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Wetpixel Ocean Safari begins Monday


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#41 Drew

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 06:17 AM

Good day today. The guys went on a shark dive and missed a big baitball action with Bryde's whales because they didn't heed the recall signal. But then after that, I spied some birds flying away in their response pattern and gunned after them. Paydirt! We ran into hundreds of gannets and common dolphins in frenzy mode and jumped in on the most stable action. On inspection , the little baitballl was redeye but it was so fast and furious it didn't matter what kind of fish it was. Sharks were hitting them from the bottom and then a Bryde's whale cruised by.
I popped up for a breather and then the skipper dropped me back onto the action... literally! I landed on a 2.5m bronze whaler which swam right between my legs (shrinkage and crapping are words that described my immediate reaction) and then I saw gannets and sharks chasing a football size baitball of mackerel from all sides. I'd never seen such incredible pandemonium before. Unfortunately I could only keep up for a few seconds before the action blew past me.
It was a pretty good day on the wild coast today.

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#42 loftus

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:44 AM

Sure hope to see some footage of all this, so that we know whether to believe you or not. :D
Great that things are starting to happen fast and furious.
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#43 Drew

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Posted 26 June 2008 - 07:50 AM

Nice follow up day to yesterday as we hit 3 different baitballs of mackerel and redeye herring. Too many divers for the sharks to stay in but we had plenty of dolphins and gannets and even a few tuna (bonitos). We also saw sailfish from the distance but the Beeb managed to get it in their baitball, which brought them smiles. Cameraman Noirot declared the war was over between our boats (we have a friendly joust every year). That was a bummer as I was about to escalate to hiding their equipment on their boat (they started it by hiding my swim trunks!)
In fact it's very peaceful as the guys are d/ling their 8-16GB cards which were full. I myself only shot 400 shots.
It got so hectic, a few of the guys blew through their air in a hurry (always what happens with newbies in such action).
One of our guys leave us tomorrow as he had to return to work but as much as we'll miss him, we sure like the extra space. :D

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#44 shark6047

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 05:22 AM

Sounds great. When do we see some pix? :D
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#45 Drew

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Posted 27 June 2008 - 10:35 AM

Today was a bit of a bummer. We decided to hit the same area where all the action took place the last 2 days despite the bad conditions and took a pounding getting there and returning. Action was sporadic and quickly over so it was a wash.
Then we saw the pics from another boat which didn't make the big journey out and they had a sailfish in a baitball that lasted 2 hours just outside where we launch everyday. Minimal carbon footprint and great action. What a great deal... and it was the same group of guys who jumped in on our action the day before. I did feel a little angry about the lack of etiquette but the operator did apologise for his client's conduct which were beyond control.
2 more days to go but it seems the weather wants us to sit out another day. I'm glad I'm extending :D

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#46 Drew

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 05:30 AM

2nd last day saw a slow day get slower. Started with a few thousand gannets diving but in dirty water. The Beeb got a Bryde's whale baitball but didn't get the classic bryde's munch.
Tomorrow is the last day so the guys are getting restless.
As a teaser, I'll post just one pic from the other day's action (and burn my GPRS bandwidth on silly picture posts):

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#47 herbko

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 10:34 AM

Beautiful! That looks really exciting. Looks like the 15mm FE is working out well for you.
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#48 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 11:12 AM

Wow. Looks fantastic.

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#49 Steve Jones

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:46 PM

lovely shot, very atmospheric....

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#50 wagsy

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Posted 28 June 2008 - 03:50 PM

Cool Drew...

Yep I'm jealous
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#51 Drew

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 03:13 AM

Last day was a short but good one. We launched early into a very rough sea but I spotted some action immediately and we jumped into a redeye herring baitball where we blew the entire tank on. It was a very exciting baitball but the coup de gras was the bryde's whale which shot past between all of us and I only had time to look at it before it shot off. Then a sailfish (probably I. platypterus) joined in the hunt and the boys were ecstatic with just an hour's work. We invited the Beeb crew to join the action after we were finished and they had 2 cape fur seals on it as well. With the bouncing profiles and high seas, I decided not to be greedy and ended the Wetpixel Ocean Safari 08 on a high note.
There was some serious action this year and I'm glad I'm extending a few days afterward to hit the stuff on my own.

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#52 stewsmith

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 05:42 AM

fair play to you lads, it sounds a lot of hard work, but it must be amazing to see. and well worth the effort.

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#53 PCDiver

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Posted 29 June 2008 - 11:26 PM

Is anybody using a rebreather while filming the Sardine Run? A small compact CCR seems like the ideal tool, no bubles and hours of "bottom time". Especially since most of the action is shallow, so you don't need extra bailout.
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#54 Drew

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 04:40 AM

Well got rid of the guys so now I can enjoy myself. Was a very productive trip for the guys so I don't think anyone was disappointed. Of course I want that Bryde's whale in a baitball shot :)

Rebreathers are probably useful but short of a military style compact rebreather, it's a bit bulky for chasing baitballs. For the dolphins it worked very well a few years ago when cameraman Didier Noirot tried it. But that was a scr draegar. There are also baitballs so big you're at 90ft to see the bottom.

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#55 shawnh

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 08:38 AM

Great shot Drew! Brydes Whale, sailfish, et al...hard to complain about that!
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#56 PCDiver

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Posted 30 June 2008 - 01:32 PM

There are also baitballs so big you're at 90ft to see the bottom.


Like I said, shallow :-)

BTW, great shots and this run is certainly on my to do list.

Edited by PCDiver, 30 June 2008 - 01:33 PM.

>>> Submerge Productions dedicated to technical diving

#57 Drew

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Posted 01 July 2008 - 04:04 AM

Just got a call from another operator and he had to pull his divers out of the water super quick because the sharks were chasing them out of the water!
I have to say the action in water combined with conditions made this probably the best week I've ever had on this safari. 15-20m viz with subtropical and even tropical predators, it's just amazing stuff!

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#58 Drew

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:44 AM

Well the Beeb have REALLY wrapped this time. Their camera man, Didier and his assistant, Roger "the horror" Horrocks are off to an undisclosed destination with my compressor.
So it's just the normal people left now. Well there's a russian crew with Andrei Makarevich, artist, rock star and TV personality for scuba diving who just arrived.
The viz is still rocking and so is the action. Plus now I'm on strike again so I can stay again :)

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#59 pakman

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 03:50 AM

Plus now I'm on strike again so I can stay again :)


oh I didn't know the UAW was on strike again... :P

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#60 pats0n

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Posted 02 July 2008 - 04:16 AM

Well the Beeb have REALLY wrapped this time. Their camera man, Didier and his assistant, Roger "the horror" Horrocks are off to an undisclosed destination with my compressor.
So it's just the normal people left now. Well there's a russian crew with Andrei Makarevich, artist, rock star and TV personality for scuba diving who just arrived.
The viz is still rocking and so is the action. Plus now I'm on strike again so I can stay again :P


Thank you Drew for fantastic trip ! Did you met Makarevich again ? Maybe you can remind Igor (tour leader) to send me pictures of us with him - since you missed ultimate shot of the safari with your mobile phone !

I'm back to Tokyo and will post few pics here soon. Stay tuned.