Monday, October 27, 2008

Filmmaker's Journal: a white shark stakes his turf

I will be heading to Isla Guadalupe this week to film the island's magnificent great white sharks, so I will be a bit tardy in keeping up with RTSea blog postings for a few days. But hopefully I will have some great stories to report on my return.

Actually, I was at Isla Guadalupe recently, filming for a Greek television adventure series. And once again, the island's apex predator gave me a subtle reminder as to why it's the boss.

After having filmed from within the cage, capturing the show's host reacting to large females rising up from the depths and cruising majestically past the cage, I then moved to an Avon-like inflatable to shoot over the side - from open water back towards the cage - hoping to catch a shark passing between the camera and the cage.

Interestingly, we had three large sharks in close proximity to each other - closer than usual, as white sharks (particularly the large females) typically maintain some "space." The inflatable's pilot and I were in position for a great shot, but as a 16-footer came along side the cage, rather than pass in front , it made a beeline for our inflatable. Playing a little territorial game of "chicken", the shark pushed the stern of the inflatable up a good foot or so and his (my camera caught his claspers) caudal tail sliced the surface and gave me a good swat across the face as it headed back down, having clearly announced who is the big man on campus.

All very exciting, but when he came back a few minutes later and gave us another albeit smaller bump, we got the message and headed back to the boat.

Even within the accepted risk that you take as a professional, there are always moments that remind you of the caution and respect for unpredictability that any large animal in the wild rightly deserves. But, yes, it's loads of fun.

No comments: