Thursday, 12 November 2015

A Long Overdue Update On Life In General

It's been two months since the last blog post and I do apologise! Since the premiere for Of Shark and Man I have been unbelievably busy so figured an update is long overdue!

In regards to Of Shark and Man, the crowdfund campaign is now over and perks have been shipped out (T-Shirts are on their way in the next couple of weeks), the winner of the Fiji trip has been informed (congratulations Stephan!) and the money raised is already being put to good use with seven submissions to film festivals around the world and more to come.

There have been some cracking reviews of the film which you can read here with another here which will be added to the site soon.

I have also started the long process of discussing the film's potential acquisition with networks and distributors, it' going to be a journey with ups and downs and about a million emails but hopefully, it will all be worth it!

I have also started work on coming up with an engaging story for part II, the plan for which is of course, equally ambitious and ground breaking, progress on that will be forthcoming when it happens!

Aside from everything to do with OSAM, there has been a ton of other stuff going on, all of which has seen professional development and all of which is being done to improve every area of my work.

Gabriel Morey and I hard at work in Mallorca

Immediately after the premiere, I was on a plane back to Mallorca to shoot a film for Asociacion Ondine and Brad's involvement in Sylvia Earle's Mission Blue II project. The idea was to put together a short film highlighting the importance of The Balearic Islands as a place of natural beauty which is very deserving of greater protection before its decline becomes as serious as the rest of the Mediterranean.

It was a challenging shoot with a really limited timescale and a pretty intense deadline, there were ups and downs but the former far outweighed the latter, chopper rides around the islands to film aerials, beautiful scenery and working with awesome people and making new friends were the particular highlights. Huge thanks to Gonzalo and Roel for all your help!

It hasn't been made public but below are some frame grabs. I'm really proud of the cinematography in there, I really feel like I'm mastering my own style now.

I managed to deliver the film in time, working against a very tight deadline and this morning I awoke to this amazing news;

"BREAKING NEWS: Sylvia A. Earle has declared Spain's Balearic Islands the newest Mission Blue Hope Spot!

The first Hope Spot in the Mediterranean Sea, this archipelago off the Iberian coast of Spain serves as crucial spawning ground for endangered Atlantic bluefin tuna, hosts loggerhead sea turtles and provides the only nesting area to the Balearic shearwater (Puffinus mauretanicus), one of the most threatened seabirds in the world."

This is testament to the amazing work being carried out by Asociacion Ondine and proof that from small acorns grow mighty oak trees. Well done to all involved!!

After a couple of days recovery and another little film shoot for Aqualung UK, I was on my travels again, this time down to Wales to undertake the two week HSE Commercial Diving course with Bristol Channel Divers. The course was challenging, fun, exhausting, at times cold but absolutely brilliant. I can't praise Neil Brock and his staff enough, if you're a UK based diver wanting to dive professionally outside of teaching, meaning media diving, commercial work, oil rigs etc, then definitely choose these guys!

The course was a split between underwater work and classroom based theory sessions with a five hour exam comprising three different commercial diving aspects. My group was a really great collection of people from different backgrounds, all of whom were a joy to be around and we all passed, my final exam results being 95%, 98% and 100% so a success all round!

Massive thanks also to the lovely Helen at the Aberthaw House Hotel who really made me feel at home the whole time!

Upon completion of the course it was straight back to work, another shoot for Aqualung UK then on to the Dive Show in Birmingham where I finally got to meet Amanda Cotton who is as lovely as you can imagine and where I spent a bit of time on the Dive Worldwide stand talking to people about Fiji and the shark dive with Beqa Adventure Divers.

In amongst all of this has been the planning of something really quite special. The last five years has really taken a toll on me both physically and emotionally and to be honest, I'm completely burned out from it all. So much has happened in the last twelve months that I have been feeling for a while that I need to get away somewhere to recharge my batteries, take stock of everything and plan the next move of my life.

A few months back Amanda Cotton invited me to join her on a trip to Tiger Beach and given the opportunity and timing it was an offer too good to turn down, which then morphed into a month long trip to Florida and The Bahamas where I will be filming various species of shark, the focus being Tigers, Hammerheads and Lemons, whilst catching up with Michael Patrick O'Neill after 4 long years and hanging out with Susana Navajas, Tanya Houppermans and John Griffith.

It's going to be a huge honour for me to spend quality time with these talented and passionate people, do a ton of diving and also, put a little film together of my trip by way of updating you all on what life is like post-completion of Of Shark and Man. I'm going to dive lots, get a tan, eat great food, drink delicious drinks and enjoy the world in a state of relaxation for the first time in a great many years. I need this badly and I can't wait, I fly on Monday... Florida I'm coming to get ya!

As part of the trip there is a FREE screening of Of Shark and Man at Florida International University on Wednesday November 18th, which will also include a Q&A with me in which you can ask me anything you like, I'll have probably had a drink as well, meaning my inner editorial functions will be down so I'll pretty much answer anything you. Details of the evening can be found here.

When I get back I will start work on the Behind The Scenes featurettes for Of Shark and Man meaning a load more content for the website and Facebook page so there is plenty to look forward to in the coming months!

Once again, sorry for the delay, I'll try to keep radio silence to a minimum from now on!

Monday, 31 August 2015

Of Shark and Man Premiere - Amazing!!

English Dave meets Fijian Dave! (Photo by Carol Moir)

It's taken a few days to get the chance to write this as I am currently on a shoot in Mallorca but Thursday's Of Shark and Man premiere was a really amazing and incredibly humbling event!

The mooted (then cancelled) tube strike meant some guests were unable to make it but the turnout was fantastic with people travelling far and wide to help celebrate the release of the film. Guests included people who have helped in the production of the film, supporters and sponsors, Dive industry heavyweights, media and friends and the venue, The Courthouse Hotel in Soho, was just perfect (thanks to Chris Bird for making the projection of the film as smooth and non-stressful as he did!)

 Photo by Carol Moir

The reaction was really overwhelming, the atmosphere surrounding the night was positive, friendly and casual and I really hope all our guests had an enjoyable time. Once again, it was incredibly positive that throughout the film, nobody seemed to lose interest, nobody left (phew!) and the reaction at the end of the film was so good I didn't really take it in at the time I was so surprised.

Afterwards, upon retiring to the bar, it was lovely to catch up with friends, one of whom, David Whittle who did the opening title sequence, I hadn't seen for 18 years! It was equally good to make new friends and hear what they thought about the film, their favourite bits and how it moved them.

