Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Working with CBS

Earlier this month I received a call from my friends, Rob and Aja, who own Pleasure Diver, a dive charter company here in Key Largo ( They had received contact from a CBS film crew who needed some footage for a pilot that will be produced by CBS and aired this spring. The crew privately chartered Pleasure Diver for the day, and Rob and Aja wanted to and did engage my diving and photographic services to help support the film crew's effort. The shoot occurred on November 5th and 6th. The crew captured their needed footage on the first day, but, had such great diving they stayed on to dive the second day!

For me it was a very interesting challenge as they needed water that looked like the Pacific Ocean, as that was where the pilot program was taking place! We were lucky and on the days they were here we found beautiful blue water. Luckier still that on their shooting day, 'everything' that could show up 'critter-wise' did! We needed sun for filming and the sun was out. We were void of current and surge which made filming easier. And we had great visibility with clean water. The film crew Dennis and Eddie were an absolute dream to work with. They were very serious minded about their task at hand, to capture the footage, but were very easy going and laid back about it none the less. Fun to be on the boat with and to dive with.
Was a nice 'kudo' for me to be a part of and especially given the success the film crew had. And aside from doing a bit of bragging here in 'my blog' ('cause I can!) I want to use this as a forum to thank my friends Rob and Aja of Pleasure Diver for the opportunity. Thank you Rob and Aja!

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

"September 2008 Dive Spectacular"

Many years ago and for years, I have had the idea to get a group of my 'regular guyz' together and take a trip somewhere cool. Down to an island in the Caribbean, whereever. That is a huge undertaking to say the least and the least of which would be the ability to get a dozen or so different 'guyz' from all parts of the country and world together on the same dates! Last spring it came to me that I have a pretty good list of 'regular underwater photography guyz', who all live in Florida and maybe I could put together a less ambitious undertaking and right here in Key Largo.
So in March the plan began with emails to 'my guyz'. The "our September Dive Spectacular" was born. The above slideshow captures best in imagery what it was all about. Most drove down from all over Florida, and even one came from the UK, on the previous Friday night, or that Saturday morning.
We had arranged to privately charter our own boat for the afternoon. There were around 20 of us on the boat and I was able to handpick both the boat and crew and picked a boat and crew that most of my guyz were already familiar with. We met at noon that Saturday in September, and the weather, even during our hurricane season, fully cooperated. Sunny, warm, calm seas. We provisioned the boat with snacks including: a rumcake, an apple/caramel fruit platter, Sunspree soft drinks ( and a couple beers were spirited aboard), bottled water, crackers, cheeses, chips and dips and salsa and mixed nuts, cookies and a plate of brownies. Oh yeah, we also brought our scuba gear and the camera tables and other spaces were jammed with underwater photography equipment of any and all types!
The dives were just wonderfull with great visibility and swim suit warm water. It was amazing to hear about all the cool stuff that everyone 'said' they saw even after just the first dive! The captain and I came to the conclusion that 'the first liar did not stand a chance'. There were 'claims' to Manta Rays being seen, Eagle Rays spotted, Sharks, including a Tiger shark, a big mouthed green Moray Eel and a very large menacing Mantis Shrimp and more than one seductive Mermaid. At least one diver claimed to seeing a Whale Shark! Another claimed he missed seeing that because he was busy watching a humpback whale and her calf. And a third missed both events due to being busy dodging a pod of bottlenosed dolphins!!
In case any of you missed the event, or missed seeing these things, they are included in the slide show.
I was overwhelmed by this whole event and especially the comraderie. Everyone met and immediately got along! And throughout the day and later after the dives at our planned happy hour and cookout, that was held dockside. New friends were definitely made. While we had around 20 'guyz' on the boat, we invited the crew and dive operator staff to our happy hour and cookout so I guess we had around 25 or 30 people during this part of the 'Dive Spectacular. Only one person, Brian, and his wife, could not make it as a last minute work issue rose its ugly head. But, Brian you were there in spirit as evidenced by a photo of you on the boat!
To top off the good diving, we did what divers do after diving. Debrief and Celebrate. We had both types of beverages, the second type being 'adult'and in abundant quantities. Iced and ready for us when we got off the dive boat! Four grills were fired up to cook the things we used to make shiskabobs with: all the colored peppers and onions and mushrooms and big cubes of marinatetd sirloin steak, and nice chunks of marinated and plain chicken breast filets. To tide us over one of the 'guyz' brought a large crockpot full of bbq-ed pulled pork, and, one of the Mermaids got a bunch of chickenwings from the adjacent bar. Along with all this we had potato salad, macaroni salad, and one of the guyz grilled 30 ears of corn on the cob. Breads, butter, coleslaw, more chips and dips and the usual condiments were all there. Oh, I almost forgot, we grilled scallops in butter!! I do not believe anyone went hungry! Or, thirsty! And we had music too, thanx to a guy bringing a small boombox! So, there was some dancing (not me).
Everybody chipped in with the preparation of all of this from beginning to end. And made it such a spectacular event. It began with an idea last spring and started at around noon that September Saturday. Continued on until the last of the 'younger guyz' attending quit at around midnight. A few of the heartier souls showed up the next morning for a debrief session over Bloody Mary's and Mermosas. I had coffee, thank you!! Laughing
We are already talking about doing this again and perhaps a little differently and likely between now and before next September! I have been diving a long time. This event, to me, epitomized what scuba diving can be , should be, and is, all about! Great fun from start to finish! It was overwhelming and indeed a 'Dive Spectacular'! And made possible, simply, by good divers and good people just gettin' together and goin' divin' ! September 20, 2008.
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