Monday, April 14, 2008

at peace

Just back on land from one of the most incredible trips of my life. I loved absolutely everything about it. Of course, you can read all about it on the Discovery Channel Expedition Shark blog (& 1 more post still to be posted there...) but here are some more personal reflections. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing group of people to spend the last 10 days with. Each one of them in their own way unique, kind, generous, funny, brave, inspiring. I hope to keep in touch with them! I know for sure I've met some who will be friends for life.

I'll post some of my photos here when I get home. I am going to the SFS Center for Rainforest Studies on the Atherton Tableland, inland from Cairns in a bit. I'm giving a talk as an alumni about being a science writer, returning for the 1st time since I studied there in 1990. It was a very personally and professionally life transforming time in my life and will be really wonderful to go back there.

I fly home on the 17th, Australia time, and that means returning also on the 17th since we're a day ahead here. You know I absolutely love this town, Port Douglas. I love Australia. I really want to live here! I have at least 5 years before I can, I'm in Houston til the kids go to college, but I really would love to live here.

Diving was sharks was one of the most incredible things I've ever done. And I've done a lot of things and seen a lot of places. I hadn't gone diving since 1992... but I felt completely natural in the water, diving, and completely safe and at peace with the sharks and in that watery realm. I did a refresher in Cairns and then did 3 dives on Agincort Reef, part of the Great Barrier Reef, before leaving for Osprey Reef - if you read the Expedition Shark blog you'll know it's an isolated seamount reef in the middle of the Coral Sea halfway to Papua New Guinea. But diving with whitetip reef sharks, silvertip sharks, and grey reef sharks swimming all around... and seeing a big-eye thresher, tiger shark and the kaleidoscope of colors of the coral reef fish, corals, sea cucumbers, anemones, octopus, nautilus, corals of many variety... that was truly one of the best experiences of my life. Wow. I can't wait to go diving again.

We had really rough seas on the way back. Unlike the trip out, this time I learned my lesson and took seasick tablets, so I felt a bit better but you really can't do anything when the boat is rocking like mad, crashing against the waves. I had all these ideas of writing my book chapter while on the boat, but.... well that just didn't happen. However I did have some great conversations that can become a part of some of that.

Here are the radio interviews I did with Discovery Channel Earth Live:

  • Interview one with Wendee Holtcamp -It was a rough ride out to Osprey Reef, but well worth the effort.
  • Interview with photographer Cat Gennaro - How do you capture a shark on camera? Cat, expedition photographer, explains.
  • Interview two with Wendee - It's Shark Central at Osprey Reef - the perfect place to capture sharks for radio ID tag implantation. Wendee was in the thick of this "shark rodeo" and describes what happened.
  • Interview three with Wendee- Seems like only yesterday that Wendee arrived at Osprey reef looking a little green from her 20-hour boat ride. But time flies and Wendee, Cat, the scientists and filmmakers are calling it a wrap.
I think the links go to the same place but then you have to click at the 1-2-3-4 buttons on the bottom (or "Next").

Ciao for now. xoxo


Brian Shmaefsky said...

You did a great job with the Shark Blog. Good luck on the rest your work in the Land Down Under.

Anonymous said...

Shark Blog is great!Very interesting stuff!! Hope you enjoy the rest of your trip- thanks for the email before you left with the links-I'm glad I was able to observe your adventure through the Shark Blog!
K.D. in KW