So far, the feedback has been incredible, the film really seems to touch a nerve with both sharky people and those with no prior interest in sharks at all and I think that is what I am proudest about.

The crowdfund campaign has got off to a great start but we need to keep it moving. If you want to help support the release of the film, go check out the amazing perks on offer and also, read this to find out how you could win yourself a trip for two to Fiji or a set of Aqualung regs!! 

Here's a few pics from the premiere taken by the lovely and very talented Carol J Moir! You can see more here.



Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Of Shark And Man Crowdfund Is Live!

It's been a crazy few weeks with way too much to fit into not enough time but somehow, I'm just about managing!

One of the biggest jobs I've had for a few months now has been putting everything in place for the crowdfund campaign. I've mentioned it has been coming on here for a while now and the reason it's taken a while to get to the stage of going live is purely down to one reason. I've spent the entire time trying to secure as much value for contributors as possible, I feel that if I am asking for your help, I want to give you something in return that you can really appreciate.

On Monday, the crowdfund campaign was finally released, you can see it here please watch the video, read the details and most important of all, check out the perks and if there's anything in there that takes your fancy, make your contribution and it's yours!

We have film merchandise in the form of T-Shirts, custom artwork, signed posters, skype chats with me (who wouldn't want that!?), stickers and of course, best of all, you get to see the film for yourself. Until "Of Shark and Man" screens in your town, this is the only way you have to see the film!

As well as film merch we are also giving away some serious, top of the range dive gear including, computers, wetsuits, regs, mask/fins/snorkel sets and dive bags from Suunto, Fourth Element, Apeks and Aqualung

The amount we are hoping to raise, is quite a chunk of money but we are hopeful that we can get close to, if not achieve that target. The money will be used to get the film out to the film festival circuit, for marketing and promotion, special events and screenings, subtitling and everything else designed to get this film out for as many people to see as possible and spread a positive and inspiring story about sharks and people.

The campaign runs for 45 days, at the completion of the campaign, Indiegogo take their percentage then distribute the funds to us so we can start work on distribution. The admin side of things takes about two weeks and after that, we will start distributing all your awesome perks!

In conjunction with the crowdfund campaign we are also running our own raffle campaign in which you stand a chance of winning a shark diving trip to Fiji for you and a friend!!

The raffle is our own separate thing that we are running outside of Indiegogo. Most crowdfunds don't have raffles alongside them, it's certainly not something we have to do, rather something I want to do. It helps us promote the crowdfund campaign and also shows how valued your contribution to supporting Of Shark and Man is to everyone associated with the film.

Now, there's been a few questions about the raffle as a few people haven't read the press release properly and got seriously confused so I'll break it down as simply as possible below: 

  1. To enter the raffle, all you need to do is claim a perk on the crowdfund page. Claiming that perk automatically guarantees your entry into the raffle.
  2. Please read "How To Enter" and "How It Works" at this link. Each perk is linked to a raffle prize and that is detailed in the linked article. You are not buying a raffle ticket, you are taking perks on a crowdfund campaign, we are giving you entry into the raffle for free. The higher your contribution to the crowdfund campaign, the higher the value of perks you receive and the higher the value of prize you stand a chance of winning in the raffle.
  3. No, raffle tickets to win the trip to Fiji do not cost £10,000!!!! Entrance into the raffle for the Fiji prize starts with the £350 perks.
  4. Your perks are unaffected by the raffle, if you contribute to the campaign, those perks are yours, they are what your money gets you, the raffle entry is just a nice extra on top to give you a chance of getting something else.
  5. The minimum contribution to get yourself perks and entry to win a raffle prize is £20 
Please read the terms and conditions it's all very straightforward, when you make your contribution, that's it, you just need to wait until the campaign ends and then we will do a draw on video, drawn by an independent third party to make sure everything is fair for everyone.

Go get yourself some cool stuff! Good luck!

I have a long day tomorrow, driving down to London for the premiere on Thursday, then over to Mallorca for twelve days for a film shoot. Keep visiting for all the usual updates and to keep up to date with all the latest news sign up to the newsletter!

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Official Of Shark and Man Trailer Now Live!

Finally, after all these years, the Official Trailer is live and available for you to see for yourself! No more teasers as to what the film might look and sound like, just confirmation in the form of a brief snapshot of what you the viewer will be getting when you see Of Shark and Man.

I would greatly appreciate if you could share the trailer far and wide if you like it, we need the film to gain a momentum amongst the public so there is that interest to see it when its released. After five years of non-stop hard work, now is the key time that will make or break it!

The website is also live and getting regular updates. Starting next Wednesday, new content like interviews, reviews, news updates etc will be posted every week and on every Friday, new video content will be added to the site including teaser clips, bonus features and deleted scenes so keep making regular visits so as not to miss out!

Thanks to everyone who has shared the trailer and been so far and been so forthcoming with praise, it really means a lot!

Thank you.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Of Shark And Man Website Is Now Live!

Finally it's here, the Of Shark and Man official website is now live and available for you to enjoy!

It's taken a while to get to the stage where we had everything we needed for a release so when you visit it it's not just a homepage and loads of "coming soon" announcements but as of the early hours of this morning we had managed to get enough on there to keep you going until the updates start.

With regards to updates, these will be regular and scheduled meaning you won't have big gaps in between. It's been driving me kind of insane lately not being able to release the stuff I have lined up and that's been due to some incredibly small details and awaiting confirmation of certain aspects of the release and the crowdfund campaign. These are all to be expected but I was becoming very conscious of constantly saying that stuff was coming without actually giving you that stuff!

So, to clarify, here are the key things to look out for:

1. The Official Trailer is being released on Monday August 3rd! That's this coming Monday and all you will need to do is visit and it will be there, right in front of you on the homepage!

2. Starting Friday, August 14th, we will release brand new, unseen video and film content in the form of teaser clips, deleted scenes, bonus footage etc. These will be released on the website in the "Media" section, every Friday for at least the following 15 weeks, most likely more.

3. On the Wednesday of each week (starting August 12th) we will release other additional content in the form of interviews with people involved in the making of the film, Researchers, Photographers etc, all of whom have their own experiences of the Shark Reef story, artwork, site updates and info about screenings.

4. The Crowdfund Campaign will be launched and will give you an opportunity to see the film for yourself and get your hands on some INCREDIBLE goodies from the film and also top of the range dive gear from Fourth Element, Apeks, Aqualung and Suunto! Seriously, you do not want to miss out on these! The campaign will also feature various raffle prizes, one of which is just about the best prize you could possibly imagine to go hand in hand with a film about diving with the world's biggest Bull Sharks in Fiji... Read into that what you will...

