Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Back Home...

Yes, when I am at Tiger Beach I feel like being back home. Being surrounded by sharks, Lemons and Tigers - BIG Tigers - is all an old Sea Wolf can ask for to be serene and happy. This time I joined Eli Martinez of the Sharkdiver Magazine who organized the trip.

The sharkdivers on board the Dolphin Dream II, owned and operated by the legendary Captain Scottie Smith, were all very cool people:

- Eli Martinez, appropriately knighted by our not-so-red baron, Jupp Kerckerinck zur Borg, as "Lord of Tiger Beach";

- Sharkdiver staff photographer Paul Spielvogel, smart and unassuming as myself (true heavy-weights are always unassuming - LOL!!!) and also a real shark nut. Paul has got to learn how to freedive and photograph at the same time, though - I will teach him the freediving part, he does not need to be taught photography: Paul has taken some master shots, soon to be displayed in this blogspot;

- two new friends, Germans, elegant Jupp, already mentioned above, and down-to-earth Folkart Schweizer, both around my age which made us some sort of slightly mature three musketeers among all those youngsters;

- Mark Carlson and Traci Kalar - our token love birds, always holding hands, topside and down below;

- bubbly Marina Scuseria, originally from Buenos Aires, now bored to death in boring Basle;

- quiet, almost enigmatic Robert Terpstra whose hand was brushed, and hurt, by an agitated lemon shark and could, thus, not dive right away;

- Brian Cleveland, who, as I later found out, is a successful monster movie producer (is that why he wanted to dive with, and film, tiger sharks?? :-);

- and, last certainly not least, Grant Nathan with his distinctive London accent (instead of 'stairs' he would say: 'apples and pears').

Have I forgotten someone? I hope not....

Unfortunately, the days went by very quickly, and although the tiger action was rather disappointing during the first four days, we had a fantastic last day wid dem big, big tiga babes!! Sharky as hell, and not to be forgotten soon, certainly not by Folkart - our novice shark diver.... :-)

Also, we had 'Julia' around us during the entire stay at Tiger Beach. And that was a real treat. Julia is a teenage great hammerhead shark, some 8 - 8 1/2 ft long, and she almost turned Tiger Beach into Hammer Beach with her continuous presence. It is rare to see great hammerheads at Tiger Beach, and if you are lucky enough to see one, it would be a short encounter.

Julia was rather shy in the beginning but when she realized that all those funny and dark looking creatures are shark fanatics, not out to harm her, she became very friendly and performed all kinds of aquabatics in front of us to show off her incredible grace...

I was the only freediver and the only one who still clings to his antique photographic equipment: an old Nikonos V with two lenses (28 and 20mm), no flash. Somebody tactfully reminded me that we are in the 21st century....

Wanna have a look at my retro-looking pics? I have selected 61 - you don't have to view them all; but they are there. Just click this link:

I will be back next year - for sure!!


Anonymous said...

Great pix Wolf! Retro rules :-)

Wolfgang Leander said...

Thanks, Duncan. You are a connoisseur .... :-) said...

this blog is simply great.