Animal Nation: Spinner Dolphins

By Tanja Fourie

Many dolphins jump out of the water, but there is one kind that has perfected the art – the Spinner dolphin. The Spinner dolphin is one of those animals that has captured the hearts of all divers’ hearts

The bay of dolphins is the only place in the Atlantic Ocean where these Spinner dolphins visit on a regular basis. Scientists have been stu

dying these dolphins for many years as they return every morning to the same spot to rest and socialise as they have done for centuries. To see the scientists diving whilst the dolphins play around them makes you so jealous – it looks like the dolphins enjoy the attention, or just maybe they are studying the humans as well?

The dolphin’s displays of twists and twirls makes you wonder why they do it – is there a message in their body language or is it just their way of talking to each other? They do a great variety of spins, some of up to seven revolutions per jump – just amazing! Furthermore, watching the way the play with seaweed again confirms just how clever they are.

The secrets of their amazing aquatic exploits are revealed for the first time ever on this Animal Nation DVD which is available from Silverscreen Trading. For more information, call 011-794-9749 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Animal Nation: The Mako shark - Swift, smart and deadly

By Tanja Fourie

One of our deepest fears is coming face to face with a shark on our dives. Although we always brag about our encounters with them, we will always have a fear for them, although most won't admit it!

This DVD is about Mako sharks, one of the closest living relatives of the notorious Great white shark. Mako sharks are known killers, and believe it or not, ‘man-eaters’. They can smell one drop of blood in a million drops of water!

Two people, marine biologist Craig Thorburn and filmmaker Mike Bhana, have been studying sharks for five years in New Zealand. Through their working experiences with sharks in captivity, they realised that sharks are very intelligent.
Mako’s are the only sharks that they did not have any experience with, and the only way to collect this information was in the ocean, 20 miles off shore at Shark Alley where the ocean is 200-300m deep.

They attract them with chum and wait for their visitors. Mako’s swim with open mouths, their stiff tails built for speed, allowing them to reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour even though they can weigh as much as 750 pounds.

These sharks felt comfortable with the human touch and did not even roll their eyes – this behavior is amazing to see. These guys hand feed these killers without protective cages and suits – mad I would say!

Animal Nations DVD's are available from Silverscreen Trading. For more information, call 011-794-9749.

Animal Nation: The Octopus Garden

By Tanja Fourie

From amber forests of kelp though to exposed oyster beds, New Zealand’s undersea gardens provide a spectacular and constantly changing backdrop of one of the ocean’s most bizarre creatures.

This DVD is all about a female octopus as she navigates her way under the sea. Her voyage begins where she needs to face many dangers. They are solitary animals and lacking a shell gives them an advantage, the reason why they are known as the escape artists of the ocean.

There are lot of predators that have a taste for octopus. The octopus thus needs to make it through the first five months of its life before it can start moving up the food chain! The octopus is an advanced shell fish – they can change colour to make them difficult to see. Their lust for lobster also makes them a hated animal by fisherman. Some octopus facts: There are a 150 different species of octopus in the oceans; they can propel over 500 yards before they get tired and their main energy is used for finding food; the octopus has various techniques for hunting their pray and a missing limb will regrow in just eight weeks.

This is an amazing animal presented in a way that we have never seen before. The insight into this creature’s life will change our whole prospective about them. Animal Nation DVD’s are available from Silverscreen Trading. For more information, call 011-794-9749.

Blue Reef Box Set

Image Blue Reef Adventures

Enjoy stunning underwater visuals of perfectly formed coral reefs, an infinite number of fish, graceful manta rays and the Whale Shark, a slow moving creature that has no known underwater enemies. The ragged tooth shark is dangerous in cold waters, but in the warm water of the Natal reefs, it undergoes a dramatic change of personality. Meet  the world’s deepest diver – Nuno Gomes and a small group of courageous commercial divers search the perilous waters of the West Coast of the Atlantic for diamonds. Engage with Great White Sharks at the Cape of Good Hope, Sea turtles of the Maldives and Maputoland and learn of Shipwrecks becoming coral reefs in the Red Sea. Last but not least, swim with dolphins in South Africa.