Also, for everyone who took perks in the first crowdfund campaign, these will be going out to those people and will be the updated and much cooler ones we're giving away this time to say an extra special thanks for your support way back when. You will also notice that your names are in the film's credits! Your names will also be added to the website in the Supporters section.

Already up on the site is a few still photos (plenty more of these to come), the three teaser trailers, info about the film itself, a couple of reviews and two Behind the Scenes shorts made at the time of filming in 2010 and 2011.

So, without further ado, go visit, bookmark it in your favourites, tell your friends and come along for the ride, it's all going to get rather exciting!

Monday, 13 July 2015

More Feedback For Of Shark and Man - Part II

It's been a busy couple of weeks, the Facebook page was properly launched and in the last two weeks has attracted 600 likes which isn't bad at all considering the official trailer isn't out yet! This was all organic as well, in that we haven't done any paid advertising plus we're getting a lot of engagement. Facebook likes mean nothing if people aren't engaging with you!

The Twitter account is also running and progress on that is much slower, purely down to the fact that we've been concentrating on Facebook and the official site although I promise we will up our Twitter game asap!

The first bits of footage from the film were released in a short tribute to Rusi as well and we already have seven teaser clips ready to go, a deleted scene and the official trailer to come with tonnes more stuff being prepared also, all of which we will start drip feeding out by the end of this month!

More feedback has come in for the film from those who were invited to view the private screener hence this blog. Check out the names as well, these are people who have an understanding of the issues in the film as well as a wealth of experience and expertise in Conservation, Film-Making, Shark Diving and Shark Research. Here are some snippets below:

"I watched it last night- you did a wonderful job with it! You managed to weave together such lovely footage, story-telling, and critical conservation messages without any of the unnecessary fluff or "preachiness" found in like-minded documentaries. It actually brought tears to my eyes to see all that I find special about BAD and SRMR to be captured on screen, especially with the now iconic shots of Rusi... I truly can't wait until you release it and I can share it with my family and friends to try and give them some insight into my life from the last four years and what exactly it is that makes me love BAD and SRMR so damn much!" - Lindsay Graff (Shark Researcher)

"I loved your movie "Of Shark and Man". You really show how eco tourism can help shark conservation. You are not afraid to address the controversy surrounding shark feeding dives and paint a pretty accurate picture. The film also encourages people to follow their dreams, which, regardless of subject, is a great thing to do. Best of all, you do this in an entertaining and non "preachy" way. Great job" - Martin Graf (Shark Dive Operator)

"Everything about this feature length documentary was perfect; the editing, the narratives, the cinematography, the underwater footage - all of it, seriously. David does a marvellous job of getting you interested in his own story by pulling you in with the abstract of Fiji and its' sharks, and finally... delivering fully with his own personal goals within the film... The way this film blends all of the stories into one beautiful (love) story is absolute poetry. Diley is a master of his craft, and this film is even more proof of his enormous talents! We had so many emotions running through us during the entire film (this is what a good feature length does! It moves you) - happiness, sadness, shock, fear, awe... you name it!... In our very humble opinion, this film proves to be exactly what it promised to be - real, emotional and thought provoking. Well done David, you have yet again put your money where your mouth is and You, sir, have delivered!" - Save The Sharks

"The success story of Shark Reef Marine Reserve and how a conservation project can benefit local communities is one that needs to be told far and wide. It’s also a pretty inspiring tale of how someone can achieve their goals in life if they really want to.  This is the sort of thing that Shark Week should be showing on a regular basis." - Ian Campbell (WWF)

"...the film is a personal journey into a beautiful and majestic world beneath the surface, and a self-transformation process deep inside the filmmaker’s soul.
When you take that path of telling your own story, it’s very easy to get lost in the process and end up with a big ego-trip enjoyable only to the author. Fortunately, this is not the case. David comes out as very likeable, charismatic average Joe that had the guts to get out there and explore. The first-hand tale of his learning curve, that makes you want to be right there and then with him.
Fiji is a world-class example of shark conservation, and David uses stunning cinematography, an honest voice, and the perfect music to describe not only his personal endeavor, but also that of the island, their people, and their relationship with sharks.

Like David says in his film, you can either create a story around a shark jumping out of the water with its jaws wide open, or you can tell the real story, the one that is already there. David went for the second one, and he did it right." - Jorge Cervera Hauser (Director of "Mexico Pelagico")

"Beautifully filmed throughout!  Simply a pleasure to watch!... I listened with headphones for the best sound, and I’m glad I did.  I really want to see it now in the theatre so I can get blown away by both the gorgeous visuals plus the attention you clearly gave to everything from narration, to foley, to background, to music...
I was expecting another shark film.  But this isn’t that.  Yeah, there are sharks and there is a story of fascination/love/respect for sharks, but to call this a shark film would be missing what I feel was more of a journey/transformation/reboot of someone’s life that INVOLVED sharks.  So to me this is a film that I think could stand on its own at any film festival (not simply relegated to so-called “Ocean Films.”)
Great characters.  You are most certainly the protagonist here, but Mike is at his best. Papa and Rusi (RIP) are fabulous!  And Helen is Helen (which is a compliment, since I LOVE Helen!).  But you captured everyone’s personality honestly.  No caricatures here. My only criticism is that Mike was on best behavior language-wise, as he didn’t say“Fuck” once. 
Sharks also became characters in this story, and you kept their characterization and screen presence honest.  You didn’t try to soft pedal these predators, but let them be their own character throughout.  You didn’t make any excuses or do any bullshit. You let the sharks be sharks, and that’s what we need to see and hear more of." - Rick MacPherson (Marine Conservationists & Shark Specialist)

"I watched the movie with my heart full, having been in Fiji, having stayed in the village rather than the hotel, having met all those people you show, makes the movie very personal. Thanks to the beautiful work you have done, what could be just a personal experience, has now become personal for everybody else watching it, regardless if they have been there or not.
I love how you let the Fijians speak and transfer their thoughts about their decisions in their own land. What BEQA has done is incredible, it has allowed them to see, learn and understand and make this work theirs, not infused from an higher authority. The value of the Marine Reserve, the issues between feeding and not feeding, the carbon foot print come from the people of the village, their understanding and their love for their land and ocean.
I also loved how you addressed it all: feeding, non feeding, the conversation between Mike and Ellen is priceless, finning, fishing, surviving and letting survive. I very much connected with your journey, I started and have yet to stop mine from 21 years ago, so you have my utmost admiration and respect." - Cristina Zenato (Shark Diver and Expert)

"I think it is a very good film, a great and important story that needs to be told - like you say in the film. I am no film-editing expert, but it seem to be carrying the story well. Interesting mix of facts and great visual stuff both over and under water. It is based on facts - and your dreams. Good mix. I really like it, and enjoyed watching it!" - Lill Haugen (Underwater Photographer)

"Production quality above and below the water were a top notch representation of what happens when you put good eyes behind a lens... Diley managed to tell one captivating story of a man who left his job for a few big-ass Bull sharks whilst secretly weaving the stories of the Fijian people and their bond with sharks into the mix.
The music was powerful where it needed to be, and subtle when required - and played strengths to the Fijian roots, which fed the overall hungry authenticity of the film.

Finally, the dive sequences were pieced together in an additive information format. Going through each shark species and its role within the eco-system was a personal highlight, and the GT's eating the remoras was an epic pick-up! The final dive sequence was nothing short of inspiring. Well shot, fast paced and narrated to perfection."
- Sarah Richmond (Film-Maker - Sarah Shark)

"WOW! I finally had a chance to see the online screening Of Shark And Man and want to congratulate you. Excellent job buddy! One of the things I enjoyed the most is your personal narrative and how you had the courage to embark on this wonderful project. The film brought back a lot of memories and a desire to return and dive once again with Beqa Adventure Divers and those amazing sharks. Wishing you continued success! Very best wishes always." - Michael Patrick O'Neill (Underwater Photographer)

So there you have it, it's very positive that the key elements I focused on such as story, aesthetic, sound, emotion and accessibility are all noted as being particular highlights and that the people giving this feedback really know their stuff.

If you missed part 1 of the Feedback, you can find it here.

Make sure you join the Facebook group and join in with us as we keep posting updates and of course, a load of content for you to enjoy!

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to watch the film and send me their thoughts, it is greatly appreciated!

Thursday, 2 July 2015

North Carolina Shark Attacks - Why So Many This Year?

Photo by Steve Bouser

With the news yesterday of a seventh shark attack, North Carolina is now having it's equal worst year since 1900 (tied with 2008) for shark bite incidents. The most recent victim, a 67 year old man, was bitten multiple times on the abdomen, hip, lower leg and both hands, is in a stable condition in hospital and eyewitnesses are reporting the incident to be very similar to most of the other incidents so this raises the question, why is North Carolina suffering an outbreak of attacks and what can be done to minimise the risk?

To begin with we need to look at the different kinds of incidents for which the term "shark attack" is used because not all incidents can be justifiably referred to as "attacks" and understanding each is key to establishing what might be causing these incidents. At this stage I should also point out that, whereby we need to address the issue objectively and having stated that not all incidents are "attacks," I do not subscribe to the recent campaign to ban the word "Shark Attack" from the media, firstly, I am uncomfortable with any kind of censorship, but moreover, I find the definitions given in the linked article, purposefully misleading and far too vague. What we need is accurate reporting, not censorship and although the 100 or so phd students, researchers and communications professionals are respected individuals in their fields, I am not aware of any whose area of expertise is actually shark attack. Whereas I agree that more should be done to increase media understanding of shark bites to aid more accurate reporting, I don't think this is the way to go about it.

Consider this, from Shark Uber-Mensch Samuel "Doc" Gruber from his 1988 paper "Why Do Sharks Attack Humans," Gruber states;

"...some attacks can be accepted as legitimate attempts by the shark to feed on humans."

For me, personally, if we are to look at the broad spectrum of what the media currently refers to as a "Shark Attack" upon an individual it can be defined most accurately as "a non-voluntary contact encounter between a human(s) and a shark" and this could range from a surfer having his board bumped by a shark to a swimmer being completely consumed and everything in between.

Regular readers will know how passionate I am about avoiding hyperbolic and simplistic reports about these incidents using lazy terminology in place of detailed analysis, I have stated here, in articles and interviews many times that each incident is dependent upon so many variables that the only way to increase understanding of these incidents is to look at every detail available to assess the incident fully. The existence of human objective input into these details is not only problematic in the media, it also leads to inconsistencies in the existing databases where some attacks are not included due to being classed as "provoked," most commonly due to the victim's activity prior to the attack, usually spearfishing.

For the purposes of accurate detailed analysis, I would like to see a "Shark/Human Incident" database which includes all non-voluntary contact encounters between sharks and humans and splits them up into the following categories;

Non-Injurious (including attacks on boats)

In each incident report, as much detail as possible would be included and where possible, a viable explanation given for the attack, on the understanding that it is impossible to always be certain on what a shark's motivation can be.

As a caveat to the above, it must be noted that, as shark attacks are so infrequent, it is impossible to collect enough reliable data to assess risks in relation to potential future incidents or, put more simply, it is impossible to create a model which will predict when a shark bite on a human will occur. Also, shark attacks are defined by many different variables from the species involved, to the victim, the victim's activity at the time of the attack, the location and various environmental factors. It is inaccurate and misleading to compartmentalise shark attacks into easily digested (pardon the pun) soundbites.

With regards to North Carolina, let's have a look at its history with shark attacks.

If we look at the current spate of attacks first:

June 11th - 13 year old received minor bites to her feet and two bites to her Body Board

June 14th - 12 year old Kirsten Yow receives serious multiple bites to her arm and leg with her hand severed. Arm is later amputated below the elbow

June 14th - 16 year old Hunter Treschl receives serious multiple bites losing his let arm above the elbow

June 24th - 8 year old boy suffers minor injuries from a bite which appears to be from a small shark at Surf City

June 26th - 47 year old man bitten on the back at Avon in Hatteras Island

June 27th - 18 year old man suffers multiple serious bites to his right calf, buttocks and both hands at Waves, also Hatteras Island

July 1st - 68 year old man receives multiple bites to abdomen, hip, lower leg and both hands at Ocracoke Island

Seven attacks in nineteen days in such a condensed geographic area is certainly a rare occurrence but it's not unprecedented. Contrary to a statement from one of the main voices behind the "ban the phrase 'shark attacks' campaign," incidents of shark bite on the same or consecutive days have actually happened multiple times around the world, including in North Carolina, prior to the events this year.

In 2001 (one fatality), 2008 and 2011 North Carolina experienced multiple attacks days and in 1995, 2000, 2004 and 2007 there were incidents on consecutive days, 1995 actually saw three attacks in 4 days.

