Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Goodbye 2011, here is your school report.

So, that's 2011 done with and what a year! It will always be the year I first truly felt my life was going in the right direction and I was doing the thing I have always wanted. It would be fair to say that of my thirty-two years, 2011 was the best.

2011 was also a pretty good year for sharks, it was very much the year of the Shark Sanctuary with Tokelau, Guam and The Marshall Islands making notable strides forward. The latter was something about which I felt a degree of extra happiness as it transpired that the two testimonials I wrote in support of the legislation were the ones chosen to support the bill during the government hearings. It was a proud moment to feel I had contributed (albeit in only a small way) to something so positive. The efforts from people like Stefanie Brendl, Pew and organisations like CORAL and Shark Savers however, are the ones which deserve genuine admiration, their tireless hard work, often beset by frustration and disappointments, is what makes these positive changes happen, they and the political representatives who put these legislations in place, were the true shark heroes of 2011.

On a lesser scale, we also saw the California Shark Fin Ban and the steps to achieve similar in Canada for which Wild Aid should be commended, you might not be aware they were responsible but groups like Wild Aid and the people behind the scenes there rarely get the credit they deserve.

There were some naughty sharks in 2011 and in response some rather silly articles but 2011 was a year that reminded anyone with even a modicum of sense that yes, shark attacks do exist. 

As usual, there was quite a lot of crap masquerading as "shark conservation" or just general shark pseudo science, Shark Week 2011 was quite possibly the worst ever, special mention going to its ultimate nadir, the weeping sore on the anus of lowest common denominator shark programming that was "How Sharks Hunt" and there was the discovery and subsequent mini revival of the semi-cult classic (?!) "Tintorera!" which was the stand out addition of 2011 to the ever growing list of films which no matter how bad they are are still better than Titanic.

Mike has what is thus far, the definitive list of what he (and a fair few others) deem to have been the worst of 2011 and it's certainly hit its target judging by the outrage it has caused. Read it and make up your own mind, you may not agree with some or even all of it but try to avoid the "well what has he ever done for sharks" argument. Yes, Mike is a personal friend and somebody for whom I have no shortage of admiration and as he says, his opinions are just that, his opinions and there is no harm in disagreeing with them (if you indeed do disagree) and discussing your point of view directly with the man himself but entering into a pissing contest about "who's done the most for sharks" is pointless because I can tell you now, you will lose. 

In typical fashion, his post about good things in 2011 hasn't received the same level of interest or discussion so have a read of that too, I'd like to add a couple of things I have really liked in 2011 too, the immensely likable Sarah Shark and her extremely talented team and the creative, cool and very worthy White Mike.

As for me, well I managed to do what I have always wanted and that is become a professional film-maker working with sharks which was nice. Actually, it was a bit more than nice, it was fucking amazing. Sorry for the blue language but that's really the only way it can be described. I have met some of the planet's greatest people this year, kindness, enthusiasm, passion and joy have been thrust upon me, I did the world's greatest shark dive with the world's biggest Bull Sharks more than forty times with one of, if not the best dive crew in the world who entrusted in me the respect to get closer to these sharks than pretty much any non-established pro has ever been. For twenty-eight days I felt like one of a team which has no equal and for that I will be indebted to them until I draw my final breath. To quote Toobi, "BAD Boyz for life."

I met and made a film with Brad Robertson and Bea Esparza who are now like family to me, two people who are the real conservationists, people who sacrifice what many of us deem to be necessities (like money) because they believe in the impossible becoming possible and the simple fact that they do what so many claim to do but so few actually do, they care.

I was actually approached to provide the film accompaniment to something quite spectacular, involving people who are also quite spectacular and when this amazing thing hopefully happens, it will be my two short films you see telling the world. That is very humbling.

The trailer for Behind Blue Glass has been viewed on various platforms over seven thousand times in more than thirty-five countries around the world and the film was even highlighted in a Spanish TV show seen by more than two million people before even being released, which incidentally, will happen in the next few weeks :)

This very blog attracted more than 40,000 individual people to these pages to read whatever it was I felt was worth saying at the time.

So that was 2011 diluted in to a short blog post with lots of links. If I've missed anything you think I should have included, pop it in a comment for me. It really was the best year of my life so far but here's hoping 2012 is even better!

Happy New Year.

My profiles: Vimeo Blogger


Vee said...

This is the kind of overview I prefer : stating your views in a polite manner. ;-) But hé, you (and Mike) know I don't agree on the tone he uses. Wishing you lots of success in 2012 with "Behind Blue Glass" and all other projects.

OfficetoOcean said...

Thank you Vee! Indeed and there is nothing wrong with disagreeing, it's often the pre-cursor to change and the world would be boring if we all agreed on everything! :)

The very same to you, happy New Year!

DaShark said...

OK David - because of all the jolliness and because we want you to start 2012 in a positive way:

We all miss you - there I said it!

OfficetoOcean said...

Ha! I knew it! :D

Thank you Mike, of course, the feeling is very mutual and as soon as I can, I'll be back :)

Anonymous said...

Mate, well done... so happy to see what you've achieved. Tim P

OfficetoOcean said...

Thanks mate, it really means a lot to me that :)