Tahiti shark dive @ TOPDIVE-Bathys, French Polynesia

We did two shark dives in Tahiti hosted by [TOPDIVE-Bathys](http://www.topdive.com/tahiti-diving.html) dive center. I've done shark dives all around the world, and was really impressed by the number of gray reef sharks in the area. We had approximately 50 gray reef sharks, a few black-tip reef sharks, and a couple lemon sharks. A tiger shark has been at the dive semi-regularly, but it didn't show up for us.

Given that Tahiti is an easy, 8-hour flight from LAX, the shark dive at TOPDIVE-Bathys might be the most accessible dive with lots of sharks for those of us who live in California.

I'm told that the baited dive is both new and controversial here on the island, and interestingly, the Tahiti shark dive isn't even highlighted on the TOPDIVE-Bathys website (but the [Moorea shark dive](http://www.topdive.com/shark-diving.html) is). But given the quality of the local shark dive, it will no doubt attract a good number of divers in the shark diving community.

Mother humpback whale and calf

A mother humpback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) stays close to her young calf to be prepared to help it breathe at the surface. Vava'u, Tonga. 060728_154530_echeng5002

I never processed and shared this set of images because I had so many to go through, at the time. Looking back through my archive is making me realize that I have quite a few interesting images that no one has else has seen...

Bats are cool

Large fruit bat in central Torajaland, Sulawesi, Indonesia
Most of the Wetpixel group traveling to Toraja are more used to photographing wildlife than they are photographing landscapes and people. Bernie, our guide, took us to a place where hundreds of large fruit bats hung on towering clumps of bamboo. I'm not sure what kind of bats they were, but they were likely Indonesian short-nosed fruit bats (*Cynopterus titthaecheilus*). A few of them were flying around during the day, and I snapped these shots with a Canon 7D and 70-200mm/2.8L lens @ 200mm (crop).

Burrowing owl (Athene cunicularia) in Florida

Burrowing owl (*Athene cunicularia*) in Boca Raton, Florida
Jim Abernethy and Janine took Marcelo and me to Boca Raton today to photograph [burrowing owls](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burrowing_Owl), which are extremely cute. We found them in a field at Florida Atlantic University, where their burrows are marked with stakes (along with additional markers designating the distance you are allowed to approach). Burrowing owls are a "species of special concern" in Florida and are listed in CITES Appendix II.

Moray eels hunting at night (3D anaglyph)

* red/cyan glasses required
3D video (anaglyph red/cyan) of a moral eel hunting at night in the Maldives. Shot underwater with a [custom BS Kinetics underwater housing](/journal/2010/07/21/underwater-3d-stereoscopic-video-housing-unboxing-setup/) for dual Sony CX550V camcorders.

If you would rather see a side-by-side format or row interleaved, check out the [YouTube version of the video](http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5ePPMokVFQ).

If you don't have anaglyph 3D glasses and want to see the footage, click through for the left eye view.

Self cam with whale sharks, Mexico

Inspired by Rob Stewart's self-cam footage in Sharkwater, I turned my camera around and took some footage of me swimming with whale sharks off of Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Shot with Canon 5D Mark II, Tokina 17mm/3.5 lens. 0260619

Rob was in Isla Mujeres the week before I was, and [shot similar footage](http://www.facebook.com/#!/video/video.php?v=421380542269&ref=mf) (although he dove down, whereas I stayed on the surface).

Another animal from your nightmares

Stock video footage / show reel of a reptilian snake eel (Brachysomophis henshawi) and a white-eyed moray (Siderea thysoidea) eel, taken with an underwater endoscope (wide-angle macro). Lembeh Strait, Indonesia.

Footage shot with a Canon EOS 7D digital SLR in High Definition 1080p @ 29.97fps, H.264 @ 40Mbps.

Apologies for the obnoxious timecode in the middle. I'll edit all of my footage from Lembeh into a best-of video as soon as I can!

Sperm whales, high definition stock video footage HD 1080p

Eric Cheng's stock video footage / show reel of sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in clear water off the coast of Dominica (central Caribbean). Includes footage of Scar, the famous resident 10-year old male sperm whale in the "Group of 7" pod. Whales from the "Group of 7" and the "Utensils Group" are both included.

Footage shot with a Canon 5D Mark II digital SLR in High Definition 1080p, H.264 @ 40Mbps.

Sixgill shark segment on OPB (I'm in it!)