If we look at the seven incidents so far this year, five have been confirmed as multiple bites which points towards a pronounce determination on the part of the shark, contrary to the notion that all "shark bites are a result of mistaken identity" or "curiosity," these multiple bite incidents can be more accurately described as being motivated by a degree of determination and possibly even predation. That's not to say however, that the sharks involved in these attacks are swimming around looking for people to eat, rather the unfortunate victims have encountered sharks in a natural predatory state.

Historical Statistics:

  • There have been 95 unprovoked attacks in North Carolina waters with 11 of those fatal.
  •  On average there is a fatality every 10.4 years with the most number of fatalities in a single year being two, this has happened only once (1905) since 1900.
  • The last fatality in North Carolina was the 2008 attack on Richard Snead although there is doubt whether the injuries he sustained were the cause of his death, or came after he drowned. If we place this attack as "unconfirmed," the last fatality prior to Snead came in 2001, the victim Sergi Zaloukaev.
  • Since 2000, North Carolina has seen 55 shark incidents, an average of 3.6 each year
It is also interesting that of the 95 unprovoked attacks in NC waters, 64 (67.3%) occurred in the months of June, July and August.

This can be explained firstly, by there being more people in the water due to hotter weather and also, people staying in the water for longer due to increased sea temperature. More people in the water for longer means more people exposed to sharks. The average sea temperature from early June to late August is 83.4 degrees Fahrenheit or in "real money," 28.5 degrees Celsius.

Another factor to consider is the migration and seasonal aggregation patterns of prey animals. During the warm Summer months, bait fish and other larger marine creatures move along the coastline, travelling in large numbers close to shore to try to evade predators in deeper water. This in turn attracts sharks which follow the fish into shallower water and thus, in closer proximity to bathers. Large numbers of prey means larger numbers of sharks close to shore and unfortunately, as we have seen in North Carolina this year and Florida every year, occasionally humans are getting in the way of these sharks, sharks which are in the shallows, potentially motivated by predation.

Bull Shark Photo: Andy Murch

Blacktip Shark Photo: Alexander Safonov

The most likely culprits in these attacks are the Bull Shark and Blacktip Shark. In the incidents where there have been multiple bites, I'm almost certain the attacks were carried out by Bulls. Bull Shark attacks are characterised by a propensity to bite a victim more than once, plus, their size and power often leads to serious injury and loss of limb in attacks where they are the culprit.

Blacktips are not a species often involved in shark bite incidents however they have, and do, occasionally bite people although, unlike the Bull Shark, are less likely to mount a sustained attack on a human.

Both species are regularly encountered in North Carolina waters and both will enter the shallows whilst following prey, so for me, these would be the two species most likely involved in incidents such as these in this part of the world. North Carolina is also home to Tiger Sharks, Great White, Dusky, Spinner and the most commonly encountered species there, Sandbar sharks, however, although all have historically been involved in shark bite incidents, I would be less inclined to blame any of these species above the two detailed above.

It's important to recognise a few salient points, firstly, these sharks were off these same beaches last year, the year before, the year before and so on and so on, although shark attacks in the United States have shown an upwards curve in numbers over the last 60 years, this is due solely to there being more people in the water. I've seen claims that people feeding sharks or fishing from the pier has caused the attacks but there is simply no evidence for that. Could warmer than usual water temperatures play a part? Possibly but only because it is having an effect on the migrations and seasonal aggregations of the shark's prey. Sharks go where the food is and right now, the food is close to shore off popular bathing beaches.

There will be more shark bites off America's east coast this year, Florida is unusually quiet at the moment but as the Summer gets hotter and the sea gets warmer, more people are going to be in a position where they may just get in the way of a shark following its natural prey so what can you do to minimise your risk of being bitten?

Firstly, stay out of the water, you won't get bitten by a shark on the beach! If you do however want to go into the sea and let's be honest, I don't blame you, avoid if possible, areas where the water is murky, where people are fishing, avoid swimming near the mouths of inlets or estuaries and if you can, speak to local fishermen, like sharks, they follow the fish and if the fish are in big numbers, there will be sharks there.

Most importantly though, use your brain, you know there have been incidents in North Carolina so if you must swim in those areas, realise it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of both yourself and your family, not the sharks'. Sharks do what sharks do and when you make the choice to swim in areas where you know there is shark activity, you must accept you are taking a risk, it's a small risk of course, but the responsibility is on you.

Try to be shark smart, the best people to talk to about the shark activity in your area are the people who use the beach all day every day, lifeguards and fishermen. If you're not sure whether you should be swimming somewhere, don't be afraid to ask!

Finally, don't panic, shark populations aren't exploding in numbers (quite the opposite) and moving closer to shore to eat people. Although this is a bad year for shark bites in North Carolina, it is unusual and certainly not the norm. Statistical anomalies in areas where shark bites occur, or if you want a simpler description, spikes in shark bite activity where a year's number of incidents exceeds a statistical pattern, however, are not that out of the ordinary. It happens, many places around the world have experienced a flurry of incidents followed by years, sometimes decades without a single bite.

Be safe!

Edit: Case in point regarding misleading and factually inaccurate public statements can be found in this article

"It's commonly accepted that sharks aren't intentionally trying to bite humans, either: "Scientists believe that most shark bites are a case of mistaken identity. From below, a surfer in a black rubber wetsuit looks a great deal like a seal, for example," explains David Shiffman, a PhD candidate at the University of Miami's Abess Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy."
This is quantifiably incorrect. None of the victims were surfing, none were wearing wetsuits (which incidentally are made from neoprene, not "rubber") and although some attacks throughout history have been a result of "mistaken identity," it's a tiny proportion and almost always incidents involving Great White Sharks. The notion of "mistaken identity" is misleading because it implies over 400 million years of evolution, sharks are unable to differentiate humans from their natural prey items.

None of these attacks provide any evidence that "mistaken identity" can be used as a reason, especially in the five incidents where the victim sustained multiple bites.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Radio Interview Wednesday July 1st And OSAM FB Page Now Live

Just a bit of news to share, I will be on WGN Radio in Chicago tomorrow (Weds 1st July) doing an interview about Of Shark and Man and also the recent shark attacks in North Carolina. The interview goes out at 3:35am local time, 9:35am UK time and I'm looking forward to it. It's nice to be approached for stuff like this.

