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Wetpixel/JASA Sharks & Dolphins July 2010


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#41 PRC

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 02:46 AM

As one of the guests on the above trip overall I have to say it was probably a disappointment that Jim was not there.

Myself, I did not miss the abuse at all but I did miss the 'making stuff happen' - both are an inevitable part of a trip with Jim on the Sheerwater.

In some ways it was good to see that such a trip can be run without some of the confrontation previously experienced on this trip - I had wondered if it was an inevitable part of encounters of this type.

Overall the crew were outstanding - how the heck Mike managed to produce the quality of food that he did under the conditions beats me.



One of the dolphin pods we ran into was really excited (physically!). The bottlenose bulls were just unrelentless. Fortunately, dolphins are smart and donít molest humans otherwise I would have been...


Yea Yea Yea - So you keep telling us Frank - you and that 'friendly' dolphin are the only ones who really know the full story....

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#42 MikeVeitch

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:00 AM

confrontation? do tell :)

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#43 PRC

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:24 AM

Maybe that does not read quite right Mike. It would be more accurate to say "experienced on previous Sheerwater trips".

On previous trips on the Sheerwater I have (probably correctly) suffered on a couple of occasions the more harsh side of Jims tongue for misdemeanour's real or perceived while in the water.

Conveying a complex message underwater as we all know is very difficult - you may well know exactly what you are thinking and want done but that does not mean that the message recipient has a clue as to what the heck is going on in your mind.

Don't get me wrong, I have 110% respect for Jim and the (tough) job that he does - but that does not mean that I like him personally or indeed the message delivery methods that I have seen employed on occasion.

Diving Tiger Beach on the Sheerwater is a 'must do' experience for any serious underwater photographer - please don't let any of this put you off - Just do it ! - you will have no regrets.

Anyhow I think we could have much more fun baiting Frank about his own particular version of 'dolphin encounter'.

Paul C

Edited by PRC, 29 July 2010 - 03:31 AM.

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#44 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:50 AM

This is not directed at Paul - who now having done 3 Shear Water trips - dives very correctly with the sharks. It is something I said both in my pre-trip letter and then again on the boat:

The key to getting the most out of Shear Water trips is to prove to Jim and the crew that you are a safe and trust-worthy shark diver. This will mean that they trust you to be close to the action.
Every person who goes on a JASA trip thinks that they are looking around enough. Regularly, some are not. Everyone thinks that they are in the correct position relative to the bait. Regularly, some are not.

When people are not doing the right thing, but think they are - they need to be told. Told off. This is a serious business - and one where there wouldn't be a second chance should a tiger shark decide to try and work out what you are. Stern words are certainly needed sometimes.

In my experience this would only be a confrontation when someone thinks they are diving correctly, and they are not. And usually it is painfully obvious to all the experienced shark divers on board that they are not.

The more you dive on Shear Water the more obvious it is that some people are looking around enough and some are not. Some people you can trust to look after themselves and be an extra pair of eyes for you. If you ever suddenly turn around a tiger beach and find a tiger shark right next to you - you really need to be looking around a lot, lot more. You don't just endanger yourself, but the whole group.

At times unexpected things will happen and you need to be diving with people you trust. 3-4 years ago when floating in the blue looking for oceanics, I got charged by a wild tiger shark. It was the only tiger we saw the whole time we were in the area. It just appeared, swimming up from the blue, straight at me. And I didn't see it. Thankfully the rest of the group did, got my attention and as soon as I turned to face it, it veered off and disappeared.

I have seen people run out of air, surface away from the boat, get blown off the reef, loose the boat, float about on the surface, get bumped by tigers while reviewing images or getting stuck in their viewfinder etc etc on Shear Water trips. And almost all these people think that it wasn't their fault, that they are not doing anything wrong. There is always an excuse. But at least 9 times out of 10 this is inexcusable in this sort of diving.

Alex

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#45 MikeVeitch

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:59 AM

hmm, interesting thoughts fellas. I wasn't aware of that aspect of the Shearwater trips. Definitely makes sense though, trust me, we certainly kept our eyes open when feeding the greys in Tahiti, Tigers are a whole other kettle of fish! (pun intended :))

And yes, i am also guilty of getting my message across sternly underwater :) as Paul mentions, communication underwater is not an easy thing and can certainly lead to miscommunication in the best of times, never mind when lots of tigers crowding around

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#46 MIKE POWELL

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 06:23 AM

From my own experience Alex all I can say is some divers (myself included) just aren't as "QUICK" as other divers when it comes "Looking around enough". I got dizzy looking around so much and I'll be damned if I didn't turn around a second later and a Tiger was right on top of me....where the hell did he come from?! I always shot my pics from the hip and never reviewed my pics when the action was hot or even warm.

