Magical Moments | Tiger Shark
During February 2008 we visited Aliwal Shoal in South Africa to film and dive with Tiger Sharks. The 'blue water' shark dive that takes place at Aliwal has become rather famous and it is certainly one of the most adrenaline loaded diving activities you can undertake.
The dive is baited with drums of chum so admittedly this dive is not to everyone's taste, however as a shark spectacle it is hard to beat. You can see many dozens of Blacktips (C.limbatus) in addition to Dusky Sharks, Bronze Whalers, the occasional Bull shark and up to eight Tiger Sharks which is the most we saw on a single dive. Very, very occasionally a White shark could turn up, but this is extremely rare.
I'm not afraid of sharks and I don't mean that in a bravado macho beating my chest kind of way. I'm fully aware that even a moderately small shark could quite easily kill me if it chose to attack, but they don't, well at least they don't attack unprovoked very often.
Diving with Tiger sharks in a baited situation however was the most unnerving experience I've ever had in the water. They seem capable of lulling you into an almost hypnotic state and can come incredibly close to you before you are even aware of it. As this is a mid water dive at times we had three or four Tiger sharks coming at us from all directions which certainly appeared to be co-ordinated behaviour. Looking down and seeing a Tiger shark coming vertically up at you from below certainly gets your blood pumping and on more than one occasion I literally had a shark at the end of my dome port that needed to be pushed away relatively aggressively. Great for pictures yes, but maybe not so good for your life expectancy...
In my opinion without dedicated safety divers this would be a very dangerous dive. I've heard lots of unofficial reports of injury, some minor, some fairly major and lax diving practices so this is definitely not a dive to be done lightly. However despite the warnings it has to be said this this is one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had underwater and deserves to be included as a very Magical (if slightly unnerving) Moment!
Filmed: Simon Spear
Music: Furnace (Smartsound Royalty Free Music)
About "Magical Moments"
Very occasionally while diving we are fortunate to experience a natural high so intense that it literally feels like it touches your soul. With "Magical Moments" I hope to share some of these amazing experiences that I have been lucky enough to witness.
All Magical Moments are one shot unedited sequences - a moment in time never to be repeated, yet never, ever forgotten.
Magical Moments | Flamboyant Cuttlefish Hatching
The instant that a bunch of cells sparks into life and turns into something much more than the sum of its parts is a truly Magical Moment.
We spent a couple of months during the winter of 2009/10 diving the famous Lembeh Strait which has become world renowned as a biodiversity hotspot. When diving there it often feels like you are in Disneyland as one strange creature after another can be spotted in your camera lens.
A couple of days before Christmas 2009 we had been on a relatively uneventful dive by Lembeh's standards. That all changed however when I spotted an upside down coconut shell and turned it over to see if anything had been hiding beneath it.
To my surprise I found the inside of the coconut shell packed with tiny eggs with miniscule baby cuttlefish inside, probably not much bigger than a grain of rice. I set my camera up, started to film and was stunned to see the baby cuttlefish moving around inside the eggs getting ready to be born. Truly remarkable.
** More footage of these Flamboyant Cuttlefish Eggs and newborn hatchlings can be seen in my film "Circle of Life" http://youtu.be/U_bcFEyTVFk
Magical Moments | Humpback Whales
The Silver Banks are world renowned as a Humpback Whale nursery that lie midway between the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Every year from mid February until mid April female Humpback Whales take up resident at the banks to nurse their new born calf's before a long and arduous journey north to their summer feeding grounds.
During March 2010 we spent a magical week at the Silver Banks and we were privileged to spend nearly 2 whole days in the water with this mother and her calf. The mother will sleep much of the time and will surface to breathe every 10 minutes or so. However the young calf needs to breathe every few minutes and will surface much more often so if you wait calmly at the surface you will sometimes be rewarded with spectacles like this...
Personally I still believe that the week I spent at Silver Banks was the most memorable of all encounters I've ever had underwater. At times you simply had to stop filming and just watch what was going on in front of you with an open jaw and when you got a chance to look closely into the eyes of these magnificent creatures you were certain that you were starring deep into their souls.
** These Humpbacks can also been seen in my short film 'hope'
Filmed: Simon Spear
Music: Prelude in Dreamtime (Smartsound Royalty Free Music)
Magical Moments | Friendly Turtle
Very occasionally while diving we are fortunate to experience a natural high so intense that it literally feels like it touches your soul. With "Magical Moments" I hope to regularly share some of these amazing experiences that I have been lucky enough to witness. All clips will be one shot unedited sequences - a moment in time never to be repeated, yet never, ever forgotten.
First up is a very friendly Turtle that I met last year in the Red Sea
Magical Moments | Friendly Turtle
I spotted this Hawksbill Turtle on a reef outside Hurghada towards the end of a Red Sea Liveaboard trip out to the offshore marine parks in the southern Egyptian Red Sea.
Due to the shear numbers of divers from the Red Sea resorts Turtles often get severely mobbed when spotted here. Today however at this rarely visited reef I was completely on my own, so I had the opportunity to spend maybe 30 minutes just watching and filming him from a distance while trying to make him comfortable in my presence. Eventually my patience paid off and he moved away from the reef where he had been feeding towards where I had been waiting for him in open water.
I'd seen shots of Turtles coming right up to camera dome ports before and had always wanted to experience it. The reality was as good as I'd ever imagined it would be as he came over, put his head right up against the dome port and peered straight into the lens of my camera. A truly Magical Moment.
Nearly all species of Marine Turtles are classified as Engandered. Who knows if this ocean nomad will ever encounter a human again. If he does lets hope it is a positive experience.
What Would You Say?
Our new conservation themed short film about our Ocean and just a few of the many challenges that lie ahead is now available to view online. Hopefully it will get the grey matter working!!