Also, the official Of Shark and Man Facebook page is now live along with the official Twitter account so be cool and give both a like/follow. The From the Office... page will still be very much live and used as often as it is now, it's just that the OSAM page will focus solely on the film, extra content etc and all relevant subject matter and it will get that stuff first so if you want to keep up to speed it's good to climb aboard on that for sure!

The website is coming soon and that means the trailer will go live very soon also!

Have a listen to the interview if you can, if you can't I'll post up the link if they put it online and as always, keen to hear your thoughts on everything!

Friday, 26 June 2015

More Feedback For Of Shark And Man

A couple of weeks ago I sent out the watermarked screener for Of Shark and Man to a few carefully selected people and the first bits of feedback are coming in so thought I'd share bits of that feedback here and in upcoming blog posts. The people the film went out to are incredibly busy so it's taking a while for everyone to get a chance to sit down properly with the film so there's still plenty to come.

"Excuse my language, but HOLY F*@%. The last dive scene in the upcoming Of Shark and Man is the best 10 minutes of shark film I have ever seen... I'm sitting in my living room in my underwear and my heart is beating out of my chest. What a ride!...

The shark feeding discussion is fascinating and the back and forth between Mike and Helen is really well done. Not sure if anyone has done this as well as you have.”

The section on $ and diving is fantastic. It's probably the best explanation of the value of shark diving I've seen. The walkabout dive piece is mind blowing. It's the best part of the film, and left me breathless.” Angelo Villagomez (Shark Defenders)

"David, this film is extraordinary. It hits every single point that needs to be addressed when it comes to sharks, ecotourism, shark diving; and our responsibilities the animals, local communities and conservation in general. It is beautifully shot and edited. Your story telling in sharing your journey is beautifully done. I am so inspired and impressed, this is so needed in our shark world.

I cannot say enough about this film. You have done an exceptional job. You managed to cover so much, while keeping it interesting and shot beautifully!!

I have not been to Fiji, but seeing all the work they are doing and have worked so hard to implement I am humbled and have so much respect for everyone involved there. Simply beautiful..."
Amanda Cotton (Photographer)

I watched it last night- you did a wonderful job with it! You managed to weave together such lovely footage, story-telling, and critical conservation messages without any of the unnecessary fluff or "preachiness" found in like-minded documentaries. 

It actually brought tears to my eyes to see all that I find special about BAD and SRMR to be captured on screen, especially with the now iconic shots of Rusi. 

I truly can't wait until you release it and I can share it with my family and friends to try and give them some insight into my life from the last four years and what exactly it is that makes me love BAD and SRMR so damn much! Lindsay Graff (Shark Biologist/Conservationist)

"...thanks again for sharing your film with us! It is amazing. I really like the positive angle, the fact that you show a solution how a reef can be restored. I like that you show also the opponents of shark feeding. And it's nice to get to know you better. It's really a personal film."  Lisa Deventer (Ocean Film Festival)

"Underwater footage at its best, three stories all worth being told, and brought to the audience in a well balanced way... It is a story about believing and about perseverance and taking no ‘no’s’ for an answer.
David is not afraid to address the issues at hand: from shark finning, shark feeding to attract them during the dive trips, ecotourism to carbon emission, he gives points to ponder by giving information without stressing a particular point of view.
All in all 4 weeks in Fiji and 4 years of editing resulted in a beautiful movie with honest and true content." Marjo Boertien (Ocean Conservation)

More feedback is on its way so I will post it when it comes through but again, everything is overwhelmingly positive!

For some reason Blogger is not letting me reply to comments! I'm not ignoring you I promise! In answer to the question from people about how they can get to see the film themselves, there will be a way to do that in the coming weeks so keep your eyes peeled for an announcement on here and the Facebook group!

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Terribly Sad News From Fiji - Rusiate Balenagasau 1960 - 2015

Rusi and I in 2011

I was saddened to see news from Mike today that the famous "man in the yellow hood," Rusi, chief Shark Feeder at B.A.D and true champion of shark conservation in Fiji has passed away at the age of 55.

Anyone who has dived with B.A.D will be familiar with Rusi, not only was he a softly spoken, kind and decent man, he also had a rare connection to the sharks he had spent thousands of hours with. They were very much "his" sharks, he loved them in a rare, genuine and heartfelt way and was a passionate protector and champion for their conservation.

I can't say I knew Rusi well but I did have the honour of spending almost every day of my month in Fiji with him, observing, learning from and being inspired by him and it truly was an honour, the man was a colossus in the shark diving world. Nowadays the word "legend" is so overused it has lost its true meaning but ask anyone who knows shark diving, Rusi genuinely was one of the few who deserved the tag of "legend."

It's not for me to eulogise the man's life, that is for the people who knew him best but I am immensely proud to have spent time with him, to have dived with him and to have had him be such a big part of "Of Shark and Man," but I think the thing I am proudest of, is that in a journey which changed my life forever, in which I achieved one of my greatest ambitions, he was a key part in that and if it weren't for Rusi's understanding of sharks and his immense experience, I would not have been given that chance. Vinaka Rusi.

My heart goes out to his family, to Mike and to everyone at Beqa Adventure Divers as they come to terms with the loss of a truly irreplaceable friend and giant of Fijian Shark Conservation.

"They are like dogs to me, you know, when you've got dogs in your home, you really love the dogs, that's the same thing, I love my sharks."

Rusi really did love his sharks.

Rusiate Balenagasau 1960 - 2015

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Angel Sharks In Gran Canaria - A Short Film

It's always nice to have a little time to work on a project just for fun, it's been a while since the last one, a short film made with footage I shot in the Farne Islands with Seals so, seeing as I had some time yesterday and the evening before where I was uploading a ton of stuff, I thought I'd finally put something together from my time in Gran Canaria.

It was a pretty quick job, basic edit, a fairly straightforward grade and a sound track ("Sunset" by The XX) but I thin it works quite well and I rather like it.

The Angel Shark is possibly the world's rarest shark so I felt incredibly lucky to see not one but three in my time in Gran Canaria and I want to thank Fernando and Manuela especially for getting me out there to have this wonderful experience. They run a small grassroots NGO called Alianza Tiburones Canarias which is dedicated to education and inspiration of the people on all the Canary Islands as to the importance of sharks and shark conservation and they really do deserve the support of anyone with an interest in sharks.

So here it is! As always, comments and feedback are warmly welcomed!

In Search of Angels - 11 Days in Gran Canaria from Scarlet View Media on Vimeo.

 Finally, on the subject of welcoming comments, just a quick point on that.

