shark diving blog, video blog, swimming with sharks, eli martinez, eli the shark guy, eli the shark guy martinez, eli shark, shark diver magazine, shark diver

Damn, Do I Love Black Bear Country!

WOW! When trying to write up a blog for our recent black bear expedition, I was fumbling around with words to describe how I felt about this exploratory trip and WOW, was the first, and really the only word that came to mind. We went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina to photograph black bears, and by we, I mean the SDM crew; Maritza, Sophia, David and I. 


Black bears are one of North Americas most iconic animals and one of it’s most exciting predators. As everyone knows, I am extremely passionate about predators, ocean predators own my soul, but land predators are just as sexy. So when we decided to start offering trips out to see some of the woodlands bad boys and girls, I did my home work. Yellow Stone and California are amazing and reliable places, and with so many other iconic animals, it was tempting. But I wanted to find a place with more than just a brief sighting of bears, and with less crowds. After some research I located my dream spot… the Outer Banks, of North Carolina.

The SDM crew on the swamp buggy. 

Not only does North Carolina boast one of densest populations of black bears, it also is where you can find the biggest black bears in North America. And by big I am talking, 600 to 1,000 lb. kind of big. I had to visit. So a plan was made, but when to go? Our bear guide Tom Harrison, told me that the very best time was in August- September time frame, but our summer schedule was way too crazy this season to go during that time. We asked about May, and he said it was a solid month as well, it wasn’t thick with bears, like later in the season, but it was still a great time to go.  We didn’t have anything scheduled, so we set up the trip and off we went. 

This was also the first time we had the entire SDM crew together for an adventure, which hasn’t happened in, EVER. So we took advantage of this window to head out to NC and explore what it had to offer. The priceless thing for me was not just experiencing the bears and this magical place, but also the reactions of my crew. This was their first time around bears and watching their reactions and excitement was something I will never forget.

I could go on and on with a detailed report of everything we experienced but that would turn into a book. So I decided to cut together a video of moments from the trip to try and share the emotion of what we were feeling out there. It is difficult to do, but will do my best to see if it can be captured…

Of course the main focus on all our trips is to capture video and stills of these animals, so here are a few of our stills of this expedition. We were also lucky enough to capture a few images of a bobcat that we encountered, which is extremely rare to see in this area. We spoke to one lady who has spent the last 42 years documenting the local wildlife here off the Outer Banks and in all those years, she has only seen 2 bobcats. So we definitely felt blessed to have seen one. 

We were hoping to capture images of a red wolf, which is also extremely rare, but there are only 40 wolves left in the area, so the chances of seeing one was extremely low. We did find some fresh tracks, so we knew they were in the area. However, we do have plans to return to the outer banks next September, so we are hoping for another shot at encountering one then for sure. 

Image Gallery

Predators have a bad PR problem.

For the past 15 years much of my focus has been on working with sharks; learning about these animals, their behaviors and more importantly why we need every single shark, (alive) in our oceans. I have shared this message (along with many of my friends), with whoever would listen. The one thing I have learned, is that sharks, like all predators, are feared and completely misunderstood. People are fascinated with them, yet many still believe that the only good shark is a dead shark.

Polar Bear at the Winnipeg airport.

Polar Bear at the Winnipeg airport.

I have been spending a lot more time studying and learning about land predators - and just like their ocean kin, they too suffer from bad PR problems. What it boils down to is fear. People fear the unknown and because of their fears, thousands of animals die and suffer needlessly. Sharks, bears, wolves, wild cats, snakes, all play an important roll in our eco-systems. We need them, the world needs them and yet they are killed, for sport, for their skin and sadly (and mostly) because of fear.

It is heart breaking knowing why these animals are killed, and almost feeling powerless to stop it. Despite it being an uphill climb, we will continue to share the predator's story. Educating people on why we need them, and why they are important. Hopefully, inspiring more people to do their part to help save them. We must become a voice for the voiceless, because these animals deserve to be here more than we do. 

Image by Tom Harrison

Image by Tom Harrison

We are going to be spending more time learning about land predators this year, trying to understand the issues and politics surrounding their survival, and how we all can help. I've always known that these animals have PR problems, I just didn't know much about their plights, because my time had been spent in the ocean, working with sharks. Of course, we are still continuing our work with sharks, however, we are going to do our part to help people understand more about animals that are closer to home.

Such as bears and bobcats. I have been learning a lot about them and the severe pressure they are under, due to human encroachment on their habitat. Bears, such as black bears and speckled bears are often killed by people who are tired of bears eating their crops, or digging into their trash. Bobcats, are often killed by hunters for trophies, or by vehicles. They are running out of room and as they move into urban areas where people live, more conflicts with these predators are happening.

So expect more projects with us involving land predators. We are going to help do our part to show the beauty of these animals, why we need them, as well as create more awareness of what is happening to them. Because, the more we know about these animals, the better prepared we are to protect them. 

Thank you guys for reading.

Macchu Picchu... the journey.

Visiting the ruins of Macchu Picchu has been a dream for Maritza and I’s, for a very long time. I know its not an animal adventure, (even though I did get to see a few), but seeing those ruins and the views from the top of those mountains was high on my list of must see things in this lifetime. So we decided to plan a little getaway, just the two of us and fly up to Peru, to see what this place was all about.

macchu picchu 3.jpg

It's always a bit nerve racking visiting a new place. You never know what to expect. Will it be good, will it be bad? You just don't know until you climb in a plane and set off into the unknown.

But of course, that is the beauty of traveling to new places. Meeting new people, seeing new places and experiencing new things. That unknown is what I live for. We got it all when we landed in Peru. The biggest shock for me was the spiritual high I got from place. Peru is truly magical, filled with history, both good and bad. I can honestly say, I am in love with it all, and I was completely over whelmed with everything I experienced. 

And that is because I was not expecting to be. I mean, I was going to Peru to see some ruins, not animals, so I was expecting to just check this place off my very long list of places I needed to see, before I die list. But I left there in awe of everything this place represents, and is. It truly humbled the shit out of me. 

The photo opportunities here also blew me away. From the rainbow mountains to Macchu Picchu. It was an emotional experience, standing up on top of those mountains. I wanted to just stand there and soak it all in, leaving my camera in the bag...but that is not who I am. I am a storyteller and my job is to share the experience of being out there. Capturing moments to share is my passion and what I really love to do. So as I was trying to figure out how to write a blog about this experience, I decided the best way to do it is with some of the images I captured.  Every one has a story attached to it. Figured it might be the only way I can really try and share what I felt…

Rainbow Mountains.

Rainbow Mountains.

rainbow 4.jpg

We visited the Rainbow mountains. This was the first place we visited on our trip, which was a mistake. If I knew then what I know now, I would of left visiting this mountain till the end of the trip, or maybe not visit it at all.  We had to hike up what I believe is about 2 - 3 miles to get to the top of rainbow mountain from base camp (where the cars are). However, base camp is at about 14,000 feet, and the top is around 17,000 feet. It is hard to breathe, AND a very, very tough hike. We are flat landers and a bit out of shape for such an ambitious hike. This really kicked our asses. We hiked up for about an hour and then had to pay one of the locals for a horse ride up the mountain trail. There are a lot of locals hanging around, selling rides. These are really tough ponies and really tough people walking these animals up and down this mountain trail, every day, all year. Mad respect for them. 

The views, up and down this trail were spectacular. In the distance there were snow covered peaks, in fact, while we were hiking down, it began snowing for a little while, which added to the fun and misery. For me, one of the highlights was all the alpacas. There were herds of them all over the valley. 

rainbow valley 2.jpg

  When we finally made it to the top of the mountain we were thrilled to have made it, even though we did ride a horse for part of it, we still had to hike the final leg to the top of the mountain. We were so exhausted and breathless, due to having very thin air up there, and being out of shape.  We took in the sights, it was really beautiful. Snow clouds rolled in and covered up the entire area, but just as suddenly as they appeared, they were gone. I took as many photos as I could, but my head was pounding from the altitude. We did drink a lot of coca tea, which helped, but it was still very tough. We rested for a bit, then began the hike down. We walked the entire way down, thinking it would be easier. It was still freaking hard, but we did it.  Maritza ending up hurting her knee on the decent, she continued to walk, but it was painful. 

Macchu Picchu

Macchu Picchu

Visiting Macchu Picchu was one of the most amazing places I have ever visited. Climbing this mountain and seeing the brilliant ruins here. The architecture here is a marvel. The stone work and the engineering is amazing. Even for todays standards it is beyond amazing.

The Incas that built this place were geniuses. Still to this day, it has not been figured out how it was done. Of course I am an ancient alien theorist, so I know who helped them. Which is part of the reason I wanted to visit Peru. I wanted to visit the Inca museum to see the Paracas skulls (elongated skulls). Now that was beyond cool, seeing them with my own eyes. Just love the crazy mysteries of this world. Not knowing where we truly came from. 

llama .jpg

Peru was amazing. We will definitely be returning next season. The big thing was finding out that Peru was so much more than ruins. The wildlife!!! I knew Peru would have some wildlife, what I didn't know was how much. We will be returning to visit the rainforests here for opportunities to photograph, jaguars, speckled bears, giant river otters, monkeys, capybaras and one of the most beautiful birds out there, the cock on the rock! Yes, thats really its name. Google it. I took advantage of my limited time out here (we had 5 days), and photographed as much wildlife as I could, but as amazing as this place is... we will be back for more.

End of 2017 Travel Season Blog

I am so behind on blogging, so much going on here and it has been tough to sit down and write or blog. So for the delay in new material, I apologize. I have been meaning to post this blog to thank everyone who joined us for the 2017 expedition season.  It was an amazing year, filled with fun, highs, lows and special unforgettable moments.


I have the best job in the world, getting to show and share the amazing animals the earth and the ocean has to offer with the world. It is a privilege that we all get to experience nature at it's best, and worst. We experienced everything this year; We had ocean storms, winds, rain, swells that kicked our asses, animals that did not show up... but on the flip side, we also had perfect flat calm days, beautiful skies, warm water and lots and lots of wildlife to appreciate. 

Through it all, the constant was the great people that we got to share these adventures with. We couldn't do it with out you, so thank you - from the SDM crew, to each and everyone of you. You all make these moments worth it all. We love you guys...

2017 Behind the Scenes Gallery

Finally...Patience Pays Off!

My daughter, Sophia and I have been visiting one of our local state parks (when I am home) for the past 4 months, Bensten State Park. Specifically, one of the bird feeding stations here. We visit this spot religiously, because of a bobcat that has been stalking the bird feeder daily here. 

When we found out it was possible that we could encounter bobcats at this park, we decided that this was the place we needed to be. Our first encounter with a cat here was an accident. We were walking around the park center, looking for birds to photograph when we saw a bobcat walking by one of the buildings here. Sophia and I dropped our gear and began snapping images of the cat. We ran after it, and it slowly walked away, we snapped more images of it, mostly of its butt and tail. It walked back into the bush and disappeared. We were both on fire and fell instantly in love with this wildcat.

After that first encounter, our obsession with bobcats began. 

I began researching into where we could reliably encounter one. There are a few parks where they are regularly seen, mostly in the summer, when it is really hot and water becomes scarce. During that time of year, they begin visiting the water features at these parks. However, this was winter season and there was plenty of water around, so that was out. Another option was the rumors that a bobcat would visit one of the feeders at Bensten park. The park begins feeding birds during the winter season, which is during fall migration. We decided to follow up on this one to see if it was true. 

Happy to report, the rumors were true.

It started out as an occasional visits to this feeder. It took a few visits for Sophia to get use to the idea of sitting still waiting for wildlife. That is the hardest part for this type of photography; Long hours of waiting, with nothing happening, and no guarantee you will see any animals. 

bobcat 6.jpg

Trying to photograph this cat was not easy, there were a lot of missed opportunities and no shows. Plus it does not visit the feeder everyday. Somedays we would arrive only to find out that the cat had already successfully hunted a bird and was gone. Missing it by 5 minutes. Other days it was a no show. Weather was also a serious issue, cold, wet and windy conditions made for miserable moments out there, especially for Sophia. She does not handle cold weather very well yet. 

bobcat 5.jpg

After a couple of weeks of misses, the first sighting happened. The bobcat appeared from out the bush, grace us with its presence for a few seconds and then disappeared again. I snapped a few images of it, excited that I finally got a glimpse of it. Sophia decided to sleep in, she was worn out with visiting this cat. When I texted her the images from that day. She was so angry, she sulked around the rest of the day.

Bad image of the cats failed attempt at feeder birds

We continued visiting the feeder with more misses and more no shows. Finally a couple of weeks after that first encounter, we got another sighting. The second encounter, it attempted to catch a bird but failed. It was an incredible moment, it tried to jump up onto a four foot tall feeder to catch the bird. It missed, looked at me briefly when it landed and then disappeared into the bush. It tried again and failed. As I was leaving that day, I spotted our bobcat walking on the side of the road. I snapped images like crazy as it crossed the road in front of me. I was on fire, it was such a good day. Again, my Sophia was not with me. This time, her cousins were visiting from out of town and she stayed in. Again, my Sophia was not a happy camper.

bob 2.jpg

February 24 - We arrived at the feeder bright and early, set up our tripods and began our normal routine of watching and waiting. Finally a red-winged blackbird dropped down onto the water feature and our cat exploded out, trying to grab the bird. He missed and slunk back into the grass. An hour later he tried again and missed. We snapped some fun images of him and then called it a day. Sophia was on fire, she finally got her cat. She named him Bob. Now that we both had captured some images of Bob, it was time to up the ante. We wanted some images of the cat with a successful hunt. 

bobcat 3.jpg

We spent the next few days waiting by the feeder to see if he would show up, but nothing, Bob was either a no show or he never had any birds at the feeder to chase, so he never came out of the grass. However, our enthusiasm and energy was renewed. After our encounter on the 24th we were willing to wait as long as it took for our dream shot. 

We did not have to wait long…this morning we visited the feeder and set up tripods and cameras and began the wait. The park volunteers showed up soon after to refill the feeders. A flock of blackbirds were all over the feeders as soon they left. Within 30 minutes they were completely relaxed and two birds dropped down onto the water feature. Sophia and I were ready and waiting. Seconds later, our cat exploded out and finally captured a bird in front of us. We rapidly fired away, image after image. We kept snapping until our cameras tired out and would only shoot one image at a time. Which was frustrating. But it was done. We captured images of a successful hunt. 

Our bunting is not a perfect image, but it is a start. Can't wait to get back there tomorrow. 

Our bunting is not a perfect image, but it is a start. Can't wait to get back there tomorrow. 

I threw up my hands in victory and let out a yell! Cheering away. There were a few people there, including a couple from Canada who also had been stalking this bobcat. We all high fived each other. It was sad that this bird lost its life, but it was also the reason why this cat could continue to live...the circle of life thing. Sophia and I hugged tightly, happy that we finally accomplished this goal. 

We got home, happy with the images we captured. We thought after we had accomplished this goal that we would move on to our next goal, which is to photograph a grey fox that has been hanging around at Edinburg wetlands. But nope, we are addicted…we are far from done with our time with our wildcat. They are keeping the feeders open till the end of April, which means we have two more months with our cat. So tomorrow at 6:30, we will again be out there, hoping, waiting, and wishing for another shot at our buddy Bob.

Thanks for reading,

Tiger Beach is on Fire!

We returned from another Tiger Beach trip, which was our second adventure of the 2018 expedition season. It was a challenging weather week. Sadly we lost the first two days of the trip to weather. However, I wasn’t too worried, because I knew that once we got to TB and the tigers showed up, everyone would forget about those lost days. As of late, when the tigers are there, Tiger Beach has been epic.

Image by Thomas Nolting

Image by Thomas Nolting

On our third day, the weather started clearing and we were finally able to get to TB and begin diving. My only fear was that due to the storms, the tigers would take a few dives to arrive, which is normal. During storms, they always leave the shallow water and retreat to the deeper water. My guess is… better visibility, less surging water and better hunting. 

Image by Thomas Nolting

Anyway, thankfully when we arrived - it was on, the tigers were there and we were able to go straight into a feed with a few tigers. Everyone was on fire and the week turned into a magical time, with plenty of tigers for everyone to capture videos and images. And yes, the bulls were there everyday. Again, they were well behaved, which is nice. I do have to admit, they are growing on me. It is nice having them around for people to see, especially when the tigers are late to show up. Of course, we still have zero plans to feed them here. We do not want them to get that comfortable. It is a marquee species, but it is a shark we have to be very wary of. So as long as they stay well behaved, it is nice having them here.

They did make the night dive on this trip a lot more interesting. On one of the nights, we dropped down for a night feed with the tigers. It was pretty intense, the lemons were on fire and the action was crazy and non-stop. Taxi the lemon shark showed up, which is one of my oldest lemon shark buddies. She was up to her mischievous self and made me smile. She has learned how to dive into the bait box to steal bait, which, of course, she did on this dive. She went vertical, with her trade mark head dive into the box. She wasn’t able to snag a piece, because I am on to her game, but she did try.

Image by Thomas Nolting

Image by Thomas Nolting

During our night dive, it took about 25 minutes before the tiger came in. We were just about to call the dive, when I spotted this massive shape of a tiger in the darkness. It was Jenn. A 13 foot, 1,200 Lb. tiger shark. Everyone got excited and I got back into position to wait for Jenn to come in. It took a while before she did, she was nervous with all the lights and the lemons swimming all over the place. It took about 10 minutes before she relaxed enough to come in, but when she finally did... it was game on. She is a big shark, but damn, does she look huge at night!

The dive was sharky… during the dive, we had about 15 lemon sharks swimming around the box, (all on fire), a handful of reef sharks, a very big tiger shark and a couple of bull sharks swimming in and out…it was easily the best night dive I have ever experienced here.

tiger night.jpg

This trip was supposed to be a Tiger Beach / Bimini  trip, but due to the lost days, we decided to stay at Tiger Beach, which everyone was fine with. Of course everyone wanted to see a great hammerhead, but with all the tiger shark action, they were fine with the outcome of the trip. 

I do have to share this story… One of the biggest highlights of my career happened on this trip. On one of our dives, two of our guests, my buddies, Thomas, Jazzy Judy and I were the first three in the water. I was not feeding on this dive, so I dropped in with my camera, Gloria. Tom and Jazzy were in first, then I followed. When I hit the sand, Tequila, one of our resident tigers swam past Tom and Jazzy and came right up to me, within touching distance, and swam around me. I gave her a back rub as she did. She swam around me twice, allowing me to rub her back as she did. After the second time she did this, she swam off. I watched her swim off, and then fell back onto the ocean floor, looking up at the surface with my hand stretched out in victory. I was on fire, she recognized me!

Tequila approaching me. In the back, Jazzy and Tom. 

Tequila approaching me. In the back, Jazzy and Tom. 

I am always asked if the tigers recognize me when I am down there?   I always said, “No I do not think so. What I think they recognize is my energy, because I do the same things with them, every time I am down there.”  But Tequila clearly recognized me and came over to see if I had a snack. I was teary eyed and so freaking happy. I looked at Tom and Jazzy in disbelief.  As I was doing that, Tequila swam back up to me for a third time, circled me again, allowing me to pet her back and finally swam off. I was just floored and so grateful for this moment. 

People are always asking me what my favorite moment in the water is, it used to be when I was dancing and playing with orcas in New Zealand, but this moment, just topped that by a thousand fold. Experiencing moments like that and getting to share them with dear friends is the very best and why I love returning to the same places, year after year. You just never know what gifts the ocean and her wildlife are going to give you. Like I said, Tiger Beach has been EPIC!

Thanks for reading.

Image Gallery

Final Trip of the 2017 Season.

Our December Tiger Shark trip has been a crazy, scary, fun ride so far. It is only day 3 and I have had several gut checks. The tigers have been on fire. This morning we had 6 players come in. Emma, Freckles, Maui, Tequila, a new big shark we haven't named yet and  of course our freaking pain in the ass, Jitterbug. 

tigers 2.jpg

Jitterbug is turning out to be a real nightmare of a shark. I was hoping she would of settled down by now, but she hasn’t. The thing is, she is not just a jerk to the feeders, she is also a pain to the other tigers and lemons. Today she bit one of the lemons on the dorsal fin and I watched the lemon turn and slam her on her side, pushing JB, up and away. I am Hopeful as she gets older, she will settle down. But, I highly doubt it... She is just a crazy shark.

Jitterbug and a bull shark

Jitterbug and a bull shark

It has been a great week for species. When we arrived at Fish Tales yesterday, we had 4 bull sharks hanging around, which is a new thing. We normally do not have bull sharks here. But the way these sharks are behaving, it looks like the bulls are here to stay. So we will see what that turns into. Often when a few bulls show up, it won’t be long before they invite a bunch of their friends here and long term, that will be a bad thing. 

We also had Patches the great hammerhead show up here today. Which was awesome. She is one of the Bimini hammerheads, but has decided she likes it here at TB, so she has returned again for  second season. I do hope she stays, it always makes for better dives. If she decides to hang out permanently, and with the addition of bull sharks, Tiger Beach will have easily become, the all time greatest shark dive in the world. 3 marquee species on one dive... Just incredible.

Patches the Great Hammerhead. Image by Victor Osipov

Patches the Great Hammerhead. Image by Victor Osipov

We finished up the trip with time spent at Bimini, seeking out great hammerheads. Over a three day period we had five different hammerheads visit us. Two of them I recognized from previous trips, the others were new to me. One of the hammerheads had a badly broken jaw (fishermen). It did a quick pass, so I didn’t get a really good look at it. The only thing I could confirm was that it was a male shark. I was hoping it was not Spartacus, a shark I have known for a while. It was hard to tell from the distance, but it had dark brown skin, like Spartacus. The other male we frequently see here, Anchor, has more of a buck skin color to him.  

Over all, it was an amazing trip and an amazing way to end the 2017 season. I was excited to see my old friends, Emma and Tequila back at Tiger Beach. They safely made it through another season. We still have not seen Princess or Hook yet, which makes me worry, they are really late to arrive. If they show up together in January, it will sort of reinforce my theory that tigers travel in twos, and that Hook and Princess are travel partners. More importantly than that, I just want to know these two beauties make it back safely to Tiger Beach. 

Photo Gallery

Pelagic Expedition Trip Report


It is always a nerve racking thing organizing pelagic expeditions, because you have no idea what to expect. You plan it during a time of year when you know the animals normally run through the area, but ultimately, it is left up to nature and the ocean what you will see out there. For this trip, we were after marlin feeding on baitballs. We were also hoping to see other open oceans animals like; whales, mola molas, turtles, sharks and the big O! There is a resident pod of orcas that frequently visits the area and we were hoping for a shot at seeing them as well.

During the month of November the pelagic activity is extremely good around Puerto San Carlos off Baja, Mexico. And after a few years of watching and waiting, I pulled the trigger in February of this year and organized our first trip out to the area to find those fish…at least I hoped we would.

A week before we arrived, there were reports of marlin baitball activity. That’s exactly what you hope to hear, marlin was our main goal of this trip. But that was a week before our trip. Anything can happen in a week. I was a nervous wreck. Which is typical of me on any trip I run.


On the first day of the expedition, expectations were high. We headed out to the area where they had been seeing the baitballs…and nothing! There was no bird activity, which is what helps us find the baitballs. No birds, meant, no sardines and sadly no marlin. We searched the area for a couple of hours. We found a small school of young mahi mahi that we jumped in with for a few minutes. But other than that we had zero signs of life, so we opted for plan B. Plan B was to cut the motors, drop some chum and hang baits and wait for sharks to show up. After 3 hours, we decided to call it a day. No sharks either. Day one was a bust. I was worried but not gutted, We still had 4 more days to find them. Which is why you plan these types of expeditions over several days, to give you the best opportunities to succeed. 

We finished the day with a visit to the shark fishing camp. It is never fun, but it is always good to see what is happening out there. After seeing all the sharks they brought in, it was not hard to wonder why our chum slick was left unanswered. 

When we got back, we heard reports that the marlin had moved on to another area, which was about 45 miles away from where they originally were. The following morning, we woke to clear and sunny skies. The weather was favoring us, and so we buckled in for a long ride out to the area where they had been spotting them. 

Image by Marty Wolff

Image by Marty Wolff

As we were heading out, we spotted some porpoising dolphins in the bay. The dolphins were feeding on sardines and they were joined by tens of thousands of pelican, sea gulls and cormorants. This was easily one of the coolest natural predation events I have ever witnessed. The pelicans were dive bombing the ocean, Gulls were trying to steal away the sardines, the cormorants were diving down to prey on the sardines. We were surrounded by birds. It was an insane spectacle. 

Bird baitball...Image by Marty Wolff

Bird baitball...Image by Marty Wolff

We left the birds and continued to motor out. After a couple hours we found the spot. There was several sport fishing boats in the area, some with marlin on their lines. But still no birds? The marlin were here, but we had no visible signs of birds trying to feed on the sardines that the marlin round up. I was worried that we were in for a second day of skunking. 


We motored around for a little while with no luck. Finally we ran into one of our captain Gabino’s local fishing buddy. He asked if they had seen any baitballs. They said, “oh yea, there are thousands of them over there.” Pointing to an area about a half mile away. We motored over to the area, scanning the skies but still no birds. However as we looked at the ocean’s surface it was boiling over with activity. There were marlin jumping, chasing sardines all over the place. We found an oasis! Strangely there was no birds out there taking advantage of these baitballs, so we had to find them the old fashion way, which is normally really hard to do. Thankfully, because there were so many baitballs everywhere, that made it easy to do.


We jumped in, photographed and filmed baitball after batiball. It was insane. The marlin were on fire and so were we. We even had some bottlenose dolphin join in for a couple of passes. It was such a great day and everything we had hoped for. During the ride home, I sat back with a huge relief washing through me. I was grateful the fishermen were out there, it would of been very hard for us to find them without there help. It was so weird that there were no birds. Frigate birds are how we normally find these types of feeding activities. Yet, they were not around?

marlin 10.jpg

Day three. We headed out for more marlin.  This time the frigate birds were around, making it much easier to find the baitballs. Again, we spent an amazing day with the marlin. 

Towards the end we were all pretty tired, to the point where we skipped turns in the water. We were about to call it a day, when a brydes whale broke the surface  nearby to catch a breath of air. We motored over to where we saw it drop. We cut the motors and scanned the area. It broke the surface about fifty yards away from our boat and was swimming in our direction. We geared up as quickly as we could and silently slid in the water for a shot at seeing the whale. It was diving down and I swam toward it snapping away. There is no greater feeling in the world than when you get to share the water with one of these animals. They are just massive and so breathtakingly beautiful.

brydes whale.jpg


Sadly the weather changed and for our last two days, we were not able to get out to the area where the marlins were, so we stayed local to see what we could find. We chummed again, but no sharks showed up. We ended up spending some time in the bay, checking out the bird action. There are so many birds here, it is unreal. We also set up a photo session with the pelicans which was a lot of fun. 

The trip ended for us and I am so damn happy to report that everyone left happy. The marlin performed like rock stars and if the weather hadn’t turned on us, we would of been able to spend all week with them. We only spent two days with them, but it was enough time for everyone to leave the trip satisfied with the week they spent here in San Carlos. For me the trip was amazing. The ocean life, the birds, the people. It is everything I want from an adventure. I am already excited about next season and the unknown surprises it will bring us. Hopefully, it will be with more marlin, more whales, more birds, lots of sharks and that pod of orcas we so dreamily hope to encounter?

Until then...

Trip Photo Gallery

Birding Images from the Trip

The Photography BUG!

