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By Blog Editor on Thursday, December 09, 2010

“When a man is tired of False Bay, he is tired of life; for there is in False Bay all that life can afford”: Adapted from Samuel Johnson’s description of London in 1777.

Why, however much I travel and dive in exotic locations, do I love to return to the often cold and murky waters of False Bay? It is a place with which I never tire. It may be the fact that I learnt to dive there many years ago or the amazing reef biodiversity or the fact that I can see anything there from white sharks, dolphins, seals and whales to a baitball as intense as any to be seen on the famous Natal Sardine Run. The kelp forests, that dominate the western shore of the Bay, support their own unique and complex ecosystems. Here may be found large sevengill sharks or small catsharks that roll into a ball, putting their tails over their eyes when held by a diver, thereby getting the local name of “skaamhaai” or “shyshark”.

By Blog Editor on Thursday, December 09, 2010

“South Africa is one of the sharkiest coasts on earth”: Sir David Attenborough in his narration for the BBC’s “Shark Coast”

In the Beginning

In 1987 I had the privilege of leading a team of divers to explore Dragon’s Breath in Namibia, the largest subterranean lake in the world. It was in this mysteriously magical place that I found “a world within a world”, bringing back childhood memories of reading Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Centre on the Earth”.

By Blog Editor on Wednesday, March 10, 2010
When my plane touched down in the small Mozambiquean village of Inhambane, I was unsure what to expect. I had been sent to Mozambique by French Television’s “Ushuaia Nature” on the TF1 channel to film manta rays off Praia do Tofo, a small village about 20 kms from the airport. On arrival in Tofo, I met Andrea Marshall who heads the Foundation for the Protection of Marine Megafauna, a marine research and conservation organisation. Andrea’s work on mantas was to be the focus of this documentary. Previously, a French team was in Tofo working on the same production but they were unlucky with both sea conditions and manta sightings. I was now given only four days to get the critical underwater sequences.
By Blog Editor on Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Benguela Current, classified as a large marine ecosystem, is one of the most strongly wind driven coastal upwelling systems known.

The current extends from roughly Cape Point in the south, to Angola in the north. The current is driven by south easterly winds. Inshore of the Benguela Current proper, the south easterly winds drive coastal upwelling, forming the Benguela Upwelling System. The cold and often clear, nutrient rich waters that upwell from around 200-300 m depth in turn fuel high rates of phytoplankton growth, and sustain the productive Benguela ecosystem.
By Blog Editor on Friday, August 28, 2009
I have been working with tiger sharks for many years and, while they can become a bit aggressive near the baiting station, I have found them to be remarkably docile for a shark with the reputation of a dangerous “man-eater”.
By Blog Editor on Friday, August 28, 2009
There is a place in False Bay, conveniently positioned in the protection of the rocky coastline, called Pyramid Rock. Here a pointed rock protrudes through the thick kelp to the surface. This is a great place to dive with sevengill sharks as they cruise through the kelp forest.
By Blog Editor on Friday, August 28, 2009
Now, as I sit in front of my computer, attempting to put the experiences of the past week into writing, I know that I will fail dismally in capturing the crazy excitement of being part of one of nature’s most impressive climatic events.
By Blog Editor on Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Cape Point is situated at the southernmost point of the Table Mountain National Park. This impressive sandstone headland, sculptured by the sea over millions of years, represents the theoretical boundary between the cold Atlantic and temperate Indian Oceans.
By Blog Editor on Friday, September 05, 2008

Article by vianne Venter

Published in The Callsheet - September 2008

CAPE Town-based underwater cinematographer, Charles Maxwell, has worked on numerous marine documentaries over the past 21 years, including the Emmy Award winning episode of The Blue Planet, Seas of Life; Planet Earth: Shallow Seas; and Air Jaws, which captured spectacular footage of great white sharks breaching in False Bay. With more than 40 years of diving experience, he is the first port of call for clients from the BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel and Mythbusters when it comes to marine wildlife on the South African coastline. Charles surfaced for a chat about his underwater adventures.
By Blog Editor on Monday, August 04, 2008
Its been a winter season of mixed outcomes. The work has been interesting with. Besides the normal short shoots I have been on three big and challenging shoots.
2002 Emmy Award
Winner for Outstanding
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