Friday, April 23, 2010

Follow Your Dreams...

Following our Dreams!

A lot has happened out here on our tiny rock in the middle of the Pacific Ocean since we last wrote of jumping in the water with a huge Tiger Shark.  We’ve had great news, bad news, amazing encounters, life changing events and some eye opening realizations.  So much has happened that I’m not even sure where to begin; I guess it’s always easiest to start at the beginning.

All of our friends at work started noticing that something was different when Gwen had to be moved off the boats and into the shop because she was too “sick” to dive.  Things were abnormally strange because Shannon had just moved off the boats because she was pregnant, so there was no hiding our secret at work and everyone new that Gwen and I were expecting a child!  It was very exciting news, we were so excited to become parents.  Uncle Dan and big sister Mango, were almost as excited as Gwen and I. 

Two weeks after Gwen moved into the shop, Dan and I started doing Whale Research again with Rachel Cartwright and the Keiki Kohola Project.  Maui was pretty busy with Spring Break, so Dan and I were having trouble fitting everything in; working at LD, shooting on the research boat, hanging with pregnant Gwen, and even giving Mango the attention she needs.  It was a pretty tough week when everything started hitting at once.

Life has a funny way of working itself out.  I can’t remember what exactly happened first, but everything seemed to come to a head at once.

The saddest news we’ve had in a while came when Gwen and I went to a doctor’s appointment on a Monday.  We found out that Gwen was miscarrying; our little fetus wasn’t developing anymore.  That was really disappointing for Gwen, obviously for me too, but it was extremely hard for Gwen.  Even though we found out that miscarrying is pretty normal and that it is probably her bodies’ way of saying that things weren’t right, it’s still difficult.

Tuesday was looking like a much better day.  Dan and I were about to begin doing research on the Humpback whales!  We had been waiting patiently for a whole year to get back in the water with these amazing animals.  Our plan was to work at Lahaina Divers in the morning and then go out and start doing research in the afternoon.  As usual, no matter how much planning we tried to do ahead of time, Lahaina Divers had different ideas, and even though all shifts were covered and photo’s were taken, I was forced to choose my Lahaina Divers job or my C3 career.  After seven years of hard work for Lahaina Divers, I turned in my keys without a fight or any hesitation.

Whale research was going great.  I was able to spend a full week and half dedicating all of my time to the project.  Unfortunately Dan had to cover a lot of my vacated shifts at Lahaina Divers.  We will never be certain, but it almost seemed as though he was being punished for my leaving?  About a week into the research Dan was forced to make a similar decision at Lahaina Divers.  Things were being changed all around him and so after seven years he chose to leave as well.

It was a weird feeling at first, we didn’t have to wake up early anymore, we didn’t have to wait until eight o’clock at night to see what we were doing the next day, and it seemed as though we were actually going to give our “dream” job a real chance.  In fact, we decided to put all of our time into our Fine Art Photography and to our Cinematography career rather than just run out and get another job that might consume our lives.

It is finally time to see if C3 Submerged can pay our bills and if we can truly “follow our dreams’ and make all that we have been working towards into a reality.  It’s a very scary feeling, but it’s also very exciting.  For the first time in a long time we are free to take the pictures we want, and we have the time to do things the way we want.  We hope that our new works for the next few months will prove that to be true. 

One day we took Mango for a walk to the beach and just went swimming, it seems like a pretty normal thing to do on Maui, but we hadn’t done that in over five years.  We had almost forgotten why we had moved out here, we hadn’t “stopped to smell the roses” in such a long time.  Maui is such a beautiful place to live; we are so lucky that our path has brought us here.

Even though Gwen had just miscarried, Dan and I had no real jobs and we weren’t sure if our little business would make it, we were and are the happiest we’ve been in a long time and it feels great. 

Dan and I tried to do our best work for the Keiki Kohola Project and tried to get the most out of our amazing humpback whale encounters.  So for those of you who don’t know, we actually got asked to work on a research boat and had special permission, (NMFS Permit # 10015 and 895-1450,) to get in the water and try to get good photo’s and video of these enormous critters.  It’s pretty hard to explain what it feels like to swim with an animal that is as large as a bus.  Overall it was amazing, and we can’t wait until we can join the team again next year!  Here is the short movie we put together from the past two weeks:

We were lucky enough to get a few good images from our week and half with the whales.  You should know that we don’t just jump in with the whales whenever we want, there is a ton of research being done.  Rachel Cartwright and the Keiki Kohola Project does a lot of working tracking the mothers and calves of Hawaii.  You can learn a lot more about the research at: It’s very cool stuff.  Some days we didn’t even get in the water, we just followed a playful calf taking GPS coordinates and behavioral notes, but on the days we did get to go in the encounters are always amazing no matter if we get good video or photos.

The research is over this year, and Gwen is feeling better.  Now it’s back to our home office for Dan and I, and time to see if we can make C3 Submerged work.  We’re putting together some of our new images and fixing up our website a bit.  It’s so much fun to have the time to create and have fun with the job that we love so much! 

All in all, things are still moving along.  Even with all the changes, life is great.  Dan and I couldn’t be more excited about the next few months, it’s really time to see if we can make it on our own and see if our dream can become a reality.

Talk soon,