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Episode 25: "Diving Is Better Than Space Exploration" with guest Sophie Morgan

Sophie Morgan: [00:00:00] I feel like diving is. Better than space exploration. Like I don't understand why people get so excited about going to Mars, where they might, if they're lucky finding a bit of bacteria, when you can literally go under water on our planet and, just discover a whole new world.

And especially with now being reburied at the trained, every time I go under water, I, I see something different. Justin Miller: [00:00:26] it's episode 25 of dive in the podcast with special guest Sophie Morgan.


Welcome to dive in the podcast. Your favorite podcast, about all types of diving, scuba tech, free diving, and more. We cover it all. Every weekday on Monday, post new episodes filled with diving news interesting dive topics, ocean advocacy, and much more.

Hi everyone. I'm Justin Miller

Nic Winkler-1: [00:00:55] I'm Nick Winkler.

April Weickert: [00:00:56] I'm April wicked.

Amit Parasram: [00:00:57] And I'm a mid Paris ramp.

Justin Miller: [00:00:59] and we're the hosts of dive in the podcast,

this week, we speak to Sophie Morgan and underwater filmmaker, producer, and rebreather diver from the UK. She'll be joining us later in the episode for an interview Last week we chatted with Keon Wilkie. He was an excellent interview, all about his travel and experiences diving all over the world and teaching.

And that was a great fine there, Nick. Thanks for bringing him to us.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:01:21] Yeah, I really enjoyed, his philosophy on travel and photography and , how that was very personal to him and how that's evolved over time. Now, that was pretty interesting to hear

Amit Parasram: [00:01:30] I couldn't help, but notice that he was a Trinidadian, which made my life a lot better and I

Nic Winkler-1: [00:01:35] what gave it

Amit Parasram: [00:01:36] love for doubles and diving just seems to go hand in hand. I think him and I should hang out sometime.

Justin Miller: [00:01:42] Yeah, it was after this COVID and after he visits his girlfriend and after he goes somewhere in the South Pacific to go diving, then maybe he'll come up to

Amit Parasram: [00:01:49] then maybe.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:01:51] it sounds like it's going to have to go to him. It's a little too cold here.

Justin Miller: [00:01:55] yeah. speaking of going places, I was starting to take the news on a bit of a lighter side, this week and chat about, where you can go diving. as I was reading in the paper, a couple of things, the paper, the digital paper on the internet,

April Weickert: [00:02:08] to say the paper.

Justin Miller: [00:02:10] places are reopening to Canadians. and I thought, you got a lot of listeners in the Canada, a lot of listeners in the U S so I might as well do a travel option for Americans and a travel option for Canadians. one of the coolest ones, I think, is travel option within the USA , to Las Vegas, to dive the in Lake meet, on July 21st, 1948, while engaged in high altitude atmosphere research the crew Of the bomber crashed. the crew of five survived the crash of the plane, but the bomber was lost to the depths of the Lake. And it wasn't discovered, heard until 2001, and then archeologists from the national park service, a map, then documented the rack and then they've let a very limited number of people access it for diving with really strict requirements.

Currently it's in a hundred to 120 feet of depth because it's on a slope. So you can do it as recreational diver or as a, whereas a tech dive and get a, up to an hour on it. So that's cool. It's an old bomber. It's, it's a fabric skin. yeah, you can't touch it or it could, the whole thing could break apart, basically. Yeah. it's a pretty interesting thing. I never got to dive it. It was too deep when I was there. It was well outside of recreational limits.

April Weickert: [00:03:19] I was just going to say, I was going to ask you Justin, if he ever dove it, but he just said he did it.

Justin Miller: [00:03:24] Yeah. I knew people that did, but I had not done it myself.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:03:28] Speaking of wrecks that are like, on the park service production, the two racks from the Franklin expeditions, they found in the Arctic, the HMS Tara and the Airbus. Those are two wrecks. I'd love to dive complete segue, but.

Justin Miller: [00:03:42] Yeah, no, it's definitely on the, those would be on the list for sure. I don't really think those are accessible unless you're a scientist at this point. Yeah. so as far as travel goes, Canadians have a few more options. And, earlier this month, Canada among others are resuming flights to, to Cuba. Canadian's favorite destination, there'll be available for diving again and visitors. you'll get there. You'll take a blood test when you arrive, you'll go directly to your hotel. And if you get tested positive, they'll whip whiskey off to a, to a small hospital where you could receive treatment.

uh, exactly, and, Harold and Kumar will be there with white castle burgers, and it'll just be great. No, you don't have to take pretests before boarding the plane, which was awkward, but at least they test you when you get there. And so you can be , pretty safe, in knowing that you, yeah, you can, traveled to Cuba reasonably comfortably and reasonably safely.

if you're Canadian.

