Jump to content
Alex_Mustard

Wetpixel/JASA Sharks & Dolphins July 2010

Recommended Posts

There's a coincidence. While you guys were enjoying a JASA trip I was giving a JASA talk at BSoUP. I understand your team's disappointment that Jim himself wasn't there, but from my experience all JASA dive team are a pretty dedicated crew. Regarding the question of whether trips sans Jim should be discounted, you might equally argue that trips with Jim could be subject to (heaven forbid) additional charge! I think the key point is that you're diving the sites that Jim has fostered/discovered. There's nothing else like it in the world.

 

From the photographs, it looks like you had a great time. Shame you didn't get the breaching tigers, so please excuse me if I cannot resist showing off mine, plus a cover shot taken at Cover Shot. Site lives up to its name!

 

Simon

post-6326-1280243588.jpg

 

post-6326-1280243562.jpg

 

post-6326-1280243573.jpg

Edited by Simon Rogerson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice pix, Simon. Yep - that is what we were hoping for.

 

Typically timing with your BSoUP talk - when there were 5 Brits on Shear Water that week! Hope it went well.

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Aweome awesome awesome!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Alex, well, there are some fantastic shots from the trip. This post coupled with a fascinating talk from Simon at BSoUP last week has convinced me I need to get on the Shearwater!! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
there are some fantastic shots from the trip.

 

It should be on everyone's list, Tristan. It is certainly one of THE experiences in diving. I have not shared any of my best images yet - only two here (lemon silhouette and lemon on reef would be in my top 100 from the trip).

 

I hope I'll be running the same trip again for Wetpixel next July.

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

its def on the top of my list if i ever make it to that side of the world

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It´s always a pleasure to read your trip reports but in this case, since I was there some three months ago, it was even more enjoyable. As always great pictures and I don´t want to imagine the ones you keep for your limited access web!

 

Regarding Jim, he was in my trip and is one of those persons you end up "loving" with just one week of lifesharing. His style of guiding pushing your limit as much as you want (as long as his rules are followed) is something I really enjoyed as I wanted "heat" and, in the end, we had some hot monster chaos :) ,but there where some divers that preferred somewhat more relaxed diving and chose to go in the other guide´s group. All this to say that the operation is a success with or without Jim and I will repeat the trip anyway, but I would to have Jim with us!

 

That´s me with a good old tiger :(

 

4834672631_89e42a4170_b.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should take some of the responsibility of not knowing that Jim wouldn't be able to be on the trip -- I just assumed that he would be! Having said that, I knew that Jim would be in Isla Mujeres around now, and just didn't put the two together. I agree -- JASA should tell people whether Jim will or will not be on the boat before hand. We were not explicitly told.

 

It does seem like you had a fantastic time anyway -- the images certainly look fantastic! Thanks for a great trip report.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great images and report Alex! Sounds like a wonderful trip, even sans Jimmy.

 

I cannot agree with you more about the Zen 230 - I am in love with this dome. It helped bring me back into the Subal fold! Just had the chance to run it for 9 days in Cocos, and it was terrific with the Canon 17-40.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool report Alex!

I really enjoyed this one even without Jim, the “shark whisperer”.

The crew did a good job keeping everyone happy given the unusual summertime rain, winds and swell...and we had a good group of divers. The food was also quite tasty and with the help of Ed’s new outside camera table and the absence of Jim’s camera shop we actually had comfortable space for everyones gear!

It is nice to be home and sleep without getting tossed out of bed... and enjoy the use of some truly clean towels :)

The pics will take a while but here are a few favorites so far.

One of the dolphin pods we ran into was really excited (physically!). The bottlenose bulls were just unrelentless. Fortunately, dolphins are smart and don’t molest humans otherwise I would have been...

Will post a gallery when the edit process is complete.

Cheers,

 

Frank

post-1645-1280372710.jpg

post-1645-1280372710.jpg

post-1645-1280372722.jpg

post-1645-1280372738.jpg

post-1645-1280372758.jpg

post-1645-1280372782.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Really top shots, Frank. Really looking forward to seeing the rest - I know there are some very special shots not yet released!

 

Love that late evening lemon. And you've got some great formations with multiple dolphins - very nice. We had an interesting debate on board about the advantages and disadvantages of using a mini-dome for dolphin shots with the 10-17mm. On DX/APS-C cameras it gives good results - OK, the corners (particularly the surface, at the top of the frame) are not perfect, but in blue water is it that critical. But they are fine. The mini-domes allow you to swim much faster and get in better positions, which is perhaps more important.

 

Here is a photo Frank took of me with the same dolphin group:

post-713-1280399513.jpg

 

Alex

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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 don’t 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....

 

Paul C

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

confrontation? do tell :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
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!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sponsors

Advertisements



×
×
  • Create New...