I just returned from a grueling trip to Bimini, Bahamas. Bimini is the closest of the Bahamas Islands to the US. It is only 60 miles from Miami. Ironically, it's the most goddamn difficult island of the Bahamas that I've had to get to. I've flown to Nassau in one day, filmed scenes for a commercial the next day, and flown all the way back home from Nassau on the third day, easily and without stress. This trip was nowhere near as easy. It was one of the most stressful trips I've had to take, because these days, if you miss your connection, you are sh** out of luck with the airlines and have to find a way home by relying on the largesse and professionalism of the airline that is supposed to fly you back.
There is no reliable way to get to and from Bimini. I'll write more, but I wanted to post a clip today. I finally got back to my home today after three days of planes, ferries, and automobiles. More on that later. Here's a clip:
I was scheduled to dive with great hammerhead sharks for five days, but the trip was cut short by weather. So I had one day of diving with these spectacular animals. I got to Bimini on Saturday afternoon, flying Silver Airlines from Fort Lauderdale. Unfortunately, most folks' checked luggage did not arrive with the flight. (Silver Airlines had not made their scheduled flights for the three days before Saturday. The small plane was packed with folks who had been stuck at the airport, literally, since Wednesday. One couple on our trip had been forced to sleep overnight at the FLL airport because there were absolutely no hotels available anywhere within a 100 mile radius or more).
I therefore only had my GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition camera. I had never used it underwater before -- just for surf videos and stills, and aerials with my drone. I had no lights. I had no way to hold the housing well. But the next day we went out, and the sharks were there. The good folks leading the trip let me dive with loaner gear but did not have any wetsuits, so I dove with just running shorts (sorry, everyone on the dive -- you saw my very large gut).
I am impressed with the GoPro footage. This clip was shot at 1080 frames at 60p. I then conformed it to 23.98 fps, so it is slowed down a bit. These sharks are spectacular, very cool to see.
Thanks to Joe Romeiro and Bill Fisher of 333 Productions for organizing the trip, to Mike Black and Jamin Martinelli for working so hard for our group of divers (doing EVERYTHING needed), and the Bimini Big Game Lodge for being so understanding when we got weathered out. And hey, I have to thank United Airlines for getting me back home relatively easily when my plans changed. I usually complain about airlines, but United Airlines did good.
A last note:
I just saw on Facebook that our trip leader,
Mike Black, a terrific and gentle guy, got beat up in Bimini a day after
seeing most of our group off the island. If he got beat up by thugs
sent by the competition, then that is really monstrous, vile, and
shocking. He may have voiced opposition to the tagging of these sharks.
The older hammerhead sharks all had numerous tags on them; one
or two had 4" squares of flesh ripped off behind their dorsal, probably
from "researchers" who had caught them and glued tags on them, which
then ripped off. I used to study marine biology, even was in the PhD
program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography. But I am now sickened
and opposed to the constant, unending tagging of large marine animals.
Update 3-3-15: I've received a few comments from researchers. One of the comments was the usual stuff that you get from any researcher who feels offended or disagrees with something you say. "You're ignorant, you're an idiot, you are not qualified to say anything, etc."
Another comment was actually more reasoned. When I have the time, I'll post the comment and my answers. Sean, if you read this, please send me your email address so that we can communicate directly and privately.
As for tagging: Like anything else, too much of something can make that -- not a good
thing. My strong opinion is that there's been too much tagging now. My
friend and mentor Howard Hall wrote a good piece about the subject of
Here's the concluding paragraph and a later comment from Howard after his article: