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Crocodile Diving in Mexico

I cut together a quick vlog session for our Youtube channel, from our July 2018 crocodile expedition. It was a really good trip. The crocodiles were rock stars. Normally we have between 1 to 3 crocs on these trips. On this day, we had seven crocodiles try to come in, and by try I mean, they did come in, but they quickly got chased off by our dominate crocodile at the dive site, Gambit. Gambit is a big croc that has been the top crocodile here for quite a few years. Anyway, it was a really good trip and I had fun reminiscing . The comments our friends made that had joined us out there were really special. I hope you enjoy…

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Anaconda Diving

Earlier this season when we visited the Pantanal to go diving with anacondas, I recorded this interview with our host operator, Daniel de Granville. It was a quick fun chat, discussing the myths surrounding anacondas vs. the reality of this very special animal. I recorded this interview for an upcoming podcast show we have planned for 2019. However, I also wanted to share it on our Youtube Channel. So here it is, I hope you enjoy.

Spotted Dolphin Photo Album

We just added a photo album from our 2018 expedition to swim with these animals off Bimini. We learned alot about photographing these fast moving animals, which is a challenge because they move so fast, so you can not shoot with lower shutter speeds. You can if you are going for an effect, but if you want sharp images of these speed demons flying past you, a quicker shutter speed is required.

Thankfully, the waters off Bimini, Bahamas are amazing and forgiving, so you can bump up the shutter speed without necessarily raising your ISO too much. So I was able to shoot them with, between a 200-400 ISO. So I photographed most of these images with between a 500-700 shutter speed, F8 and between 200-400 ISO.

I also normally post more topside images of our friends who joined us on our adventures, which I use my Iphone for. However, I drowned my phone in Africa this summer, on the sardine run, so sadly, I lost all my images from this trip. So sorry about this guys…

So if you are interested in checking out our photo gallery, please
click here. Or on the photo. Thank you my friends for visiting our website.

Grey Whale Vlog

I cut together a vlog from our first visit to Baja for grey whales. It was an emotional day for me. I was overwhelmed with how incredible this experience was. Which is probably why it took me so long to release this video. I was embarrassed but after looking at it again, I dont care, how I feel is how I feel. Anyway, I hope you enjoy.

Photo Gallery for our Tiger and Great Hammerhead December Expedition

We just returned from our final trip of the 2018 season. We visited the Bahamas for tiger sharks and great hammerheads, which was the last trip of the season for us. It was a great trip with a lot of tiger sharks and a visit from Patches the great hammerhead. We also were given a very white Christmas when Hook the tiger shark returned to Tiger Beach after being gone for 2 years. I was afraid she was killed by fishermen and I was ever so happy to be wrong. So here is a photo album from the trip. Hope you guys enjoy…

Hook, the tiger shark.

Hook, the tiger shark.

Striped Marlin Baitballs off Baja Mexico

So we just returned from our annual trip to Puerto San Carlos, Mexico for a shot at swimming with striped marlins hunting sardines and mackerel. It was an epic success. We spent two weeks out there and had the opportunity to not only photograph these amazing animals but share a fun story for our youtube channel as well. Here is the video I co-hosted with my buddy Chris Doherty… hope you enjoy.

I also just shared a photo album from the trip which we posted yesterday with my favorite images from the adventure. Hope you enjoy.

The Making of a National Geographic Photographer

Hey guys, so here is the latest episode of SDM adventures. We were invited by our friends at Big River Brewery to present our daughter Sophia’s photography work. She was nervous and excited and totally up for the challenge of putting herself out there to showcase her work. She is such a fun kid and full of energy. Super proud of her accomplishments and her passion for wildlife photography…hope you enjoy.

Tiger Shark Madness in the Bahamas

Hey guys, just wanted to share our latest and the first episode of our new weekly Youtube series, entitled, SDM Adventures. We started our Youtube channel back in 2011, but it has been off and on for new shows through the years, with no real direction. So I decided to commit to creating a series that shares our adventures, the highs and the lows of this crazy life we are living. So with no further ado, here it is.

A little back ground on this episode; we visited Tiger Beach in the Bahamas, last week to kick off the winter tiger shark season. October is when all the big females return to these waters to breed, socialize and fatten up a little before they leave to give birth. We spent five days here and dove 16 times during the week. On our second dive of the trip we had two tiger sharks show up and on the second to the last dive, we had 9 tiger sharks show up. It was one hell of a week.

In this episode I take you through our week, hope you enjoy…

Thank you for watching, if you like what you see, please share this video. Truly would appreciate that. Again we will be posting a weekly episode so please subscribe to our channel to check out more episodes.

6 tiger sharks on our 4th day of diving.

6 tiger sharks on our 4th day of diving.

I AM THE SHARK WHISPERER???

“I AM THE SHARK WHISPERER,” I had those words floating through my head today, as I was on a morning jog, “Eli the Shark Whisperer.” Those words have been used to describe me throughout much of my career. Even at the peak of all the craziness, I never liked, believed or cared to be called that. In fact, I freaking hated being called that… because I always felt like it was not true and I was a fake.

Image by Juan Oliphant

Image by Juan Oliphant


Image by Paul Spielvogel

Image by Paul Spielvogel

The facts are, as much as I know and understand shark behavior, especially the species that I have had the pleasure of working intimately with, I really do not know anything about sharks. They are, and will always, continue to be a mystery to me. I have been blessed with sharing countless hours with sharks, and I have been allowed extended glimpses into their lives; and that has allowed me to learn things and behaviors about these animals that few get to see, or understand. But even with that, the idea that I am, or was, some sort of whisperer, makes me laugh. 

The thought that anyone could be considered a shark whisperer is a silly idea to me, because there are over 500 different species of sharks. They all have different personalities, hunting behaviors, the way they interact with each other, they are all so very different. So unless you have shared time with every single species of shark, the idea of being some kind of master is… well, you get it.

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Plus, these are truly wild animals and even though I have spent a lot of time with many different shark species, especially tiger sharks, I never once felt comfortable, or fell under any illusions that I could snuggle up to them, or that they are some sort of loyal pet. I have always known that if I screwed up, I would pay the ultimate price, at the hands (or mouth), of one of my favorite sharks. That knowledge always drove me to stay vigilant when I was/am down there. 

From Ripley’s Believe it or Not, annual book.

From Ripley’s Believe it or Not, annual book.

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I have seen a few other people out there being called the same thing… and maybe they are? A few pros I know, have been diving with the same sharks for 20 plus years, and know their sharks intimately, they for sure are deserving of that kind of title. They have a deep understanding of their sharks, and for that I do give them props, and I have mad respect for them. But just like me, they lack experience with other species of sharks, and probably, just like me, may find that name uncomfortable.

And don’t get me wrong, I truly appreciated that people would say that about me. Because it meant they respected my work - and it is a good feeling when people see what you have done, and show some love. I think at our core we all want to be appreciated for our life’s work, but to be called some kind of master, just never sat well with me, because I knew that I wasn’t.  

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Anyway, as we move forward, I am sure I will see future news stories, with new Shark Whisperers, - all with killer images, trying new things and sharing new behaviors with us. Which is the way it is supposed to be - The passion of shark diving, should always be that we move forward, and someone NEEDS to continue carrying the torch; showing people what sharks are truly like. Who knows…maybe, just maybe, a shark diver will show up, that truly is a real Shark Whisperer, and they will be able to come in and finally get a tiger shark to lay down on their lap, or the ultimate, roll a white shark. Now, that is a person that I would love to dive with and learn from. But until that day comes, the world is stuck with the one’s that we have… including a fake one like me.

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. 

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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. 

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