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echeng

French Polynesia, Mar/Apr 2005

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The Over-Unders are great. Especially the one in front of the Watervillas!

 

Simon

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Ahh me old buddy Seb in his finest form.

 

 

What took you so long Eric?

Sweet

 

I should post some video where a shark wins the tug of war and drops the Mahi head on my head.....

 

Just read the report. Brings back some memories that is for sure...especially Pierre and the deep drift at Apataki....

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Ahh... very nice work Eric. Did the sharks come around only at a specific feeding time or were they around all the time. And how shy were they with out food? I havent been in Tahiti since 1984, we saw sharks but not in those numbers.

 

Doug

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Thanks for sharing. I've been waiting to see this stuff since you mentioned that you had gone there. i like the gallery setup....what is it? That's new on your website, isn't it.

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That is an interesting rig that Valerie has....what kinda camera was in that square housing?

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Nice shots Eric, what islands have you been to? I went to Moorea in 2003, but didn't have the chance to take many pictures as I had to collect a lot of fish.

 

Luiz

 

EDIT: Just saw in the site that you went to Moorea too. I dove in that exact same shark feeding site, but it was scary because I had to spearfish there! The first time the sharks were very aggressive trying to grab our fish (err samples), so we waited for them to be fed by the dive operator. They were pretty harmless with the full bellies.

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Hmmm love those sharks. They look like little babies.

 

Looks like a place to consider. Topside and below.

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Lots of sharks! I really like the setup on the sharks near shore. That O/U with the hut in the background.

 

Rand

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going there this december, crossing fingers and toes for a d70 housing.

 

eric what lens do you recommend to pack (for me to buy)? topside and u/w.

 

i may never go back there ever again so i want to capture as much as i can.

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Hey, guys! Glad you're enjoying the album.

 

I'm using SimpleViewer (do a search for it), a Flash app that uses an XML file for source. I wrote about it here:

 

http://www.echeng.com/journal/index.php?p=1045

 

It's not perfect, yet (for example, the padding I have specified cuts off captions with vert images if the captions are more than 1 line..), but the Flash thing has potential. There's a photoshop flash gallery that Dr. Mustard uses, which ships with the flash source. I may learn flash one of these days and hack it up. ;)

 

You know, I don't remember what camera Valerie was shooting with. Some sort of Fuij point & shoot, or something. She and Ron both use home-made housings.

 

At Apataki, Rangiroa, and Fakarava, there were a lot of sharks hanging out in the pass during the day regardless of whether we brought food. But they were much more interested in us when fish was in the water (duh!). :)

 

As for splits, I forgot that it's actually easier to shoot splits with crop-sensor cameras because for the same field of view you get much better DOF. So I shot with a 20mm or something, and it was impossible with a split diopter to get a close, underwater subject in focus with the background in focus. Next time I'll go for a fisheye, perhaps.

 

The little black-tips are really cute! Go to Bathy's in Moorea and charter one of their small dive boats with Guillaume Vilcot as a guide. Make sure you bring some fish, and you can work the surface as we did.

 

Chris: bring a very wide lens. If you are doing baited dives, use a 10.5,, fisheye and a 16mm fisheye. If not, you may want to shoot with something a bit longer.

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By the way, I fixed the comment problem in my web journal. If you tried to leave a comment before, go back and leave one. ;)

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Ahh... very nice work Eric. Did the sharks come around only at a specific feeding time or were they around all the time. And how shy were they with out food? I havent been in Tahiti since 1984, we saw sharks but not in those numbers.

 

Doug

Well seeing as Eric is not here at the moment and no offence to him but i have some experience in the area...

 

The Sharks are always around in South Fakarava and Apataki. There is a strong current running through those passes and that is where the sharks congregate. At Apataki they make a big circle at the bottom of the pass (80ft-25m) and they just go round and round and round, up and down....The divers are shuttled off to the side and hook in to the rocks or tuck into a small cave and watch the sharks from there. Can be very difficult to approach the sharks because they shy away from the divers, you are lucky to get anywhere closer than about 20 feet from the outskirts of the big school. When you let go of the reef and shoot down the pass then it is possible for the first couple of people to get sort of close, but...it is not often that you get to go straight at the sharks due to large waves in the lagoon from the wind over current phenomenon. Divers have to swim hard off to the side instead and get into an area where the surface is calm in order to be picked up. Looking at Erics photos it looks pretty calm so he might not have had to worry about that. HOwever, it is like that about 85% of the time. But, if you want to get close to the sharks then a wee bit of dead Tuna is your best friend! But watch out as this is a school of about 200 grey reefs and it can get a bit wild and woolly!

 

Also, Apataki is only accessable by liveaboard boat. There are no resorts or dive shops on that island and the pass is on the far side of the lagoon from the village. Because the Aggressor is soon to relocate to the Society Islands there will be extremely limited access to that dive site. Just one boat in the Tuamotus with a compressor now that i know of...But that may have changed since i left in 2004.

 

South Fakarava is a dream place, it has a small resort and also the sharks are always there. LIke Valerie, i think this is the best site in Poly and i have been to a lot of the islands. The current is much less than in Apataki and easier to photograph on most occasions as it is easier to get under the sharks because they tend to congregate on a ledge. The safety stop and the end of the dive is amazing up under the docks. Again, much easier to get close to the sharks if you have bait...but that is obvious anywhere...

 

Lenses, i would recommend a good zoom as it is difficult to get close to the sharks in the Tuamotus unless you have a feeder. I used a Nik V and 15mm (i had Seb after all...) most of the time but also an 18-35 on my N90.

In the Societies there are lots of feedings so a wide prime is fine.

 

Mike

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Ahh would you look at that....in the time it took me to reply "Voila!" there is Eric....

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Re: aggressor moving

 

One of my friends is trying to get an Explorer fleet boat into the area, so there may be another option...

 

We'll see.

 

Also, Mike is right about the reefs getting aggressive. I was bumped more than I ever have been bumped, and even had a shark go for my first stage. A *bit* too close to my neck, for comfort...

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eric, for FP do i need to purchase some kind of adapter for electrical plugs? i am worried about charging my things.

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Standard, european, non-grounded adapter (round plugs).

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