Monday, December 03, 2007

Must Buy!

I did not realize it then - but that red cruise ship sinking in Antarctica on November 23 had previously been the Lindblad Explorer.

That's the ship where I first met Ron and Valerie Taylor 30 years ago.
There was Bengt Danielsson from the Kon Tiki, big Mike McDowell was the Cruise Director, Jeremiah Sullivan was in charge of diving and Ron would take down a fat american lady to dive on (!) the anchor chain, where she would spend a grand total of 20 minutes happily snapping away at passing fish. She had just bought herself a new underwater housing and was complaining that the strobe, a brand-new, state-of-the-art Oceanic 2001, wasn't working.
Ron, then at the very top of his game, smiled his ever patient, humble smile and asked: "Did you switch it on?"
Of course she hadn't.

I adored Ron. Of course, like everybody else, I fell in love with Valerie.
I did my first wreck dive on the Coolidge, barely escaped a tribal war in Kiriwina, bought a trolling lure on Tikopia, got stitched up by a sword seller in Suva and later harrassed by the gay manager of Fiji's Mana Island Resort.
A memorable trip. Still beats me why I ever went back to Fiji.

Valerie then cooked me the first of her delicious dinners in their lovely home in Sydney (the last one being when she and Brenda Adkison torched my kitchen in Pacific Harbour) and we've been best friends ever since. They are the most wonderful, humble, loving people ever.
Ron and Val have been involved in the Fiji Shark Project ever since we discussed its outline on the back deck of Pelagian during the 2002 Voyage of Discovery, one of many memorable expeditions we've since done together.
I owe them my first lessons in underwater photography ("get close") and videography ("aim and press the red button"), thousands of insights into shark behaviour ("tiger sharks are sweet") and our very best marketing endorsement.

But above all, I owe them my first introduction to the wonderful world of the Shark.
Their epic movie "Blue Water White Death" showcases some of the most dramatic, jaw-dropping shark footage ever filmed, never to be repeated again. It has been finally released on DVD after having been lost in CBS' vaults for several decennia.

A must buy!

Ron and Valerie will be with us in February for the running of the Bulls.

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