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July 19, 2010

Filming around Cartagena

BY: Jesús Molino


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


Today is my day off. The divers will be filming around Cartagena and are letting me go with them on the two dives they will be doing today.

I put all the diving material Thierry gives me in a bag. After preparing the equipment, we wait for the zodiac from the dive shop to pick us up. At 9:30 on the dot, we see it coming through the port’s main canal. No need to ask questions. The zodiac is flying the alpha flag that lets everyone know there are divers working underneath; we are surrounded by neoprene, regulators and cameras, so there is no doubt we are going to be diving today.

The first dive is on a seamount that begins at 12 meters and goes down to 35. They warn us that the animals down here are wary of humans because of spearfishing, and to make sure we approach them carefully and slowly. If not, we’ll get a bunch of shots of fish tails swimming away. I don’t want to get in the way and Thierry recommended I stay back so I don’t get in the way of any shots. As soon as we reach the bottom, Carlos Suarez and Kike Talledo are “shooting” (with the camera, of course) every living thing they see. Carlos is lying on the sand trying to camouflage himself, pointing his lens at a tiny crab (which I didn’t see until he showed me the photograph). Fifty meters away, Kike is hiding between some rocks, filming two moray eels biting each other. Watching them work like that, I don’t know if they’re lunatics or geniuses, I suppose a little of both… At the end of the dive, we see why we have to be careful down here when we approach the animals: we see three barracudas and when we try to approach them, they quickly swim away.

During the second dive, this time with more current, we see an ocean sunfish, various moray eels and many other species like algae, corals, crustaceans and sponges. They drop us off and the zodiac follows us. That way, we won’t have to fight against the current to return. Like last time, the cameramen are trying hard not to be seen, hiding behind rocks, to make sure they don’t influence the behaviour of the animals and the result is a collection of impressive images. Thanks to the respect with which these men work, trying so hard not to be seen, to not disrupt or touch anything, being observers and not hunters, we have been able to see the animals’ natural behaviour during the two dives. It was a great day and seeing the results, I think they really are geniuses, either that or I’m the one going a little crazy…