Archive for south africa

SEAL Sardine Run

Posted in production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 1, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

This June we began work on a film about the Sardine Run. Incredible numbers of dolphins, sharks, cape gannets and whales converge on the Wild Coast during the Sardine Run. Ready to great them are a select group of people who have planned their lives around this extraordinary event. This is a story about the Sardine Run and how it has shaped the lives of both the marine creatures that depend upon it for their survival and the people who can’t escape its call.

The target audience for this film is wildlife enthusiasts, dive tourists, eco tourists, adventure travelers. For this audience we intend to offer a new perspective on the Sardine Run, where viewers become part of the chase and are drawn into the lives of the people who have committed themselves to the Run. Viewers will be captivated by heart pounding action and mesmerized by stunning footage of diving gannets, charging whales and dolphins, swirling baitballs and hunting sharks.  At the same time they will discover how the pioneering work of certain individuals have made the Sardine Run accessible to the common man, that the Sardine Run is so much more than baitballs, and that once it gets in your blood, you can never escape its pull!

Blue Sphere Media teamed up with Sea-Air-Land Expeditions (SEAL) in 2009 to film this documentary, with the goal to capture the essence of the Sardine Run  through the eyes of SEAL, their crew and guests. With more filming to do in 2010 to complete the documentary, we created a short musical piece of 2009’s adventures, a film that captured the motion, excitement and incredible energy of the Sardine Run!

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Wavescapes South Africa – Film Festival

Posted in conservation, news, production, video with tags , , , , , , on December 14, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

After a successful premier at that Durban Wavescape Surf Festival in July, Shark Angels will make a second showing at the Cape Town festival in December.

32 years after Jaws™ showed a defenseless woman being dragged underwater and devoured by an insatiable monster, three women have come together to debunk that fictitious image.

Join Julie Andersen, director of Shark Savers, Alison Kock, marine biologist for Save our Seas, and Kim McCoy, Executive Director of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, on their mission to get as close to as many large predators as possible in the most shark-inhabited waters of the Caribbean aboard Jim Abernethy’s vessel, the Shear Water. Rob Stewart, director of the award winning documentary Sharkwater, teams up with the threesome as they intentionally surround themselves with what are considered some of the largest, most dangerous sharks in the world.

All this to prove that society has been fed mistruths about sharks, which are actually amazing creatures that are being ruthlessly chased toward extinction. They represent the new generation of shark conservationists — cool, capable, educated and young — and have brought their organizations together for the first time to combat the myths about sharks, expose the truth and continue the grass roots movement begun by Sharkwater.

The shocking results were captured in high definition video and in still photos. The production will be released as a short documentary to broadcast, print and online media outlets around the world. Shawn Heinrichs of Blue Sphere Media, an underwater & conservation filmmaker, is producing, directing and lead underwater cinematographer on the film. World-famous photographer Eric Cheng served as still photographer and cinematographer. Cheng, the publisher and editor of Wetpixel.com and Wetpixel Quarterly Magazine, is a premier underwater still photographer whose work has been featured all around the world.

 

San Diego Undersea Film Festival – Show Opener

Posted in conservation, news, production, video with tags , , , , , , , , on August 22, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

Sardine Run: Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales earned the special honor of being the show opener for this years San Diego UnderSea Film Festival.

Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales” 5 minute preview of the full film drops you into the sardine run with the dolphins and whales taking center stage. The day begins on the shores of the wild coast. Moving off shore, we join a group of humpbacks migrating north. The activity heats up as common dolphins trap a shoal of sardines. Joined by cape gannets, they launch an all-out assault on the baitball.  Further offshore, pods of bottlenose dolphins catch wind of the activity and charge in. Will they make it in time for the feast?

Video: Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales

DiveFilm Podcast – Sardine Run and Whale Wisdom

Posted in conservation, news, production, video with tags , , , , , , , on June 5, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

With the International Whaling Commission meeting just around the corner, DiveFilm“` HD Video Podcast has released as its latest episode, Shawn Heinrichs’s “Whale Wisdom – A Mother Humpback’s View.” This short film evokes the world of a mother and calf as whaling resumes in much of the world’s ocean.

Other great episodes of DiveFilm Podcasts recently released include Irish filmmaker Vincent Hyland’s homage to the ocean life off the South West coast of Ireland, and more of the award-winning video entries from the 2008 Our-World Underwater / Wetpixel / DivePhotoGuide Competition, including Simon Spear’s “Porbeagles in Peril” and Shawn Heinrichs’ “The Sardine Run.”