I always welcome comments, I love when people want to get involved here and even when they may be contrary to points I raise or are somewhat barbed, I still enjoy hearing from you. I also understand  the occasional need for anonymity and I publish 99% of the comments I receive but I will have to reconsider what I publish in regards to anonymous comments based on a frankly ridiculous comment I received on the last blog. Although I went to the effort to compose a polite response to what was essentially, a nonsensical rant, I decided that the original comment was so absurd I'd be better served just deleting it and not allowing it to ruin what was a positive piece.

With all that in mind, again, please, if you can, put your name on your comments if you do want to address things which may bother you. Criticism is not a bad thing and I welcome that also but I don't really have the inclination to allow the blog to become a place to push strange agendas or bizarre grudges however, for more benign comments, anonymity is still fine if that's what you'd prefer.

If you do want to have a little rant anonymously, you can of course do that, but don't be upset if it doesn't get published.

Enjoy the film and I hope you have a brilliant bank holiday to all you UK readers!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Your Chance To Get Cool Stuff And Help Release Of Shark And Man Is Coming!

I figured now is as good a time as any for an update on Of Shark and Man!

It's been a bit of a whirlwind the last couple of weeks, after Gran Canaria I had a lot of catching up to do and also returned home with thoughts on how to tighten up the edit of the film and make a few corrections so I've been working hard on that and now only have to slot in the updated Sound Design. The changes aren't massive but I have changed some clips and the new v.2 of the film is, certainly to me anyway, an even better film!

I've also been working closely with the wonderful people at EDNA Interactive to finalise the strategy we have for promoting the film upon its release. That means creating content, design work and most importantly, giving you the viewer, the absolute highest value I can. I have always been passionate about my audience investing themselves in to my work and feeling that they are getting a genuine return on that, films like this need support and that support is something I think should be rewarded.

I've been meeting with magazines, designers, manufacturers and supporters, discussing the best ways to achieve this and I am so excited that the people who are investing their expertise, time, product and above all else, their friendship into this project are all the people I had on my wish list because they're just so damn good at what they do.

With all that in mind, the next big milestone is the launch of the official website and social media platforms where you can finally start getting your hands on the kind of content you've been so patiently waiting for and also, start kitting yourself out with some truly incredible products, one off memorabilia items and also, maybe, just maybe, one hell of an opportunity to tell your own shark story.

So, here's the long and short of it, "Of Shark and Man," needs to get out there and that doesn't happen with the odd post on Facebook, it happens with a proper plan, a marketing and promotional strategy, screenings and attending events in person to get the message out there that this is the film that so many of you and your peers and friends have been saying for years you've wished you could see. If this film achieves its goal and gets out to a wide audience, it means more will be made which means that for everyone who's ever signed petitions or complained against what they see as low value and irresponsible shark based TV and film, you now have a chance to actually have an impact in getting what you say you want.

Here's a list of some of the things I need to cover costs of to realistically give me a solid shot at achieving all the above:

Marketing Campaign
Festival and Private Screenings
Legal Documentation and Insurance
Promotional Merchandise
Press Kit Materials
Licensing of Footage
Website Hosting Fees
Blu-Rays and Electronic copies of the film for Festivals

Of course it would be nice to make the film open access and free to everyone but in the real world it's just not possible. I've done that with all my other films and lost considerable amounts of money doing so in order to give people productions which, although free to view, are still of the highest quality. It's just not feasible to do that with Of Shark and Man and as such, I have to be very careful with having complete control over any existing copies of the film so it doesn't end up as a torrent online.

With all that being said, I have been working really hard to come up with a way to involve you in everything, give you opportunities to get your hands on some amazing, and I mean amazing stuff, including signed memorabilia, one off pieces of artwork, dive gear (yes, actual top of the range dive gear), invitations to screenings, extremely limited opportunities and also possibly the most incredible raffle prize I can think of for anyone who loves sharks. Not only that, but also the opportunity for you to see the film, in full in the comfort of your own home.

The way I will be doing all the above is by running a Crowdfund campaign, most likely through Indiegogo to raise the money needed to get everything off the ground. I ran one previously when I started this whole thing so this means all those who contributed to that will receive their stuff when this new one launches so that's pretty exciting too!

I already have two major dive manufacturers who make top of the range products who are putting forward some of their best gear for perks, not little stuff either, I'm talking products worth between £250-£1500! There is also a third dive company potentially joining  so if you're in need of dive gear this year and you only want the best quality and value for your money, maybe hold on a couple of weeks!

Other perks will range from smaller cost stuff like stickers and signed posters, through to T-Shirts, tickets to screenings and bespoke, one off pieces of artwork (believe me, these in particular will be really, really cool if I can confirm them). There will also be more personal stuff like Skype video calls so you can get any answers to any questions you have, advice or just talk about the weather or anything else you like with me, tonnes of stuff, all of which is designed to give you the best value possible for your donation.

In conjunction with the perks you get per donation, there are also going to be raffle prizes, the bigger the donation, the bigger the prize with one super mega prize I'm hoping to confirm in the next week which really is something special!

So, keep your eyes peeled, join this Facebook group to get up to date news and maybe start putting away some pennies. This will launch soon and will be something very awesome I can assure you!

In addition to that, if you're thinking of going to the 40Fathoms Film Festival in Hermanus, South Africa on June 5th, 6th and 7th, you'll get a chance to see three of my films, "A Ray of Light," "A Ray of Light II," and "Sea Dogs" which is pretty cool. They're also showing Mexico Pelagico I believe and that is well worth your time too!


Wednesday, 6 May 2015

11 Days in Gran Canaria - Angel Sharks and The Public Reaction To Of Shark And Man!

Not bad for a first screening of the Director's Cut!

So, I'm back in the cold and wet of the UK after a brilliant eleven days in Gran Canaria (including a day trip to Tenerife) where I met wonderful people, did some very cool dives, got a bit of a tan, ate some massive steaks, saw Of Shark and Man on the big screen for the first time with a public audience and even walked away with two awards!

Firstly Gran Canaria is great, the weather was hot, there is actually life underwater and the people I met were just amazing. I was a guest of Fernando and Manuela who run Alianza Tiburones Canarias, a small, grassroots conservation NGO which works to educate and inspire the people of the Canary Islands about sharks in their waters, in particular the Angel Shark.

The hospitality I received was second to none and I cannot speak highly enough of them, they are passionate, informed and ambitious and these are three things vital to running successful campaigns and above anything, they're really, really nice people!

