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#21 CamDiver

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 02:18 PM

Hey Tony,
Great read, nice encounter. I've heard of the Bonins before but never really looked into it. The missus is Japanese so that would cover any needs for interpreters etc should I look at going over there for a recce. It certainly sounds very interesting. Like I said I wish I had encountered the Sperm whales in blue waters as opposed to the murk of The Sea of Cortez during our time there.

My first encounter with them was certainly a bit more violent. I guess because of the murk they were pinging me and were getting some kind of reverberation from their own sonar courtesy of my dome port. If their sonar was a warning then maybe my equipment was sending back that same warning. So there I was through no fault of my own offering to take the biggest predator on the planet into the car park for a kicking :blink:

Needless to say it almost ended in tears when a large male came in and duly decided to play ping pong with our increasingly shrinking zodiac. We pulled away and waited a few hours before trying again. Subsequent encounters whilst not so violent were accompanied by a certain air of suspense where neiher the camera operator or the subjects seemed to be completely at ease. I did get really close but the eye contact was certainly not as amicable as your encounter. I did see the eyes of one female go real wide as if in fright on one encounter. I had been in front of her for five minutes before closing in. Strange how some encounters go that way.

I know what you mean when you say they are BIG......

Cheers,
Mark.

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#22 tonywu

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 04:19 PM

Hey Mark,

It's much nicer when you can see the large carnivore that's about to eat you :blink:

Let me know if you need more info! Say konnichi ha to your wife. I'll be over in Izu in late October diving for the first time. Cold water, drysuits...yuck. But the critters will all be different
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#23 CamDiver

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Posted 17 September 2006 - 04:43 PM

Will do Tony,
Izu is quite an extraordinary place actually. Which part of the peninsula will you be visiting? Hitomi normall goes to Izu Oshima for her monthly dive fix. They have seasons for Hammerheads and Threshers in Izu Oshima and Mantas and Whalesharks Okinawa etc etc. The macro is also pretty divers and plentiful. If you need any info I can reciprocate via Hitomi if desired. She's coming to Palau in October for a couple of weeks but we can certainly give you pointers if needed.

Cheers,
Mark.

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#24 tonywu

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 02:37 AM

Thanks Mark. No worries, I've got it covered for this trip (I think). Will be at Usami in east Izu. First time, so I'm not sure of the conditions. I'm sure it will be colder than I like, but there'll be a lot of good food and sake, so that should make up for it. Izu (topside) is really nice in the autumn. If I get any decent shots, will post.
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#25 shawnh

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 09:08 AM

Tony and Mark,
I frequently travel to Japan and through Japan. Oddly, i have never dived or filmed there. I was looking into Izu at one point but just couldn't get past the cost to dive ratio. Also, the reports sounded hit or miss and pertty mediocre (sounded like one of those places i should have experienced 15 years ago). The prices seemed incredibly high and the amount of diving very constrained. I had been looking at a 3 day long weekend of diving. Looking for a couple of recommendations:
-How to make this reasonable in terms of price
-When are good times of year to dive and in what location (i am thinking bigger vs smaller critters)
Thanks...shawn

Mark, also i grew up in Theodor Pitcairns town. Was friends with his kids and know him as well. Been down to his production office several times. Some good stuffing going on there these days. Do you know him as well?
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#26 CamDiver

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 02:35 PM

Hi Shawn,
Whichever way you look at it diving in Japan can be expensive. Around the Izu Peninsula there are many many dive sites for all types of critters big and small. Threshers hang out around Izu Oshima around this time of year until October I believe. A lot of the sites are accessible as beach dives so my planning was to see if I can either rent or buy a tank and get a shop to fill it. My fiance has dived there for years so she knows the sites very well and she would basically serve as my guide for certain areas.

Its a bit of an issue though. here we are trying to get footage for our own productions, stock archives etc but we go out on boats full of tourist divers. Should we follow the guides? Should we just plonk down in one area, tell the guide to come get us when they are done, or are we expected to run and gun the dive collecting snippets of footage as we go? Thats always the dilema. One way of getting around that is trying to get some kind of deal from the dive shop. They give you cut rate and you supply them with a DVD montage once you have some string outs ready. Brings us all back to the whole filming and rates for questions. Sticky circles !!!

I know Theodore only by correspondence. I was given his contact info by Bob Cranston after Bob saw a project I made about Mandarin Fish (seven months to document their nocturnal behaviour - end product of 15 minutes). Bob suggested that I send a copy to different people for third party critique. He loved the piece but thought it best that I got some other feedback. So I ended up sending a copy to Howard Hall and another to Theodore. He gave me some nice comments and some points for potential improvements of the piece. That same film, by the way, may be included in the Santa Barbara Ocean Film Festival next month, I have yet to hear of the acceptance of it as a show piece after submitting it last month.

Cheers,
Mark.

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#27 MikeVeitch

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 02:48 PM

Fiance?!?!?! thats new

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#28 tonywu

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Posted 18 September 2006 - 05:20 PM

Shawn,

As far as I know from my friends in Japan: Cost high €” yes. Inconvenient €” yes. Hit/ miss ratio low €” depends on subject, location and guides.

All my information is 2nd-hand, but from the professional photographers and videographers in Japan. I don't think there's any reasonable way around the cost issue, but I'm trying to scope out places where I can find cooperative guides and boats to basically let me do what I want...to avoid the problem Mark is referring to of being on boats full of tourists.

Speaking the language helps, and being known in Japan helps, but still, it's no guarantee. Supposedly, I'll have freedom to do what I want this trip. We'll see.

For big stuff, I wouldn't bother with Izu. Down deep though there's some cool stuff. If you're rebreather certified, it might be worth a trip. I am working on sorting out logistics to dive with Stellar sea lions in Hokkaido if you're into cold water stuff. No doubt will be expensive, but hit ratio should be high.

Other usual big stuff like mantas, whale sharks, etc, you're better off going to non-Japanese areas.

For macro stuff, there's a lot of high hit-ratio stuff, but you've really got to be into your critters. Then there's some really interesting macro stuff that you'd normally not come across elsewhere.

Oh, one last thing, if you do try to dive in Izu, never go on a weekend during peak season. Unless of course you enjoy diving with hundreds of people on the same site at the same time and getting in a 45-minute queue underwater to get a 1-minute glimpse of the critter-of-the-day.

Cheers,

Tony
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#29 Mary Lynn

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Posted 19 September 2006 - 07:22 AM

On the subject of diving in Japan (where I would love to visit and dive someday!), if anyone is aware of a good short video on Diving Japan that would make a cool DiveFilm video podcast, please let me know! I'm looking for something under 5 minutes, good production value, but not a slick commercial promo. Something that gives a good sense of what it's like to dive Japan, or some part of Japan. Narrated (Japanese or English) or music video, or combination of both would be fine.

Something similar to Hans Christian Andersen's "Diving Scandinavia" (DiveFilm Podcast, Episode 14) would be cool, where the filmmaker gives us a personable introduction to what it's like to dive the area, something about the waters there, the critters. However, narration isn't essential, a well-made music video that evokes a sense of diving the area would be wonderful as well!

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#30 shawnh

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 12:00 PM

Tony,
this is great feedback. sounds like my take on the situation at izu is fairly on target. i think i'll wait and see what you folks come back with before i decide to venture there:)
shawn
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#31 Drew

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 02:07 PM

Shawn
Since you are a gaijin, you'd do better diving with a gaijin friendly (english led) ops that caters to the expat crowd of Tokyo.
I know Matt Endo (can't remember his dive ops now) does a pretty good job.
I've used him once with a group of expat friends in 2001 in South Izu.
Costs me about $500 for the weekend for 5 dives and everything else. It's not bad considering it's tokyo. The only thing that's cheap in Tokyo are electronic goods. :blush:

Other hammerhead places in Japan include Yonaguni, where you can go see the monument (either the biggest hoax ever by the locals, or according to Graham Hancock, the ruins of Jomon).

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#32 tonywu

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Posted 21 September 2006 - 04:29 PM

Ok, will post after the trip, or maybe during if I have a net connection.
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