Jim never lectured me once on the surface, just underwater when he needed to get my attention...I was probably slow to respond to his warnings and that's when the UW verbal abuse and body slams came into play. No disrespect meant towards Jim and crew in my original post...I have the utmost respect for them! I sure as hell would not like to be on Jim's bad side :) or a Tiger snack....I'll take the verbal abuse anytime!

"The Other Boat" that makes regular trips to TB is tamer for those of you that are leery of too much action on your first TB Trip. You probably won't see as many Tigers at one time, but you'll have some experience under your belt before joining Jim on the Shear Water.

Happy Shark Diving!

Mike



This is not directed at Paul - who now having done 3 Shear Water trips - dives very correctly with the sharks. It is something I said both in my pre-trip letter and then again on the boat:

The key to getting the most out of Shear Water trips is to prove to Jim and the crew that you are a safe and trust-worthy shark diver. This will mean that they trust you to be close to the action.
Every person who goes on a JASA trip thinks that they are looking around enough. Regularly, some are not. Everyone thinks that they are in the correct position relative to the bait. Regularly, some are not.

When people are not doing the right thing, but think they are - they need to be told. Told off. This is a serious business - and one where there wouldn't be a second chance should a tiger shark decide to try and work out what you are. Stern words are certainly needed sometimes.

In my experience this would only be a confrontation when someone thinks they are diving correctly, and they are not. And usually it is painfully obvious to all the experienced shark divers on board that they are not.

The more you dive on Shear Water the more obvious it is that some people are looking around enough and some are not. Some people you can trust to look after themselves and be an extra pair of eyes for you. If you ever suddenly turn around a tiger beach and find a tiger shark right next to you - you really need to be looking around a lot, lot more. You don't just endanger yourself, but the whole group.

At times unexpected things will happen and you need to be diving with people you trust. 3-4 years ago when floating in the blue looking for oceanics, I got charged by a wild tiger shark. It was the only tiger we saw the whole time we were in the area. It just appeared, swimming up from the blue, straight at me. And I didn't see it. Thankfully the rest of the group did, got my attention and as soon as I turned to face it, it veered off and disappeared.

I have seen people run out of air, surface away from the boat, get blown off the reef, loose the boat, float about on the surface, get bumped by tigers while reviewing images or getting stuck in their viewfinder etc etc on Shear Water trips. And almost all these people think that it wasn't their fault, that they are not doing anything wrong. There is always an excuse. But at least 9 times out of 10 this is inexcusable in this sort of diving.

Alex


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#47 Simon Rogerson

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 11:00 AM

Alex's summation of the diver discipline requirements on board Shearwater is spot-on. Speaking personally, I'd rather be chewed out than chewed up.

Jim's post dive analysis of the divers' shortcomings can be hilarious. I remember one time I got whacked by the tail of one of the big sharks ('Babycakes' or something... he gives them such bloody awful names). Jim performed a 100-decibel reenactment of the episode, including a 'bit' where he imagined the shark pointing like a baseball player before hitting me out of the park. Then he did it again. And again....

Edited by Simon Rogerson, 29 July 2010 - 11:01 AM.


#48 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 12:15 PM

Speaking personally, I'd rather be chewed out than chewed up.


Damn you Rogerson! Not only are you showing me the photos I could have got, but also the words I should have used!

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#49 bmyates

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 02:18 PM

Great trip report and photos, Alex (and others).

Having been on Shearwater three times myself, I can attest to Jim's quick response to "inadequate" behavior. He chewed me out a couple of times, and I was embarrassed and a little put off by it, but frankly deserved it...and it had the effect of making me determined not to let it happen again. Whether you like Jim's communication style or not, no one could question his concern for the safety of the divers in his "care."

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#50 Matt Sullivan

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 03:46 PM

wow! these photos from everybody are awesome!!! this is a dream trip of mine

#51 Minkers

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 07:36 PM

A big thanks to Alex for letting me use his Canon S90 housing, INON lens, and external Magic Filter. BTW, I ordered a housing, INON mount and lens. You can definitely count me in for the new external Magic Filter when they become available. Here's a picture of Alex hamming it and a couple other pics from this newbie photographer... :)

Posted Image

Posted Image

Posted Image

Edited by Minkers, 29 July 2010 - 07:48 PM.


