I always love to hear how projects and ideas are born, so I thought that I would share how my latest big side project, Dive Documentaries.com, came to be.
So every year for the past six years my family and I have had a birthday tradition of going on a weekend camping excursion to Silver River State Park, in Ocala, Florida. We love to kayak and canoe on the crystal clear water of the Silver River, and take hikes in the Ocala National Forest. It is truly a magical area.
But last year we decided to switch it up and head down to Key Largo, in the Upper Keys area. We camped at John Pennekamp State Park, and even decided to rent a boat and head out to do some snorkeling. The nice folks working at Pennekamp gave us various coordinates on how to reach the best snorkeling spots along the reef line, which was some 5 miles off shore.
Our first snorkeling spot was Grecian Rocks, a very shallow area where part of the reef actually comes out of the water during low tide. I tied the boat off to the mooring buoy, and then jumped into the water. After swimming the short 25 yards over the sand banks to the reef, I was shocked. I couldn’t believe my eyes. The reef was stunningly beautiful, and bursting with life. The never-ending visibility of the blue water and the cornucopia of colors from the reef were a bit much to take in all at once.
This area is a preserve, and is protected from fishing, so wildlife is relatively fearless of humans. Barracuda were scattered all over, and the majority of them approached to investigate. Parrotfish of all colors cut through the various reef formations. We spent several hours at Grecian Rocks, and snorkeled several other areas that day. I felt a little ridiculous not knowing about the unique beauty of this area. I’ve lived in Florida my whole life, but have only been to the Keys a few times, and mostly as a small child.
After returning home from our trip, I began searching for information on scuba diving in this area. Since I was recently recertified to dive, I was already set to plan another trip to Key Largo for some scuba. I was surprised when I couldn’t find any videos that actually discussed the various snorkeling and diving spots. Almost every video I found was just a montage of underwater shots set to music. While this can be fun to watch, it didn’t satisfy my hunger for information.
This is really where it started. And so now here I am. I want to produce some video content that I feel will do these wonderful areas justice. I want these videos to include interviews, animated maps, and underwater footage, and then it will really give viewers a comprehensive look at these dive locations.
The problem is, where would viewers go to watch these videos? YouTube? Blah.. While that would be nice, it would be even better to have some kind of searchable database. This database could include textual information along with photographs and maps to supplement the short form documentary content. Therefore I constructed this database website to serve as a home for the short form documentary videos. And now I am currently fundraising for some much-needed cash to produce the first seven documentaries to put in the database. So fundraising will be the next blog entry discussion.