Hello Swish Readers! Yes it is finally here, the blog you have been waiting for, the big one. . .
Swish had the pleasure of making an eco-chic wetsuit for Rob Stewart of the award winning documentary Sharkwater.
The project all started when Chelsea and I got wind that Rob was making a new film called "Rise Again", which is themed around sustainability and that he would be heading to Isla Mujeres in order to film whale sharks. hmmm. . . someone needs a freediving full wetsuit.
Some people questioned why we were making a suit for a man when we are a female based company. To which I reply, "umm. . . because he is Rob Stewart?" but in all seriousness, Rob is a truly lovely man and it was important to all of us to make sure that he had the highest quality ECO suit to film in.
I headed down to drop off the suit for Rob in Mexico. I was so nervous that I would lose it on the way and the whole journey would be for naught!
The first night in I had the pleasure of meeting Rob Stewart as well Jim Abernethy, a leading shark conservationist. Needless to say, I learned a lot at that table!
Rob and the crew spent the week going out everyday and filming in the beautiful blue.
I was also fortunate enough to be invited on the boat the last day. The tour was led by Shawn Heinrichs, of Blue Sphere Media (check it out! amazing films), who serves on the board of Shark Savers and WildAid.
Also on the boat was Bob McNerney (Bob McNerney's Sharks) who leads Great White out of cage trips, Brian Cushard (who I thank for the awesome photos), and Christine Henrichs. Whoa. . . Awesome shark people!
We headed out early in the morning. The previous night everyone had been telling me that they saw 300 whale sharks the day before. I was thinking that they had be exaggerating and that we would probably see about 50 spordically, which I was still super pumped about considering that I had never even seen one. About 20 km off the coast, Bob taps me on the shoulder and points out towards the horizon. I turn around and apparently my eyes got huge and my jaw dropped. Yes there really were 200-300 whale sharks out there. The look on my face was met by giggles from the boat...
The whale sharks congregate off the coast of Isla every year in order to feed off the spawning of bonito eggs. The eggs are so bountiful that everyone was covered in eggs by the end of the day... except for Rob and I in our excellently sealed Swish Suits.
No words can describe the feeling of swimming with these gentle giants. To see a creature that is so majestic and also mysterious causes the emotion of the sublime a bit as we cannot fully comprehend the situation that we in. Whale Sharks can reach up to 12 meters in length, spend significant time at 980 meters, and are migratory. They are a bit of a mystery still, even though they have been around for 60 million years .
Given all that we know of threats to the conservation of whale sharks- oil spill, shark finning, habitat destruction, and so on -- it was truly inspiring to see so many in one place! In fact it was so crowded that you really had to pay attention to the game of whale shark bumper cars.
Check out our video too, documenting Victoria's trip to dive with whale sharks.
"Rise Again" should be out in 2011. I know one person who is very excited!
To all of you men out there that are now jealous of how good Rob looks in his suit, I reply, you make an award winning documentary and I will make you a suit! And, if you havn't seen it yet, do yourself a favor and watch Sharkwater.