Jean-Michel Cousteau: Ocean Adventures

Sharks at Risk
The Gray Whale Obstacle Course
America's Underwater Treasures
Return to the Amazon
Sea Ghosts: Belugas
Call of the Killer Whale


Voyage to Kure: Expedition Diaries

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Day 27: Filming Sharks

Yves Lefevre
Yves Lefevre. Photo credit: Tom Ordway

I have years of experience filming sharks around the world, and I never expected to see so many sharks that are so easy to film here at the NWHI.

- Yves Lefevre, Underwater Cameraman

Maro Reef

Date: 8/2/03
Location: N25°25.8' W170°41'
Weather: Partly cloudy, wind 11 knots
Sea Conditions: Choppy seas, swells 4-6 feet

On one of their final days, the team discovers one of its favorite dive locations of the expedition at Maro Reef. During one hour-long dive, they are constantly surrounded by a dozen 40-poundjacks, and they see hundreds of juvenile Galapagos sharks off in the distance. Holly free-dives for as long as she can with the large schools of sharks; the team leaves the water only because they have to make it to their next destination.

Yves Lefevre, Underwater Cameraman:

I have years of experience filming sharks around the world, and I never expected to see so many sharks that are so easy to film here at the NWHI. The challenge of filming sharks is trying to capture their natural behavior on film, and here we were lucky to get the sharks hunting and feeding at night. We even spotted a potential attack of a tiger shark on a Hawaiian monk seal, but because it was too far away, we were not able to film it.

We are excited to share an interesting observation of a Hawaiian monk seal (tag #030) hanging around our vessel during the two days we were at Kure Atoll.

Cameraman Yves Lefevre filming underwater with a high definition camera. Photo credit: Tom Ordway
Click to enlarge
She was especially curious about our zodiacs and swim step during our night dives, and the last night we were all excited to see her feed on two flying fish at the surface, just off the stern of the boat. What we noticed is that she would grab a fish and play with it for awhile, biting it almost in half, attracting many Galapagos sharks to the feeding frenzy. We even noticed one shark almost successfully grabbing her hind flipper by mistake. We can now see why many of the monk seals have scars caused by smaller sharks.

What's fun

Our boat was filled with Laysan flies from yesterday's visit, and today we had a contest, with a reward given by Ronda, on who could eliminate the most flying pests. So far I am in first place.

What's a bummer

To see a Galapagos shark with a hook in its mouth while diving the protected Coral Reef Reserve.

Name three great things from the past few days

Filming the Galapagos sharks and the amber jacks hunting at night while we were at Kure Atoll; a quick visit with a Hawaiian monk seal while diving at night, a seal that touched my arm and stared into my mask; sighting eagle rays displaying courtship dances while diving in the early evening at Laysan Island.