Single DVD -  R 112.50, Box set of 3 - R 225.00

Feast Of Predators

ImageThe waters of Southern Africa are untamed and unpredictable. Some of the creatures who consider it home, need survival tactics in order to make it through the day alive. Whales, dolphins, gannets and seals indulge in a royal banquet from a mass migration of millions of fish. But the Sardines that they hunt have fascinating survival strategies when it comes to outwitting predators…

This is a story of one of the predators that is taught life skills in order to grow and become a strong, confident young seal. He undergoes a series of tests, from surviving a period without food to enduring the dangers of hunting. Will he triumph over one of natures most impressive marathons? Can he avoid the razor sharp teeth of the most powerful hunters of the ocean – the Great White Shark? Is the feeding frenzy all worth the risk?

Journey Of The Giant

ImageThe world’s tropical waters are inhabited by a fish that dwarfs all others. Yet despite its massive bulk, it is fuelled by the tiniest of prey - Plankton. The Whale Shark is the largest fish and one of the most mysterious inhabitants of the ocean. Its differential quality is that it is an extraordinary traveler. We follow a young female who has been tagged by researchers, as she begins her long-distance journey from the tropical island of Seychelles down to the stormy waters off the Cape of Good Hope. Along the way, she encounters diverse and spectacular marine ecosystems brimming with exotic creatures. She even encounters other sharks – The Tiger Shark, an Oceanic White Tip Shark, a Manta Ray, a Grey Reef Shark, Scalloped Hammer Head, Silver Tip, the Zambezi Shark, the Ragged Tooth Sharks and a Great White Shark. This slow and sluggish swimmer is protected from predators by her sheer size and she conserves her energy by moving with the currents. Little is known about these gentle giants and as she travels, hopefully her tag will shed some light on unknown behaviour. This sensational journey will take us all the way to the point where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet and our Whale Shark ventures off into the unknown.

Oceanos - Deep Quest

Untitled document

Reviewed by Johan Boshoff

ImageWatching this DVD gave me Goosebumps. The team did a lot of research on the wreck and achieved what most people thought was impossible. Due to the fact that Barry Coleman is a South African and that this happened in our waters makes this DVD more of a personal experience. This is a DVD you have to have in your collection at home to show people the real story behind the Oceanos.

This 54-minute video production features the first successful deep scuba diving expedition to the wreck of the Greek passenger liner, Oceanos, which sank off the South African Wild Coast in 1991.

Lying in 321 feet (98 meters) of water, this wreck is considered the most elusive and dangerous in the world to dive to. The extreme isolation of the dive site, the depth of the wreck and the fact that Oceanos lies right in path of the most powerful current on earth – the Agulhas current - contributed to the defeat of all previous attempts to reach the wreck, which led to the generally accepted view that the Oceanos was undiveable. This documentary shows the dramatic sinking of the ship, the first chaotic diving attempts which all resulted in failure, and then, 12 years later, the planning and trial dives of this expedition, which not only reached the Oceanos, but also successfully penetrated it and explored some of its interior.

This is the first and only documentary that looks specifically at the Oceanos in it's underwater state, including footage of the 2001 exploration of the wreck by the American submersible, Delta. Other productions have exploited the dramatic August 1991 sinking of the ship, but this is the first time that the spectacular underwater footage used in this production was made available. The material is exclusive to this production. The expedition was led by Barry Coleman - a diver who lost both lower legs as a child, and yet became one of the leading technical divers in South Africa. It also features Paul Heinerth, a legendary figure in the international deep diving arena, and multiple world record holder. It was financed by Brett Hawton, who was one of the three divers to penetrate the wreck. This production includes 16 deleted scenes, totalling 41 minutes, which, together with the main feature, make up total of 95 minutes of video.

