Berkley White: The crew at Backscatter sent us out the door with 13 check-on bags of demo gear weighing 69.9 pounds each. From point and shoot cameras to video rigs mounted on scooters, we are only missing the kitchen sink. We made friends with airline clerks and returned the custom agents stink eyes with beaming smiles. It was great to finally see the friendly faces at Divi Bonaire with all our bags in tow.
We've now received 70 percent of the Shootout guests and spent the morning helping folks set up their gear. Gear set up was mostly a breeze and only had to break out the tools a few times. Jim Decker prevented unnecessary surgery on a clients rig, by remembering a sneaky camera setting. This is what the shootout is all about... helping people keep their gear running so they can focus on techniques.
At our staff meeting tonight, I was struck by what a great crew of pros we have this year. Digital Shootout guests are in for a treat. This enthusiastic crew is ready to get everyone to the next level... no matter their incoming skill set.
After our airline exposure our gills are finally wet and island time is starting to sink in. Bring on the nitrogen and flash cards.
Daniel Brown: Okay, it's good to finally be here. Long plane rides, invasive or overly-chatty seat mates seem a distant memory. Familiar faces appear from dive shop, lobby, a room or two and - in some cases - from the bar after that all-important "I'm on vacation NOW" beer. Gear works (aside from a well- chewed and now replaced mouth piece), now it's time to assemble the camera and housing...
Jennifer Penner:While many of you may be questioning the condition of Bonaire's reef's after Hurricane Omar's destruction, I can report that the reef is still healthy. Today I saw a school of 19 squid, lined up from smallest to largest! In the last couple days, I've seen many small eels, octopi and a ton of juveniles in the shallows. Pool's open! Let's go diving!
Dan Baldocchi: Welcome to the Shootout! I'm glad to see everyone arrived today safe and
sound, and with all your luggage. That's a good start! After a thorough
dive briefing we set up our gear and did a check out dive to make sure we're
all set to start boat diving tomorrow. Let the fun begin.
Tomorrow we'll kick off an action packed week of diving. 2 tank boat dives
in the morning, photo and video classes in the afternoon, and an slide show
critique each night. I can't wait to see the great images we have by the
end of the week! Stay tuned....
David Fleetham: Last year at the shootout here there were two dive sites with schools
of squid. I loved them. This afternoon I found twenty squid in 14
feet of water just 50 yards off the dock right in front of the dive
shop. I spent the last half hour of my dive with them. By the end of
the half hour they had calmed down and were getting used to my
presence...and I was running out of air. I know where I'm diving
Lenny Bucko: I finally arrived back in Bonaire after a year away.
Hard to believe the time has flown by but we are back in the warm ,clear water again.
Jet lag surrounds me as I look at my fellow shooters who have been up all night to get here but as crazy as it sounds we all went diving instead of going to bed to get back on schedule.
How much weight do I need,are my stobes working,where is my mask defog????????
All important questions but getting in the water was my first goal like a duck freshly hatched from the egg.
The second half of the team arrives tomorrow and then the games begin.
Stay thirsty my friends.