Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Tiger Beach 1.0: First Trip of 2011

Just returned to Miami after my first trip to the island this year. It was wonderful to be back, as I always feel like I am at home there. The weather was a little chilly, but it is winter after all. It was a shorter trip than usual because 2011 is already busy busy, not that I am complaining. The purpose of this trip was to take WWE wrestling legend, The Undertaker on a private trip to Tiger Beach. I will admit that I am not a wrestling fan, but I do remember my male friends LOVING it as kids. The Undertaker was a character that I knew. I immediately worried about him getting a wetsuit and being comfortable in the cage. He is 6’8 and a rugged guy.

We met in the morning just before departure and Mark quickly warmed up with conversation. He is very passionate about what he does and has committed a better part of 25 years to it. He is a certified diver that has broke the surface in places that are high on my To Dive list. He was excited to get back in the ocean after a long dry spell. The lemon shark welcome committee wasted no time in making our new guest feel at home. There is such a charge of energy when that first shark arrives. 1 by 1, the troops appeared and before long we were in the cage with 10 lemons swimming around.

As an instructor, you are trained to read people’s eyes. This let’s you know how they are feeling in the water. The Undertaker was like a kid on Christmas morning. He was the same size as many of the lemons, but there were a few 8 footers that made even him feel small. His son climbed in and together they watched these amazing animals weave in and out around the cage. Both of them were smiling, trying to keep their regulators in. I love these moments!!!!

Then the dark shadow appeared. Our first tiger had come to the party. I immediately recognized her because of the mangled right jaw; a souvenir left by someone’s hook.
She is skinny compared to the other ladies of the beach and is rather skittish. Such a beautiful and powerful animal, fearful and uneasy. This is the capacity that humans have. We are are able to reduce these incredible creatures to a state of fear, or even worse, a jaw or fin. My dive team was excited and watched as she moved in and out of sight, ever cautious.

I counted 15 lemons and our tiger at one point. A beautiful day at the beach! Mark was thrilled and couldn’t believe how close they came to us. Exciting to see someone who has traveled the world and accomplished some incredible things, so amazed by sharks.
Another rewarding trip and some new shark enthusiasts heading out to share their story.

Thank you to Incredible Adventures for making the trip happen.

Princeton Tec Photo Contest Win

Checked out the page and noticed that I had won the Be Professional Category with this pic. New dive lights!!!!

Beyond Bottom Time Photo Contest

Monday, January 3, 2011

Tiger Beach June 2011

Dive into Tiger Beach with OceanicAllstars
June 11-18, 2011
Join Duncan Brake & Jillian Morris for the dive adventure of a lifetime.
Tiger Beach is one of the world shark diving Meccas and draws divers, scientists & film crews from across the globe. The pristine shallow waters provide the perfect setting to interact with these amazing creatures. See Tigers, lemons, Caribbean Reefs, nurse and even Great Hammerheads. Some of the best reef diving in the Caribbean is near by along with the wild Atlantic Spotted Dolphins that love to play. The M/V Kate is the ideal dive vessel and provides all the amenities need for a great week on the water.
Duncan and Jillian will offer underwater photo & video seminars as well a shark education & conservation talk. With only 6 divers, there is ample time in the water and you can dive on your own schedule.
Fly into Grand Bahama and journey to the West End where you will stay the night at Old Bahama Bay, a luxury boutique resort. Enjoy local fair and the beautiful white sand beaches before you depart on your adventure.

June 10: Fly into Grand Bahama Island
Spend the night at Old Bahama Bay Resort
June 11: Depart for Tiger Beach ( 1/2 day of diving)
June 12: Full Day of Diving at Tiger Beach
June 13: Full Day of Diving at Tiger Beach
June 14: Full Day of Diving at Tiger Beach
June 15: Full Day of Coral Reef diving
June 16: Full Day with the Atlantic Spotted Dolphins
June 17: Half day of diving and return to West End ( stay on boat)
June 18: Guests Fly home

Only 6 divers
All meals ( vegan & vegetarian available)
Hotel Accommodation at Old Bahama Bay ( June 3 night)
Underwater Photo/Video Seminars
Shark Conservation Seminar

Not Included: Flight to Grand Bahama

To Book your Space: $500.00 Deposit due upon booking.

For more information please contact

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 Review....crazy ride

On this second day of the new year, I am being attentive to my blog. I am at home in NH where the ground is white with snow and the house is cozy ( fireplace and hot tea included). I am heading back to Florida this week to prepare the first Bahamas trip of the year. Reflecting on 2010 and excited about 2011.

2010 marked a very busy year for us and 2011 promises to bring more adventures.
After a whirlwind tour of Ireland, England, Scotland and Spain we headed back to New England for some really winter weather! Lots of snow!

