|Abord the Fulmar while filming at Cordell Bank|
There's this place out there off the coast of northern California. I have hardly met a person who's known where it is. "North of the Farallones" is usually what I say, but not many people have been out there either. Usually, they equate it with great white sharks. I guess that's fair, I'm pretty sure it's breeding territory out there.
Well, this past week, along the quest to develop out a film on Cordell Bank, I met with Dr. Bob Schmieder. Not many people have ever heard of him either. Yet. The amazing thing about Dr. Bob is that he's the one largely responsible for the place being protected... a National Marine Sanctuary. more to be said about that alone, but for now it's enough to say he's put a lot on the line to make sure that an otherwise little known ecosystem will remain rich with marine life. Since you can't get there without a boat, the idea for the film is to make this spectacular place more accessible to the rest of us.
Last October I accompanied three teams of NOAA tech divers. They were some of the first divers to visit the underwater mountain that is the "bank" perched on the edge of the continental shelf. That is, one of the first since Bob began leading divers out there in the late 1970's. We were surrounded most of the time by pods of Humpback whales, Blue whales, black footed albatross, dolphins and lots and lots of krill.
This story keeps unfolding and getting more and more interesting. Marine biologist and filmmaker, David McGuire and I are working together with Dr. Bob to bring an amazing story of sacrifice and commitment to the surface, along with some great underwater footage. Stay tuned, it'll be worth the wait. The footage from the deep water dives, 100' to 200' is pretty spectacular.
We're in story development at the moment and will be looking for funding. PBS Natural Heroes, the program airing In the Wake of Giants, has already said they want the film for next season. Could be a great ride!