#52 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 12:01 AM

Here's a picture of Alex hamming it


Nice Minky! The key to good underwater photos is excellent subject matter. I am amazed you got such a clean picture in the almost darkness. I also forgot I was shooting single strobe on that dive!

Alex

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#53 tdpriest

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 03:11 AM

If you ever suddenly turn around a tiger beach and find a tiger shark right next to you - you really need to be looking around a lot, lot more. You don't just endanger yourself, but the whole group.


Well, that was me, at first. It isn't easy, and I've been diving with sharks before: this is a whole new level. I'm not happy with "inexcusable", though: you have to learn, and I would very much like to thank Shear Water's crew for minding my back (yes, I had a Tiger sneaking up behind me moment) whilst I was learning.

Although I wanted to meet Jim, perhaps I was lucky not to...

... and whilst Minky shows excellent subject selection in the shark and minnow departments, she picks some weird human subjects!

Tim

:)

Edited by tdpriest, 30 July 2010 - 03:15 AM.


#54 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 03:15 AM

BTW - did anyone find my short Firewire 800 cable - I used it all trip for downloading my pictures and then lost in while packing.

Alex

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#55 yahsemtough

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 05:09 AM

I have been on numerous Shearwater trips and consider Jim a friend.

I have seen him verbally correct a diver after a dive and I thank him for it. One of the last trips I was on had a diver that was less attentive and as a result put me at risk a number of times. The Tigers, without a doubt can sneak up on you, and thus the requirement to constantly be aware. In many cases, as Alex noted, all you need to do is make eye contact and they abort their inquisitive approach. That said if someone is not working with the team in the water it can become a less enjoyable experience. You then start to loose focus on your shooting and start to worry more about the guy not pointing and, the sharks he is not pointing out to you.

I would chalk it up to Jimmy cares about his guests safety and demands the same from all that join him, and I thank him for that.

Cheers

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#56 fotoscubo714

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 01:46 PM

".................trips I was on had a diver that was less attentive and as a result put me at risk a number of times. The Tigers, without a doubt can sneak up on you and thus the requirement to constantly be aware. In many cases, as Alex noted, all you need to do is make eye contact and they abort their inquisitive approach. ....................."

Todd


Has anybody ever tried using those "neoprene mask-band keepers" and painted or glued faux eyes on them? That way everybody can have eyes on back of their heads and make those tigers think "I have my eye on you!!!". In nature many animals use this method to deter attack. Just thinking. Maybe a standard equipment issue on any shark dive trip????.... :)


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#57 DuncanS

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 02:37 PM

Has anybody ever tried using those "neoprene mask-band keepers" and painted or glued faux eyes on them? That way everybody can have eyes on back of their heads and make those tigers think "I have my eye on you!!!". In nature many animals use this method to deter attack. Just thinking. Maybe a standard equipment issue on any shark dive trip????.... :)


Bo

How about these??......
mirrors.jpg
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#58 fotoscubo714

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Posted 30 July 2010 - 03:05 PM

How about these??......


Good one! :) need to say "Tigers may appear closer than actual"

:)

Now back to the great trip report. Awsome stuff and making me jealous.

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#59 Alex_Mustard

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 01:18 AM

How about these??......


The mistake a lot of people use with mirrors is to use flat ones - which give a very limited rear view. They need to be domed mirrors. They certainly work well for spotting photo ops coming your way. One of the other benefits of diving with mirrors (in addition to increasing your peripheral vision) is for check kit issues (BC straps etc). These days I use velcro to attach them to my buoyancy floats on my strobe arms.

I think some people have tried fake eye spots on JASA trips, but I am not aware of them working. I think body language is equally important - as our eyes aren't actually that easy to see behind a mask.

Alex

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#60 rabbit fish

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Posted 01 August 2010 - 10:32 AM

Finally finished my dolphin/shark gallery from the trip.
http://www.bluereefp....org/p689195285.
Again, the experience was unique and unforgettable.
I like Jim's trips because my edited images always somehow turn out to be different than previous trips, despite mostly working with the same subjects in the same area.
Enjoy the photos.

Frank