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adamhanlon

Wetpixel whale sharks 2013

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Hi all,

 

I'm sitting in the Radisson in downtime Cancun having just spent 24 hours getting from the UK to Mexico. From tomorrow, the first group of fellow shark watchers will be arriving, with us getting out on the water from Wednesday.

 

There have been other groups out this season, and their reports seem very good. Lots of whale sharks, and mantas as well.

 

My aim is to keep the Wetpixel community updated about the trips in as real time as the internet will allow. Please keep checking back here for more info, images and trip reports.

 

I should also point out that I have brought out some fun new toys to play with, including a Canon 6D/Nauticam housing/Zen 4" port, Inon wide-angle wet lenses for the Powershot G15, Backscatter Flip filters for the GoPro HERO3 and housings for the iPhone 5 (!)

 

Adam (who isn't excited at all!)

 

 

 

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Glad you made it partner, sounds like a rough ride. I'm on my way. Save me a margarita. I have a few more things for you to play with including an 8-15mm and an interesting surprise.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Given that Steve and I are sharing a room, I am a little concerned about the interesting surprise :laugh: !

 

Adam

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Ha ha ha.

 

Sounds like so much fun and I wish I was there! Can't wait to see the photos.

Have fun!!

 

~abi

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Greetings from a hot and very productive Isla Mujeres.


Day 1 dawned bright and early, with Steve, Pat, Jeff, Barry, Eric and I meeting the boat on the jetty at 7am.


An hour later, we were in amongst what I think is the biggest group of whale sharks I think any of us have ever seen. The sharks were actually quite densely packed together whilst moving and feeding on the eggs in the water.


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We had numerous examples of the sharks going vertical in the water (known as a botella).


An added bonus this year is a group of schooling mantas that arrive in the late morning.


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More later!


Adam

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A quadcopter on a snorkel trip? Why not? :)

 

Launching this thing off of a rolling and pitching boat is complicated, but once it's up in the air, I'm in control. Having said that, there is probably a good chance that I will return from this trip without my little helicopter. It is, after all, the ocean...

 

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I did go in the water a bit, too. ;)

 

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This is a fascinating place to shoot, if you haven't been here put it on the list. I don't remember ever having this much fun in the water. The sheer joy of being circled by big mantas while whale sharks are cruising by is an amazing experience.

 

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Cheers from Isla Mujeres.

Steve

 

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Looks like you guys are having an awesome time. great shots. Looking forward to seeing more from the trip.

 

DiverPam

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Day 2 started really well, with our skipper Rogelio apparently smelling the fish eggs on the way to the site. There were lots of mantas and sharks around. After about 45 minutes though, they started to dive deep and became more spread out. Make no error, we still saw a lot of whale sharks and mantas, but after the complete mayhem yesterday, it just felt a little slower.

 

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The last member of our group, Stephanie, joined us this evening, so we hope that the the whale shark "gods" will give her the experience we all had yesterday.

 

Adam

 

 

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Hi again all,

 

The universe's order was restored today with a frantic day here in Isla Mujeres, including an amazing couple of hours this afternoon with a "group" of very friendly whale sharks who actually would turn back to look for us when we stopped following them! It seem that even whale sharks can be fame-hungry!

 

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Lets hope that tomorrow brings lots more, and if we are being picky a few more mantas would be nice please!

 

Adam

 

 

 

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You are absolutely right Pam. One more thanks to the instruction from Eric and Adam.

 

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It just keeps getting better,

 

Steve

 

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Here is another one. If anyone wants to know what it looks like when a whale shark poops on you, well this is how it looks.

 

I was not popular on the boat after.

 

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Adam

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I love whale shark poo!



Aerial view of two whale sharks.

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Day 4 was another amazing day in Isla Mujeres. There was a little wind and some bigger swells but in reality the only problem was that we could hardly see the mantas for the whale sharks!

 

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The aggregation truly is an amazing spectacle. If you haven't witnessed it yet, you really need to get down here. I don't think it is possible to underestimate just how amazing this experience is.

 

Adam

 

 

 

 

 

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Another stellar day in Isla Mujeres. Definitely a day for mantas today, with feeding loops, trains and some impressive breaches. Barry Russell had the honour of having a manta land about one meter behind him. Unfortunately, as it was behind him, he didn't manage to capture it.

 

Saying that there was also a lot of whale sharks!

 

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As promised, here are some mantas:

 

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The first trip has now ended, and we bid farewell to Barry, Pat, Jeff and Steve. I will hand over to Jason Bradley and Eric will stay on for the next week.

 

The whale sharks and mantas of Isla Mujeres are an amazing event. We will be back next year!

 

 

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Awesome last day of trip #1. The sharks were fanned out into a long strip, which made it hard to stay in the middle of things, but the middle was densely packed with both whale sharks and manta rays. Steve said that he counted 60 from the boat (!).

 

Also, a large manta breached about 1 meter from Barry Russell (no exaggeration), which must have been exciting for him. :)

 

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Very nice......my dream shot, a pair in Pices or yin yang pose. Seriously thinking of signing on board for 2014, might need drone training. Well done.

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Our awesome group: trip 1 of the Wetpixel Isla Mujeres Whale Sharks Expedition 2013. Adam Hanlon, Barry Russell, Jeff Kelley, Pat Chock, Steph Hannon, Steve Williams and me, plus Capitán Rogélio y Juan

 

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Hi John,

I was shooting my 7D in the Nauticam housing using the Tokina 10-17mm rolled to 10mm 95% of the time. There is so much stuff in the water that I felt like I wanted to limit the water column as much as possible. Especially if you follow Adam around. (See above) Others were more comfortable at 17mm when shooting the crop frame. Guess it depends on the look you're after and how comfortable you are getting close to the sharks without touching them. I used my little Zen dome for most of the trip (easier to free dive with) and put my big dome on for two days of shooting splits. I was shooting manual exposure, hi speed continuous the vast majority of the time.

 

The sun angle you shoot is probably more important than the lens. Shooting across the sun provided me the best opportunity to limit backscatter. I had the best luck down or across the sun early in the morning as you'd expect.

 

I spent about 5 hours in the water every day in my dive skin and was very comfortable. Take big huge cards with you. One unforgetable morning I shot 500 images in less than two hours while being constantly circled by whale sharks and dancing mantas. That will just about fill a 16GB card on the 7D.

 

My Isla Mujeres set on Flickr is still in progress but a few images are up here.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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I shot Canon 5D3 in a Nauticam housing with the big Zen dome, with the Tokina 17mm/3.5 and the Canon 15mm fisheye. Also shot GoPro HERO3 Black in quadcopter, and underwater.

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Day one of trip two of the Wetpixel Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Expedition... and my first time seeing whale sharks. What a great first day!!!

 

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Thanks for listing your equipment guys... great shots! Lovely to see all the Manta's too -- when I was there it was just the poor lonely bus-sized Whale Sharks :D

 

Good to see Rogelio and Juan are still shepherding lots of snorkelers off the Lilly M. into the Whale Shark Rodeo.

Edited by johnspierce

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