Archive for April, 2006

Donsol Philippines – Whale Shark Capitol

Posted in travel, video with tags , , , , on April 15, 2006 by shawnheinrichs

Donsol is a quiet fishing village in the Sorsogon province of the Philippines. In 1998 whale sharks were discovered feeding in the plankton rich waters along the cost of this village. Since that time, it’s reputation has to spread far and wide, bringing snorkelers from all over the globe to swim with the gentle giants.

Whale sharks gather here in such numbers it is hard to fathom. It is estimated that as many as one thousand whale sharks maybe present during the peak of the season. Food, location and temperature all play a role in creating ideal conditions for the sharks. During the high season from December through May, encounters with whale sharks are all but guaranteed.

Conditions are challenging with often 3-4 meters of visibility (sometimes less). This is a snorkeling only location as one must jump in and out of the native crafts dozens of times in pursuit of whale sharks. Encounters are brief but can be very close and personal. Shooting video and taking photos is a daunting task as you have to enter the water with cam running and hope to get to the right spot to get the shot. If you are lucky, you may stumble on a shark in “relatively” clear water (4-5 meters visibility).

We spent 3 days during the full moon in April in search of whale shark encounters. In these three days we enjoyed over 45 encounters with at least 30 sharks. The good news about the full moon is that the numbers of encounters increase, the bad news is the visibility can be quite poor. April also tends to be peak viewing season. The sharks are present all year but the rain and wind in the “off” season make surface spotting all but impossible. Successful spotting requires sun (to locate the dark shadow on the surface) and low wind (to remove surface chop the breaks up the shadow).

WIth so many tourists and money to be made for the locals, Donsol’s popularity is rapidly increasing.That being said, during peak viewing season it was still surprisingly quiet. The good news for the sharks is that increased tourist dollars means more chance for the sharks survival. The Philippines have been hunting and exporting whale sharks for years. In Donsol They are worth more alive than dead. Boats full of tourists certainly interfere with and annoy the whale sharks, however it is the only thing preventing their slaughter by poor fishermen. We were happy to contribute our US dollars to this cause.

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Misool Eco Resort

Posted in conservation, production on April 9, 2006 by shawnheinrichs

Blue Sphere Media has been engaged by Misool Eco Resort to create professional DVD and trade show content showcasing the world class dive sites and stunning island scenery of the resort. These materials will be used to promote the resort to divers across the globe and as an essential component of the investment collateral.

Misool Eco Resort is currently in the early stages of construction. Rounded by Andy Miners, the resort will cater to serious divers and casual divers alike. With five star facilities and house reefs second to none on the planet, the resort will be a must visit for any diver willing to make the trek.

Misool Eco Resort is located in Raja Ampat, west of Papua amidst what are considered some the most remote and unspoiled reef systems in the world. The operation is intensely conservation focused. The objective of the resort is to create a sustainable operation that contributes to the environmental and economic well being of the region for years to come.

Phase one of this project was to create a short trade show video and handout DVD using existing footage. This work was completed over a period of four weeks. The materials were a hit and served to generate substantial customer and investor interest in the resort.

Phase two includes assistance with the identification of possible investors and communication to investors of the resorts value proposition and investment appeal.

Phase three kicks off in late 2006 with full onsite video and photo shoot featuring primary dive sties, land locations and the future sites of resort facilities. These materials will form the basis of a professional resort promotional DVD.