The sixgill shark segment on Oregon Public Broadcasting's Oregon Field Guide is now online! The OPB folks filmed this segment during our charter with Team Hydrus [original trip report].

> *Sharks which normally spend their lives at the bottom of the world’s oceans have been found living in the relatively shallow waters of Puget Sound. Recreational divers and researchers lure sixgill sharks in for up close encounters. It’s believed Puget Sound is a sixgill shark nursery: a safe place to give birth and raise hundreds or perhaps a thousand or more young sharks. There has never been a report of a sixgill attack on a human.*

> *First Broadcast: 2009* *Producer: Vince Patton* *Videographer/Editor: Michael Bendixen* *Video & Stills Courtesy of : Eric Cheng-WetPixel.com and the Seattle Aquarium*

> *Appeared in episode: Boat Building, Sixgill Sharks, Tsunami Update*

Unfortunately, Andy Letourneau, a crew member with Team Hydrus, recently passed away in a diving accident. Vince has posted a tribute to Andy on the OBP website.

Trip Report: sperm whale expedition to Ogasawara, Japan

I love Ogasawara. It has the small island charm of Hawaii without the feeling of being overdeveloped and overrun by tourists. The ferry does potentially bring in hundreds of tourists each week, but it is typically only here for a few days at a time before it returns to Tokyo, meaning that there are contiguous days in which the town gets really sleepy -- perfect, for my tastes. 

Read More

Ogasawara: sperm whale / underwater image gallery

A gallery of sperm whale images and underwater photography from the Wetpixel sperm whale expedition to the Ogasawara Islands, Japan during October 8-18, 2009. Subjects include sperm whales (*Physeter macrocephalus*), Indo-Pacific bottlenose dolphins (*Tursiops aduncus*), Pantropical spotted dolphin (*Stenella attenuata*), and carcass bits of some sort of large pelagic octopus and an unidentified giant squid.

This gallery supplements my [trip report](/journal/2009/10/19/trip-report-sperm-whale-expedition-to-ogasawara-japan/).

[smugmug url="http://photos.echeng.com/hack/feed.mg?Type=gallery&Data=10016626_j4qqJ&format=rss200" imagecount="100" start="1" num="100" thumbsize="Th" link="lightbox" captions="true" sort="true" size="L"]

A social group of 6 sperm whales / giant squid in mouth

-- VIDEO REMOVED -- I've removed the video at the suggestion of a friend of mine, who tells me that it is worth real money. Contact me privately if you are interested in the footage.

Above is a video of six sperm whales (Physeter macrocephalus) in the Ogasawara Islands, Japan. The lead female sperm whale has the remains of a large squid (possibly, an Architeuthis giant squid) in her mouth. 15 minutes earlier, we had been in the water in the scattered remains of the squid (birds were feeding on it) before seeing this group of sperm whales close by. It looked as if the squid had been torn apart on the surface!

Here's a photo of part of the squid, which we found and brought back onto the boat:

The arm bit is probably between 4-5 inches long, and each sucker on it had clearly-visible (and sharp!) teeth lining the rim.

Here's another shot of a cephalopod carcass we found floating around near sperm whales a couple days earlier. This time, it was a large octopus:

Tony Wu speculates that it is a seven-arm octopus (Haliphron atlanticus), but we need an expert's opinion on this.

Note: all photos and videos were taken under permit

For more photos, see [the official trip report](/journal/2009/10/19/trip-report-sperm-whale-expedition-to-ogasawara-japan/)!

15-meter male sperm whale, Ogasawara Islands

15-meter male sperm whale, Ogasawara Islands, originally uploaded by echeng.
We spent much of the today watching a huge (15m / 49ft) sperm whale. The crew said that it was a big male, and that male sperm whales in Ogasawara are both rare and shy. We dropped in several times at a distance and swam to him to see if he would tolerate our presence. In most cases, he did shallow dives as we approached, but just once (when I was alone), he surfaced and turned to face me. The sperm whale was gigantic, and his huge head had large bulges coming out of it (it has to be shaped like that to hold the spermiceti organ). I have to admit that I was a little concerned when he swam to me, nearly blocking out the sun. I know that whales have very rarely harmed humans, but the mind comes up with all sorts of bizarre scenarios. :) echeng091016_023246

For more photos, see [the official trip report](/journal/2009/10/19/trip-report-sperm-whale-expedition-to-ogasawara-japan/)!