Deep in the Mangroves

Pindito is now in Sorong where we will re-provision the boat, drop off exposed IMAX® film, and pick up the additional unexposed film we left in storage here ten days ago.   Hopefully, the 22 rolls of 70mm film we have shot so far (about one hour of total running time) will be shipped back to Los Angeles for processing during the next few days.  It would be great to get a report on the technical quality of the film, but that probably won’t happen before we finish shooting in two weeks time. 
The crew aboard our live-aboard dive boat, Pindito, is only one of four MacGillivray Freeman film units working here in Raja Ampat.  We left Greg MacGillivray and the topside team at the Raja Ampat Dive Lodge last night, where they are filming the coral reef conservation efforts of villagers.  DJ Roller and his underwater team left for Misool several days ago and reports good conditions there. Michael Kalem and the aerial unit have already been here and gone. We will head for Misool tonight, and I am looking forward to clear water and the beautiful dive sites Michele and I scouted last year.
Our filming in the Dampier Strait is now done.  I was extremely happy with the manta ray footage we captured.  We should have wonderful images of mantas being cleaned and several excellent shots of manta rays feeding on plankton.  The cleaning behavior was the best I have ever seen.  It should provide some truly exceptional IMAX moments for the film.

© 2013 IMAX Corporation and MacGillivray Freeman Films. Photographer: MC

We also captured some sweeping underwater reef-scapes featuring more species of coral than I could count.  Sometimes the swarms of reef fish over the coral were so dense I had trouble actually seeing the coral itself.
We also captured underwater images deep in the local mangroves.  The water was surprisingly clear and the mangrove roots were festooned in soft corals and sponges.  Just outside the mangroves, a coral reef flourished and clouds of damselfish hovered over stony gardens.  Hopefully these images will help demonstrate the importance of mangrove forests in maintaining the health of coral reefs.

© 2013 IMAX Corporation and MacGillivray Freeman Films. Photographer: Michele Hall

Weather in Sorong today is wet.  The skies have been dumping buckets of rain accompanied by violent crashes of thunder and lightning.  The weather will probably calm down as we move away from the main island and head to Misool.  At least, I hope so.  Tomorrow we will be diving the myriad tiny islands surrounding Misool.  Last year some of these locations yielded many of the most beautiful images I have ever captured.  I hope we do as well during the next few weeks.

© 2013 IMAX Corporation and MacGillivray Freeman Films. Photographer: Howard Hall

© 2013 IMAX Corporation and MacGillivray Freeman Films
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