Of Shark and Man (OSAM) is the story of David’s incredible journey to the island nation of Fiji, where he documented his encounters with some of the largest predators in the ocean. The bull sharks David filmed and interacted with at Shark reef, in the Beqa Passage, were the stars of the documentary, but they were just the first chapter in a saga that continues today. Diley’s quest to document sharks and promote their conservation and change public perception of these apex predators, is also a story of personal discovery.
“A three-tank dive trip starts before dawn here in South Florida. The gang loaded up in the van with all our gear for the hour-long trip to Jupiter, Florida…we wanted to be at the dock and ready to get out into the Gulf Stream as soon as possible. Coffee was as precious as gold this morning.”
David and I spent a fantastic day diving with Capt. Randy Jordan of Emerald Chartersin search for the Lemon Sharks that were just starting their annual migratory swing along Florida’s Atlantic coast as they followed the Gulf Stream northward. Sailing out of Jupiter, Florida, we were joined by a half-dozen expert underwater photographers, who were there to film these magnificent creatures in close interaction in the open ocean.
“The incredible array of photography gear that was lashed down at the center-line of the Emerald was a key clue that the divers on this trip were serious about their underwater photography. Autumn, John, Richard, Craig, Chelsea and David…gear ready to grab, final checks on the rebreathers and more traditional rigs…final safety briefing from Captain Randy, his well-worn wetsuit sporting the evidence of hundreds of these dives.”
The three dives culminated in hundreds of great pictures and many priceless memories of an incredible experience. Though the morning started out slowly, the first shark drawn from the depths to cruise by and see what all the tantalizing smells were was a 9 foot Bull Shark. She circled 20 feet below us, perhaps surprised by all the bubble-blowing creatures that had invaded her watery kingdom. The second dive put us on the ESSO Bonaire III, a wreck that lays in about 100 foot of water. Within seconds of approaching the wreck, a dozen or more sharks were shadowing us. By the time we reached the bow of the wreck, 15-20 Goliath Grouper had joined the scrum, joining the Dirty Dozen Lemon Sharks that showed up to see what tasty morsels Capt. Jordan had brought.
“Supremely unconcerned by the divers who mingled with them on the sand and throughout the water column, the intricate dance commenced as shark and man drifted in the slow, steady current.”
A few hours later, with the gear cleaned and drying, and the three dives in the logbooks, David joined me for a post-dive interview and caught us up on what he had been up to during the 4 months since the first article.