April Weickert: [00:04:40] Is to have to quarantine when you get back.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:04:43] Not to be a downer, but it's also, worth reminding listeners that the federal government guidelines are still to avoid, none of central travel that's I think it's out of the country.

April Weickert: [00:04:52] bad.


Justin Miller: [00:04:53] Yeah. Yeah. I don't know how, how realistic it is to travel to these destinations, whether in the us or Canada, but, I was just I was thinking about traveling and thinking about where it would be nice to go. So I thought I would see what's what is technically available or theoretically available.

And, definitely, as Nick said earlier, always suggest our listeners follow your local guidelines and don't

break the law.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:05:16] we should do a travel segment. One of these days.

Justin Miller: [00:05:18] what travel segment would be good. We'll put that our

Amit Parasram: [00:05:21] look into that.

Justin Miller: [00:05:22] is, yeah. See if we can work that in somewhere.

, Nick, you had a , really good talk earlier with Sophie Morgan.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:05:28] Yeah. I was following Sophie Morgan on Instagram, around the time I got for breather certified, I think I was just kinda doing a Google search or an Instagram search of rebreather diving and she had some pretty cool posts and, , the podcast was already good excuse to reach out to her and then talk about her film work.

she's done some really awesome things as you listen to on the podcast, generally all around a really cool career and has done some really interesting things. so you know, our listeners are thinking of what can you do with diving? this is definitely one of the real, really cool ones.

yeah. And she's been able to travel to some really awesome places and witnessed some really interesting, Marine life and some Marine behavior. so yeah, it was a lot of fun to catch up with her and then chat filmmaking and, and the diving and, yeah,

Justin Miller: [00:06:12] well, let's take a listen to that now.

Sophie Morgan: [00:06:17] So my name's I'm Sophie Morgan. I'm a wildlife documentary producer from the UK and I specialize in underwater.

Nic Winkler: [00:06:25] diving or documentary work, what came first for you?

Sophie Morgan: [00:06:28] Actually the documentary work, I've always been a total, salt water baby as my mum likes to call it. Um, and I remember I used to do a lot of snorkeling as a kid, but I actually didn't discover diving until I was at university. And, I was sadly a bit of a fair weather diver, for a while.

And then I took some time off work. I think I'd been working in wildlife filmmaking for a few years and decided to do my dive master and I just got absolutely hooked. And then I refocused my whole wildlife filmmaking career to try and get on those underwater productions.

Nic Winkler: [00:07:01] So you say Fairweather, diver, where did you learn to dive specifically where did you do your dive master?

Sophie Morgan: [00:07:07] It's my dive master. I did in the Andaman islands between India and Thailand. So lovely conditions. .

Nic Winkler: [00:07:13] but you learned to dive in the UK originally.

Sophie Morgan: [00:07:15] Nope. I didn't actually do my dry suit until I realized I wanted to do it for more career and realized that I really had to tough it out and do some UK diving and do some dry suit diving to be taken seriously in the tech world.

Nic Winkler: [00:07:29] That's always a good problem to have. if you get to learn somewhere warm, what's the abdomen islands. Like I don't think I've ever met. Anybody's dive there.

Sophie Morgan: [00:07:37] unfortunately, it was quite badly bleached. I don't actually know what their recovery has been like since, so whether it's bleached again in the shallows, but it did have some really nice deep sites. it's a very nice place to be stationed for six to eight weeks.

which is more the reason I chose it. But, but there are some really nice spots, somebody nice pinnacles. And yeah.

Nic Winkler: [00:07:55] okay. So worth checking out.

Sophie Morgan: [00:07:57] Yeah, definitely. And I think I would absolutely love to dive some of the sites that haven't been dive like the Nicobari islands in the areas of the abdomen, which are run dived and unexplored.

But I think that'd be quite tricky.

Nic Winkler: [00:08:07] , not to digress too much, but that was affected by the tsunami? Was that before or after?

Sophie Morgan: [00:08:11] That was, it was after. I think bleaching plus tsunami, hadn't done any favors to that. The shallow reefs there

Nic Winkler: [00:08:19] So I'm going to have to put that one on the bucket list for myself and maybe some of the other hosts in the show. We get so many ideas when we talk to people. It's, that's half the fun of doing this show. so what draws you to the oceans now?

Sophie Morgan: [00:08:32] What draws me to them now, I think really exciting thing about the oceans as a wildlife filmmaker, I've always been slightly jealous of the old explorers or that they had a lot of difficult things to contest with. And I'm sure not a nice time exploring always, and that they really did go out there and see animals and see new things for the first time.