Predator Bay

ImageKosi Bay is a beautiful estuarine area in Southern Africa. It is made up of a series of four lakes linked by clear water channels, which finally enter the Indian Ocean some 18 kilometres later. We are introduced to this place by a young male crocodile who is lured away from his safe haven by his greed and lust for food. Following his feast, he ventures on a journey to unfamiliar territory. This is a place where predators prowl around every corner, where food is plentiful but all must be vigilant, because there are no rules. The hunters become the hunted. Will this young crocodile survive his epic journey and return safely to home territory? And does he have the right skills and experience to stand up to or withstand his rival, the Zambezi Shark?

Rivers Of Danger

Image Africa is a land of giants. Its powerful rivers sculpted the earth and formed impressive valleys and waterways that are home to many imposing and powerful inhabitants. We journey to seven of Africa’s deadliest rivers and meet the animals that make them dangerous. Many creatures are at the mercy of the rulers of the riverbanks and those that patrol the waters. Non-stop action unfolds and skilful hunting methods are explored as predators ambush prey lured to the water’s edge.

Seasons Of Aliwal Shoal

Reviewed by Fiona McIntosh

ImageI have to admit from the start that I love Blue Planet and all those amazing underwater shots of events and places that I'm never likely to see in my lifetime. But even more I love seeing familiar places in all their glory. And I suspect that it is that familiarity, combined with some really stunning visuals that will tempt divers to buy this new DVD. Sure, we've all dived Aliwal Shoal. But have you ever seen a manta ray there, or a school of 40 eagle rays? Ever hovered in a soup of sardines? Or watched two kingfish cause havoc in a feeding shoal? We all have our own memories, favourite sites and best dives. But this 40 minute DVD is a virtual journey, not just over the Shoal, but through the seasons. It starts with footage of the Sardine Run, the biggest migration (in terms of biomass) in the world. Gannets fall like snowflakes, dolphins swim and mate on screen, and of course our favourite predators, the sharks, prowl menacingly. It's winter on the Shoal. The star exhibits, the ragged tooth sharks, are there from the start of the Austral winter until the end of spring, lurking in the gullies and the overhangs. Fish of all colours and varieties flit about as the narrator explains their habitats, feeding habits and social interaction.

There are some great camera work - the mating dances of the octopus (or is it octopi?) are particularly impressive, and we're treated to some of the more unusual residents (and transitory species); the rare tiger angelfish, the blue winged gurnard and the cute-looking pineapple fish. The DVD features the masters of camouflage, the scorpion fish, the paper fish and the clever lure of the angler frogfish. Life on the reef is all about niched prey and predation, feeding habits and symbiosis and these are wonderfully illustrated. But it's presented in a light, entertaining way; you're not being lectured to, but you learn, subtly and gently, to appreciate the delicate eco-system that exists on this amazing limestone reef.

As spring gives way to summer a different kaleidoscope of marine life takes centre stage. Turtles are frequently seen on dives; sand sharks and rays forage in the sandy patches and swim, often in large shoals in the sunlit water near the ocean surface. As the water warms up, one of the Shoal's most beautiful visitors makes an appearance. The shots of feeding manta rays, their mouths and gills open as they filter plankton out of the water, are spectacular. And of course we have the crowd-pulling turtles - including a particularly entertaining interaction where a photographer enjoys a close encounter. The turtle is clearly intrigued by his camera and strobe and won't leave him alone - every photographer's dream. More than one turtle carries the scars of interactions with one of its major predators, the beautiful, distinctive tiger shark, one of the Shoal's apex predators and that too is captured in glorious Technicolor.

As summer progresses the reef becomes a nursery with huge shoals of juvenile fish clothing the rocks and filling the gullies. The parents aggressively defend their eggs but the camera does not shy away from the harsh realities of feeding frenzies when the defences are broken. The arrival of big game fish and dolphins announce the arrival of autumn and then winter and we’ve come full circle. The raggies are back again; millions of sardines and their accompanying predators once again draw the crowds. Seasons of Aliwal Shoal is an inspiring snapshot of life beneath the waves, as well as a useful tool for planning a dive holiday according to the type of marine activity you hope to experience. Buy it, and enjoy. I certainly did.