February took us to New Zealand to film and and to also be on camera talent for National Geographic’s series Hooked. We spent nearly 3 weeks in New Zealand filming marlin, bronze whaler sharks and other big fish. This included 5 days on a boat around the shores of Three Kings Islands. It is here where 2 oceans come together and the wildlife is incredible! New Zealand is rugged and wild...and they have pink sheep!

In March we dove into reality TV and filmed Kourtney & Khloe Kardashian doing a discover scuba for their show “ Kourtney & Khloe Take Miami II. Random shoot with mega yachts and mansions on South Beach. Not our typical gig, but definitely a fun one. Duncan was awarded a new diving BC for winning the Shark Trust 2010 video contest with footage of a lemon shark giving birth!

April and May were non stop, as we headed to Long Island in the Bahamas to film the Vertical Blue Freediving Event at Dean’s Blue Hole. Here we saw National and World Records fall, including William Trubridge’s swim to 300 ft on a single breathe of air without using fins. With only a day in Miami, we were off to Belize to help with the annual Glover’s Reef Shark Survey. Here we tagged sharks, as well as filming the research station and the work that is being done there. The people of Belize really understand how valuable the ocean is and we loved every minute of our time in the country.

June was filled with time on Grand Bahama island and several trips to Tiger Beach, one of our favorite places on the planet. This island has become our second home and we have even moved some of our belongings there. Wishful thinking I guess....
I also suffered a nasty spider bite ( grrrr) which I self diagnosed. Antibiotics and a little field medicine and I survived. The scar is pretty minimal considering the hole it left in my arm. I dive with sharks for a living and a spider got me!

July also included a trip to Grand Bahama and more TIGER SHARKS!! Explored the West End and found some amazing dive spots. Healthy coral and lots of critters. This month I was also asked to be an advisory board member for the Shark Free Marina Initiative. This is a campaign that we have worked with since its inception and are very passionate about. It prohibits fisherman from bringing dead sharks into the marina. It is designed to encourage catch and release if people insist on fishing for sharks.

August: Back to shooting random reality TV. We filmed an auction of very expensive items from a man imprisoned for a Ponzi scheme. This included a Bugatti Veyron, the world’s fasted production car. Only a cool 1.5 million for this rare automobile. It sold for $850,000 at auction, so I guess that is a deal? Only 5 in the world and it is definitely a pretty car. I then headed north to see the family and Duncan hopped across the pond to see his. While home I spoke to 6th graders at Berwick Academy about sharks and why we need to save them! I love going into the classroom! Such inspiration.

September we enjoyed the leaves in New England for a bit and then headed back to Miami. A day in Florida and then back to Grand Bahama for a shoot at Tiger Beach with a German film team. Lots of travel.

I celebrated my 29th birthday on the island with some of my best friends, big tiger sharks, fancy dinner on a yacht and a birthday tiara. Eeek almost 30! October also marked the loss of my grandfather. I was able to see him twice this year, which is rare, but was precious. Norman Watters you are in my heart and will always be in the sea with me. This brought Duncan and I back to Maine to help my grandmother for a few weeks.

November was probably the most hectic and incredible month of the year. Duncan kneeled in the Atlantic Ocean at Long Sands Beach in York, Maine and asked me to marry him!!!! This was after he convinced me to take my shoes off and see how cold the water really was. I am a sissy now about the cold. Island life has ruined my tolerance. I am glad I ventured in. Then on Nov 27 Duncan headed to Hobart, Tasmania to begin a 3 month shoot in Antarctica for the Animal Planet show Whale Wars. I was a bit disappointed as they don’t hire women to film... is this 1950s? The Sea Shepard boats go down to protect whales from the Japanese boats that say they are collecting scientific samples. It is a radical movement, but is making a difference.

2010 was also busy with articles& photos in Deeper Blue, Shark Savers, Make a Wish, Bahamas National Trust, Bahamas Daily News, InStyle Magazine, Hawaii Skin Diver Magazine, Shark Diver Magazine, Beyond Blue, Women’s Adventure Magazine Winter Issue and one in GAFF Magazine that highlighted our sharky adventures as a couple. Duncan even took my last name for the piece. A good story for our kids one day.

I am excited for the adventures that 2011 has in store. Bahamas, Australia, Fiji and England are planned and numerous other projects are starting to fill up the time.
Energized and passionate, I am jumping head first into several major conservation projects and this makes my heart incredibly happy.

Best Fishes,


Best Fishes for 2011

My blog performance for 2010 was fairly pathetic. I devoted my writing to articles, scripts and educational materials, all of which were incredibly fulfilling. Like millions of others, I am making my resolutions for 2011. They include health and wellbeing, but also a promise to give more attention to my lonely blog page. I intend to share personal stories, but also provide conservation information and news that I think is important. I do hope you enjoy!