SHARKFEST 2010 TRIP REPORT
I must admit that I was a little
nervous about putting together a shark diving / film screening event
like Sharkfest but
it worked out better than I could have imagined. For a while it was
looking as though Tropical Storm Colin would upset our plans to dive the sharkiest wrecks on the Outer Banks of North Carolina but Colin fizzled
out just in time. Our first day out was delayed by a few hours because
of fierce offshore winds that were punishing any vessels crazy enough to
head to sea but by the afternoon the gale had calmed down to a gentle
breeze so we set sail for a couple of inshore wrecks - The Titan and The Indra.
I was dubious about our chances of shark action so
close to the mainland but the shark gods smiled on us. Both wrecks had
unusually good visibility and more importantly they had enough
sandtiger sharks for us to play with all afternoon. In fact, the Indra had such friendly
sharks that I was able to swim around with them to my heart's content:
That night, while our images downloaded, we set up a
projector in Olynmpus' Dive Lodge and screened our collection of short
shark movie submissions. The standard of the films was truly world class
and I am flattered that so many well known film makers went to the
effort of submitting their work.
After the screenings we talked about sharks into the
early hours and after little more than a nap, dragged ourselves back to
the dive boat for another day of shark diving.
With clear skies and flat seas we made straight for
the wreck of The Spar which lays in 110ft of water about 1.5 hours from
shore. The Spar is famous for the amount of sharks that frequent its
decks and I could see the first enormous sandtigers hovering above the
conning tower of the 200ft long wreck as I over-armed down the mooring
Although it was a little dark down on the sand, the
visibility above the thermocline was excellent and we spent two glorious
dives framing image after image of sandtigers doing what sandtigers do
best; swimming slowly around defying gravity and looking far more
menacing than they really are. I tried to capture as many diver / shark
interactions as possible and the images below tell the tale of great
encounters with approachable sharks:
Once back on terra firma we grabbed a bite and settled
in to try to get through as many more shark movie submissions as we
could. After a long sun-swept day at sea I was surprised that so many
people stayed up to watch them all. Thank you to everyone that attended
and helped to turn an idea into a real mini film festival.
After much deliberation the crowd favorite turned out
Requiem by Joe Romeiro and Bill Fisher / 333 Productions.
closely followed by Lesley Rochat's
excellent, award winning shark conservation
film Sharks in Deep Trouble.
Joe and Bill will receive a girt cert from H2O Photo
Pros who sponsored the event.
The next morning we returned to The Spar and enjoyed
two more dives with many extremely cooperative and tolerant sandtiger
sharks. The weather remained perfect and the sharks posed in just about
After the diving, a few Sharkfesters
were forced to take off back to the real world but the rest of us threw
together a BBQ on Olympus Dive Center's dock and talked about exotic shark locations and our
crazy shark encounters long into the night. As we said our farewells the
next morning the inevitable question was raised: Will there be a Sharkfest 2011?
It was a lot of work to put Sharkfest together but we
had such a good time that I have decided to do it again. So, save a little
space in your shark diving calendars next August. Sharkfest 2011 is going
to be bigger and even more fun than 2010.
Thank you again to everyone that attended,
thank you to Olympus Dive Center for hosting the event and thank
you to everyone that submitted their short films!
This year's Sharkfest submisions (in no particular
The Great White Shark Song – Andy Brandy
Death of a Deity – Joe Romeiro & Bill Fisher / 333 Productions
Elegance in Black and White – Richard Theiss / RTSea Productions
Friends Found – David Ulloa
The Way It Used to Be – David Vik
A lateral Line – Joe Romeiro & Bill Fisher / 333 Productions
Who Patrols These Waters – Barbara Lloyd / Stella Luna
Sharks in Deep Trouble – Lesley Rochet
Big Fish Utila - Johannes Leichtle & Dan Cain
The Shark Con – Rusty Armstrong / Endless Perseverance.
Island Of the Great White Sharks – Richard Theiss / RTSea
Shark Divers – Danny Mauro / Sport Diver TV
Walter and the Tigers – Jason Perryman
Requiem - Joe Romeiro & Bill Fisher / 333
Shark Business – Danny Mauro / Sport Diver TV
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(Dates in August 2011 to be