Shawn Heinrichs is a conservation filmmaker based in Longmont, Colorado, USA.  To learn more about Shawn and his work, please visit his website, BlueSphereMedia.com.

-Mary Lynn

Video: Whale Wisdom – A Mother Humpback’s View

Video: Sardine Run: Charging Dolphins-Breaching Whales

 

Our World Underwater 2008 Bronze

Posted in news, production, video with tags , , , , , , , on February 10, 2008 by shawnheinrichs

Sardine Run: Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales earned bronze in the video category of the Our World Underwater International Competition.

Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales” 5 minute preview of the full film drops you into the sardine run with the dolphins and whales taking center stage. The day begins on the shores of the wild coast. Moving off shore, we join a group of humpbacks migrating north. The activity heats up as common dolphins trap a shoal of sardines. Joined by cape gannets, they launch an all-out assault on the baitball.  Further offshore, pods of bottlenose dolphins catch wind of the activity and charge in. Will they make it in time for the feast?

Video: Charging Dolphins – Breaching Whales

 

South Africa – Sardine Run

Posted in production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 30, 2007 by shawnheinrichs

For years I had dreamed about returning to South Africa to experience the Sardine Run. I was born in Durban, South Africa and spent the first six years of my life there before moving to the United States. I have only faint childhood memories of the Sardine Run. It was a time of year when the sky over the beach filled with birds, dolphins broke the surface in the hundreds, when we stayed out of the water for fear of sharks, and when fishermen on the shore hauled in huge nets bursting with glistening silver fish.

Now a seasoned diver and underwater film-maker, I returned to the Sardine Run to relive that excitement, but this time anxious to join the sharks underwater and experience the full energy of the Run. With me were my close buddies Justin Ebert, Mattias Fornander and Nick Jackson. Our leader Drew Wong and boat captain Pkee would do all they could to get us as close as “safely” possible to the action.

Having traveled to big animal destinations around the globe, I had learned enough to temper my expectations. Nature can be unpredictable and unfair. Sometimes for no apparent reason, the seas can be empty when they should be full. The Sardine Run has a particular propensity to promise much and deliver little…sometime nothing. The number of factors required to get in the water and nail the legendary baitball are many. For a baitball to form, at a minimum the following conditions are necessary:

– Cold northerly flowing current

– Counter current pushing cold current close to the shore

– Presence of sardines

– Dolphin pods (and or sharks) detect sardines

– Cape gannets find the dolphins

– Predators succeed in driving sardines to form baitball

If all these factors combine to form a baitball, there are a whole set of additional factors necessary for one to actually experience the baitball underwater. These include:

– Good fortune of actually finding the baitball

– Enough daylight to view the baitball (10am to 3pm)

– Safe sea conditions (the seas on this coast can be rough)

– Sufficient visibility (vis is frequently less than 2 meters)

– Baitball lasts long enough for you to suit up and get in

When all these factors are considered, the odds of a baitball encounter are very, very low. Many a diver who has come to the Sardine Run with dreams of the “Blue Planet” baitball on  daily basis, have left severely disappointed. On the Sardine Run you can count on many things, but a baitball is not one of them! That being said, with enough time, patience and tenacity, a well orchestrated effort to locate a baitball has a good chance of paying off over a two week period.

The real stars of the show are the dolphins and whales. Day after day, dozens of humpbacks pass by on their way north to their calving grounds off Mozambique. Along he way, the put on quite a show, charging, diving and performing spectacular breaches. If you are very fortunate, you may even have in-water snorkel encounter with one of these gentle giants. I had such good fortune and will cherish that memory for a long time.

The massive schools of common and bottlenose dolphins are not to be overlooked either. From kilometers away, they can be seen leaping and splashing as they charge in on sardines. In the water, one has many opportunities to snorkel and play with these curious and excitable creatures.

The cape gannets, in their thousands, put on an impressive show. When the action really heats up, they pile into the water by the dozens. Combined with the dolphins churning the surface, this creates quite a melee. Of course the action most sought after by divers is that of the elusive baitball below the surface.

We did find our baitball. The vis was ok. The baitball was not very big. There were few sharks. But even then, the charging dolphins, diving gannets and graceful motion of the sardines recoiling in unison made the encounter amazing! The entire experience lasted ten minutes but the memory will last a lifetime.