October 30 - So I am taking you all on my wildlife journey with me. I know, I was supposed to video blog my entire 2017 dive travel season, but damn - that become really hard to do, when you are a one man band. By one man band, I am referring to; shooting video and stills, recording blogs, editing stills for social media, editing the videos for our video channels. All the while, hosting our friends, managing trips, as well as, marketing and planning for future trips. It just got really hard to do. Maybe one day, I will have the budget to get it done proper, but until that day comes…going to continue to wear the different hats to keep the circus going.

alligator 2.jpg

Also, right now, I am on a big wildlife photography kick. I truly enjoy shooting stills. For the past 10 years my entire focus has been shooting video, but I think burn out set in and somewhere in 2014 I started trying to shoot less video and more stills. The bug hit me hard this year and I am on a full on kick right now, trying to improve my photography. I still shoot video, because I believe that video tells a way better story. But it is not my main focus. I am enjoying the process right now and this journey that I am on. So videos and video blogs will be few and far between.

blak necked stilt.jpg

For those of you that have been following my story, (I have been writing blogs since 2005), my journey is always ever evolving. Maybe that is due to my ADD mind set, along with my addictive personality? I don’t really know. But so far it has been a lot of fun, even with all the bump and bruises along the way.  Anyway, on to my latest blog and what I have been up too...

We just returned from Tiger Beach (Oct. 21 -27). This was our first SDM trip of the winter tiger season. It was an amazing trip with a lot of really great people. I was on fire to get back there. I had not been there since January of this year, so it was long over due and I was anxious to get there and check on my friends.

October has always been a great time of year to visit Tiger Beach because that is when all our big tigers return to these waters. They normally leave during the summer months and go off to different parts of the world. Some of the tagged TB tigers have been reported off the coast of Cuba, some Florida. Others up the Atlantic towards New York. So crazy how far some of them travel. 

Of course it worries the hell out of me because once the tigers leave the Bahamas, they are no longer protected. Bahamas is a shark sanctuary, but the rest of the Atlantic and waters beyond are not. SO, when my tigers migrate off during the summer, I am always worried some damn fishermen will find them. Especially Hook and Emma, the jaws on these massive tigers would make some dirtbag fisherman, a dream trophy for their wall. I have been working with a few of these tigers for a lot of years now and it would kill me if anything ever happened to them. 

Emma and Hook. Have known both of these sharks for ten years.

Emma and Hook. Have known both of these sharks for ten years.

Hook with a bullet hole. She healed up fine.

Hook with a bullet hole. She healed up fine.

Normally my girls, Hook, Emma, Princess and Tequila are here in October. This year, they were a no-show. We had a few others there; Maui, Freckles, Jitterbug and Zena spent the week with us, but not my main girls. So I am starting out this season a bit on edge. Where the hell are they? One year, Hook showed up with a bullet wound in her. So yes, I am always worried until I seem them safely back in the Bahamas.

On the positive side of things,  the waters at Tiger Beach are still very warm, so I am hoping that is what is causing our big tiger shark aggregation delay this season. I will thankfully be back there the first week of December, and hopefully there will be a nice reunion waiting for us when we get there. I will for sure keep you posted.

Here are a few images from our October trip. I didn’t take them, my partner in crime, Maritza did. I was busy feeding and keeping everyone safe, so I didn’t have a chance to shoot. 


Of course that does make sense when you read the first part of my blog and I am talking about my photography journey, then show case Mari’s work. Well, when I started writing this blog, I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to I just started writing. Plus, I had just finished editing some images of wild deer, my Sophia and I went to photograph yesterday evening. We make it a point to seek out wildlife to photograph everyday when I am home. Most of the time it is birds, but when we find wild mammals to photograph, we are all over it. So here are a few pics from our evening session the other night.

We went at dusk to try and catch the golden light that the setting sun gives off. I have seen so many amazing images from world class photographers when they catch wildlife with this light and the images are just epic. So I have been trying to mimic some of those shots I have seen. I still have a lot of work to do to try and capture that perfect golden moment, but I am slowly on my way…

Thank you for reading...Next adventure report...Pelagics off Baja!