The Rum Diary, Part II

So there is no “Rum Diary, Part I” but I do mention Hunter Thompson’s Rum Diary in another post and I’m in a similar sort of mood so… close enough.  In fact, I’m still making my way through that book over a month later.  Finishing it is taking a long time, as do most things in the islands.  Time to read is in short supply.  My drive to capture some sort of lasting images of this place doesn’t leave much time for things that can be done elsewhere.  I’m a short-timer these days and will be heading back north in 2 weeks.  This gives my days an uncharacteristic urgency that not even the heat and the rum can dull.  Okay, they dull it a bit.

Chief among my final efforts have been telephoto time-lapses of the moon over the water and trying to get some good lemon shark footage.  The “right” moon has been coinciding with strong winds the last few days making it hard to get smooth telephoto time-lapses.  And lemon sharks are shy.  Most filmmakers in need of lemon shark footage go to one of the few places where you can have guaranteed close lemon shark encounters.  Jim Abernethy’s diving trips comes to mind.  For a few thousand dollars you will get your fill of face time with the lemons.  Getting close enough for a good shot on your own in the wild though is another matter.  I’ll spend all day slowly poling the boat around in the shallows looking for lemons.  After spotting them and slipping into the water so as to intersect their path I sometimes get a shot, in murky water, of a lemon shark passing by at 20 yards – And I’m elated until I realize that complete amateurs with enough money are filming lemon sharks eating and birthing from mere inches on Jim’s shark dive excursions.  Oh well.   At least as some small consolation I can proclaim at the end of the film that no captive or baited animals were used.  Lemon sharks have pupils that dialate extremely fast to allow them to follow fish through changing light.  They are the fastest accelerating shark in the ocean.  They occupy extremely small ranges (several hundred yards) for the first several years of their lives and have very predictable movement patterns.  They get up to 10 feet long.  In short, they’re super cool and one could do much worse than to boat around the flats all day trying to catch up with one.  Lemon sharks are just one character in this amazing underwater world that I hope will play a role in my upcoming film, “Exuma.”  But between now and then, there is an awful lot of editing to be done.  2 Weeks left to write in the rum diary and chase sharks and sunsets in the impossible blue waters of the Exumas.

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