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eric cheng
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#15 echeng

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Posted 30 June 2006 - 12:38 AM

Ken Howard, freediving on a small bait ball:

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Cape Gannet surfacing after a dive:

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Common dolphin and sardines, with plenty of space for text. :lol:

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Crazy topside action. Moving too fast to get in.

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Cape gannets diving into the water.

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A juvenile cape gannet eats a sardine on the surface.

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Bull and copper sharks on the surface, feeding on a bait ball (rare to have them grouped together shoulder to shoulder!)

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#16 Drew

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 02:56 AM

A challenge?!? :(

I don't pepper the board with images. Just 1 will do. :)PSJwhale.jpg

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#17 wagsy

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 04:30 AM

Great pics guys, yep I'm jealous....and drew you have to be happy with that shot :)

Did you crop it from a larger shot or was that it as taken.
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#18 bmyates

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 06:27 AM

Great shots -- sounds pretty wild (not just IN the water, but vying for space with all the other boats ABOVE water!)! :)

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#19 seagrant

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Posted 01 July 2006 - 10:51 AM

Exciting shots as usual Eric!

And Drew, that whale is, well absolutely awesome, but I bet you already know that!! :)

Looks and sounds exciting,

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#20 buddy

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Posted 02 July 2006 - 04:03 AM

yes was good fun but also tough and as already posted the big show was not (yet?) there...maybe next week for Eric, Ken and Giles or next year for me (maybe). In addition I got sick in between and have not many good underwater shots... but another highlight was the return trip since Lucien did not want to take the 5 hours bus ride and hence ordered a private chopper! And from up there we got some humpbacks mother-baby and breaching action! unfortunate not as tack sharp as I wished albeit shot with the 70-200 VR (plus 2x teleconverter) at ISO 200 and between 1/750 and 1/1500 sec! Would you believe that? Obviously shooting out of a fast moving helicopter with a tele lens requires something like ISO 800 and 1/8000 sec max shutter speed...another new experience!

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