I had been invited over as a guest for their annual film festival,focusing on marine life and films about the ocean for which they were incredibly keen to have Of Shark and Man screened. It was also a chance for me to do some diving and try to get some footage of at least one Angel Shark so I couldn't say no and off I went.

My day started at 3am for my 8am flight, I landed in Gran Canaria just past midday, met up with Fernando and Manuela along with David from EDNA and was immediately whisked off to a live radio interview, in Spanish to talk about the film and the festival! It was then off to the venue to discuss the structure of everything and meet a few of the volunteers who were (as was the case with everyone I met) really lovely people, I even had my own translator who was a real help, very kind and with whom, along with her boyfriend Christian, Dave and I went out for something to eat later and discuss all things shark.

Photo by Kepa Garmendia

So, to the festival itself!

Photo by Kepa Garmendia

 Photo by Kepa Garmendia

There were, if I remember correctly, sixteen films spread out over two days, two feature length films (including OSAM), a few animations which were great, one of which, "The Health of Our Oceans" had a super cool credits sequence at the end at which both Dave and I were salivating it was that good. Most of the films were shorts, split between pros and amateurs even including first time film-makers (which I love), most of the films had little to no narrative and topics varied from sharks to plastic pollution, to location pieces and everything in between. Friday's highlight for me and most of the audience was without question a short film by Alberto Ramos Rodriguez called "Utopia" which was both surreal and at times ingenious, I loved the fact it thought way outside the box. The audience seemed in agreement that the other highlights included the beautifully shot "Secretos de Macronesia" by Rafa Herrero Massieu, "The Azores in 5K" by Nuno Sa and Lee Burghard's "A Fight for Survival."

Saturday saw the screening of "Of Shark and Man," and to be honest, I was quite nervous, there was a lot of expectation and I was worried about the duration of the film as it is all in English and would play out in front of a majority Spanish/German audience. At 104 minutes with an enormous amount of content, I had visions of an audience gradually sneaking out to go to the bar during the film leaving only David and I in the theatre...

Photo by Kepa Garmendia

With that being said, it came as a very happy surprise that throughout the film, not one person left, even to go to the loo, people reacted to the film, there were laughs, the odd "woah" and audience members exchanging nods and smiles of approval with each other. When the film came to a close, the applause started immediately as the credits rolled and lasted almost the entire duration, leaving me, having been invited up on stage, rather embarrassed by it all. I don't really take public displays of praise too well when I'm there in front of a room of people!

What was particularly encouraging was the Q&A session, people were picking out parts of the film and quoting bits back to me, asking intelligent questions about everything and most importantly telling me what they liked and how they felt when they watched the film which isn't really the norm in a Q&A. Not only that but there was a genuine enthusiasm for not only the three stories in the film but the technical aspects of the Cinematography and Sound Design.

What became apparent over the remainder of the evening was not just that people liked the film, but that it awoke something in them, either a reminder of the kind of films that inspired their love of the oceans originally, or the desire to perhaps rethink their own opinions of things, discuss the incredible story of Shark Reef and also to readdress how they saw the portrayal of sharks in the media. What people really seemed to love is that the film does not claim to be or have a message, it just does what it does and encourages the viewer to think throughout and as such, amazingly for a foreign language audience, they felt the film's length was perfect as it passed by quickly.

They also mentioned it had an approachability in that instead of making breathy statements or trying to push ideas on the viewer, it informs by simply telling a story through one man's eyes and also, the people in the film itself were extremely popular because again, no caricatures or considered personas, just honest, decent people speaking from the heart.

To go in thinking I'd see people quietly sneaking out to the bar and instead to have more than one person tell me after the screening that "Of Shark and Man" was "the best shark film I have ever seen" (honestly, we have it on camera) is something I will never forget.

See what an audience mamber, Marjo, had to say about the film here.

Photo by Kepa Garmendia

Even saying all that, when I found out there would be awards presented, I didn't expect to win one, I thought maybe I'd get a small one for taking part and making the effort to attend the event but that's it, so it all came as a bit of a surprise that OSAM was chosen as the "Best Film" by both the City of Aguimes and most importantly of all, unanimously apparently, by the audience.

Photo by Kepa Garmendia

So after the evenings wonderful event and a celebratory meal in a cave (ginormous steak obviously) the focus turned to diving and trying to get some shots of what is likely the world's rarest shark, the Angel Shark.

Photo by Yuneysa Garcia Flores

The diving in Gran Canaria is actually really good, I've become accustomed to the Mediterranean in the last few years and there is so much more life around the Canary Islands, the water was a mild 19 degrees, the viz pretty good and on most of the dives we'd see some big shoals of fish which I always enjoy filming.

Photo by Yuneysa Garcia Flores
The dives felt wilder than in the Med and I like that, there was always something to see but what made the dives so special were the people I dived with. Mareike from Diving Centre Nautico with some additional RIB support from Jerry at Canary Diving, Kepa, Yuneysa (who took the two shots above), Felipe, Eugenio and of course, Fernando and Manuela.

Kepa and Manuela

Mareike and I

It took a few days but I saw my first Angel Shark (two actually) on a night dive at a place called Sardina but it was a couple of days later at El Cabron where I really got to have a proper encounter with a nice sized female we found towards the end of our dive. They may not be one of the big, charismatic species but it was so exciting to see one because they are so very rare and this particular shark really co-operated for the camera which is of course, always appreciated!

 Photo by David Diley

 Photo by David Diley

 Photo by Fernando Reis

 Mareike with the Angel Shark - Photo by David Diley

Fernando with the Angel Shark - Photo by David Diley

So, Gran Canaria was brilliant, I loved it! In the week I also did a press conference and an interview with VIVA Magazine alongside filming some more stuff for the Making Of features we will be releasing on the official website. There will also be a short film of some underwater footage coming up so keep an eye out for that.

I was also invited to the University of Las Palmas to give a talk about Shark Feeding and the Shark Reef story which was really cool as the students seemed really enthusiastic about it and asked some brilliant questions. It's nice to be a part of getting this story out to a wide audience.

I want to thank everyone I met for their hospitality, warmth and most importantly, their friendship. Huge thanks to the City of Aguimes for putting me up in the beautiful Casa Aldaba, which, if you ever plan to visit there, I strongly recommend, I loved it, it's a gorgeous little house in a gorgeous, quiet little town.

I'm feeling ever more confident about Of Shark and Man, it won over an informed audience of people in a foreign country for whom English is not a first, or often second, language and people didn't only like it, they loved it!

Lots of good stuff is coming your way so keep your eyes peeled, this journey is about to get very interesting!