ben_filming-lady-elliot-island

Filming on Lady Elliot Island for the Best Expedition in the World

It really has been THE busiest last couple of weeks. My apologies for not updating the blog recently but this should make up for it at least!

In preparation for the Best Expedition in the World which starts at the end of May, (less than 11 weeks away) I’ve been chasing sponsors, planning itineraries, training on the Brisbane River and now building my Hobie Mirage kayak and getting it ready for the 1600km challenge that lies ahead.

Open water sailing

As with The Best Job in in the World the idea of the expedition is to take the story of the Great Barrier Reef to the rest of the planet; to educate about the life there, to expose some of the incredible locations and to make people just that little bit jealous so they’ll come out and experience it for themselves!

My ultimate goal would be to have another television series shot documenting the adventure telling the story of the expedition, the characters we meet along the way and the people who research and protect one of the Natural Wonders of the World.

As a bit of a prelude to this TPD Media (who film programs here in Australia such as Queensland Weekender, Great South East and Creek to Coast) and I decided to head out to Lady Elliot Island to film a short pilot episode for a possible series. This meant getting everything I’d expect to have on the expedition…including the kayak out onto the Great Barrier Reef!

At extremely short notice the owner of Lady Elliot island and Seair (the small airline who fly to the island itself) Peter Gash managed to find a plane, strip out enough seats to take the 4m kayak and fly us out for a couple of days of filming.

Flying in to Lady Elliot

We took with us an old friend and kayaking guru, Eddie Safarik, to shoot some still images and Richard Vevers from Underwater Earth; the company we’ll be working with throughout the expedition to bring you the most incredible images and film footage we can so you can live the adventure from right where you are now – sat at your computer.

A really early morning start in Brisbane saw Sophee and I drive down to the Gold Coast and our flight headed straight up into the dark clouds and rain, our light plane being buffeted around by the squally conditions. We’d managed to load the four metre kayak into the plane along with the camera gear and people we’d need to make this event happen; some first time visitors to the island, others have been before and fallen in love with the place.

Peter brought the plane to a halt on the rough coral runway after 90 minutes of flying and it was straight into the action – off to the Coral Gardens to have some still shots taken that will be used on the new website, launched later this year. Eddie really had me working it I can tell you; on the beach, in the water, sailing, paddling and even some really cool underwater ones too.

Unloading the plane Towing the kayak

Next stop was the filming of an episode of Queensland Weekender (the show goes to air on Saturday 26th March on Ch7 here in Aus). Dean Miller the host wanted to know all about the Best Expedition so I took him diving, had a walk along the beach and out on the water to demonstrate how I’ll be moving up the coastline from May through September using my Hobie.

Interview with Dean Filming with TPD

We then headed out onto the dive boats, donned our dive gear and into the water with Richard and Christophe from Underwater Earth. They’ll be coming along at key times during the expedition to help us film THE most amazing underwater sequences that will bring to life what happens on the Great Barrier Reef.

The underwater scooters we used have been developed as prototypes to see how the footage looks before the real things are built in the next few weeks. This part of the project is particularly exciting and we hope to bring you a world first very soon. Watch this space…

Testing the Scooter cameras Underwater vision
Green Turtle
Richard tests his new cameras Toad Fish Christmas Tree worms Coral Trout

Mother Nature gave us the complete run down of what to expect from the weather whilst out there with strong winds, driving rain and then an hour later totally blue skies and sunshine, something I have to be very prepared for, come May 21st.

Next stop, a two-day test voyage to Tangalooma Resort on Moreton Island onboard the Hobie kayak. We intend sailing the 42kms in a day, stopping overnight to film the dolphin feeding and sailing back the next day.

It’s all starting to get a little real now!!

Yours expeditionally

Ben 🙂