And although we are still discovering things, on land, I just think underwater with the invention of new technology, we really are just discovering new behavior after new behavior in the ocean. and I think from a timing perspective as well, the ocean unfortunately feels like a little bit of a ticking clock, in terms of the degradation of it.

So I think it's a really important time to be shedding light on how much is still undiscovered and the fact we need to maintain it and keep it. ,

Nic Winkler: [00:09:18] do you have, I wish that you'd maybe seen the oceans, like it was maybe 50, 70 years ago.

Sophie Morgan: [00:09:23] I so much it's shifting baselines. Isn't it as well. I was lucky enough to go to, take us on an expedition as part of my job. And I went diving there and I probably saw, I don't know, 20 reef sharks in one dive. And I came up and I was really excited. I was like, it was cool Shaki and, Charles and Ann Shepherd who were on the boat with us, who had been diving Diego's for years.

But that's nothing, when we started diving takeoffs, you had to take a shock stick because then you'd see hundreds of sharks and they'd be really bold.

Nic Winkler: [00:09:55] Wow. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. You had a lot of stories of that from a lot of people. That's, I'm sad sometimes then.

Sophie Morgan: [00:10:02] I think so. And I think it's something always to gauge isn't it? That, what we think is the new normal for, for the ocean really? Isn't always.

Nic Winkler: [00:10:10] . you have a really interesting job where you get to tell some of these stories, when you were working, was it typical day in the ocean look like for you.

Sophie Morgan: [00:10:18] It's a lot of graft before we get in the ocean. we have a lot of kits and I think especially as filmmaking underwater moves forward or it to be much more cinematic. So we're bringing a lot of equipment that was used to be used topside underwater. there are definitely, always going to be behaviors that you can only fill in by free swimming.

With the housing, but we really are bringing things like tripods and tracks and Gimbels and stuff underwater now. So we spend a lot of time prepping kit, making sure it's properly vacuumed and sealed. So it's not going to have salt, water ingress prepping our rebreathers. and then yeah, no, actually that part of getting into the water and getting all the kit down to where we need to be filming is sometimes quite an arduous task.

And then we sit there for six or seven hours waiting for something to happen.

Nic Winkler: [00:11:05] does it does something always happen?

Sophie Morgan: [00:11:08] not always. and what's quite amusing. I think now with the rebreather diving is that, especially when you're doing, I've just been doing a lot of, warm water work. you're coming up to the surface. The only reason you come out to the surface is because you're hungry or something's gone wrong with a piece of kit or you've run out of battery.

Nic Winkler: [00:11:25] Wow. Okay. that's a very interesting, way to look at it. sounds like a lot of fun though. Right? you get a lot of time on the water.

Sophie Morgan: [00:11:32] It's amazing. And I think, the sort of ad invention of rebreathers has just meant that you can now observe wildlife and film wildlife in a way that you only ever used to be able to do on land. Like I'm so used to land filming, spending sort of eight or nine hours in a hide watching birds.

And you never had that experience with underwater, wildlife and fish life before now.


Nic Winkler: [00:11:55] well circle back around to rebreathers in a moment, when you're not hauling gear around and this sort of spending time on the water . Our listeners would be curious to know what sort of goes into producing, maybe a scene or producing a show. I take it.

You're not always hauling gear around and going on the water.

Sophie Morgan: [00:12:10] That is actually a very small part of the job. it's a great part. I love it. we do sometimes do it for very long periods, but, and I think it's important to say that, there is actually a massive team behind every single sequence and. That's not just the team on location.

we have incredible production support in the office, that deal with permits and logistics. and before we go, even before that, before we even think about permits and logistics, there's a lot of work to be done very often with the scientific community. Looking for behavior and really interrogating that behavior to see how we can make it into, a cinematic story.

we are all wildlife buffs and scientists, but, at the core of it, we're filmmakers and we want to take the audience on a hero's journey and we have to work with talent that doesn't exactly do what we tell it to do. we're really going. Off natural behavior.

And so we need to merge those worlds of being like, look, this animal is doing something really freaking cool, but in a way that I guess takes the audience on that animal's journey and really makes them engage.

Nic Winkler: [00:13:11] you mentioned when we spoke the last time that, you've maybe had the chance to see some behaviors that experts may not have had the chance to yet. do you have any example of those?

Sophie Morgan: [00:13:19] I guess the really, I've actually got, I've got some, the last, program I worked on, which has actually just been announced. So I can tell you, about the series. so the program I just worked on, this has been announced, is a series called tiny world. for Apple plus, narrated by pool rod, which is very exciting, which is what about macro life.

and unfortunately, I can't really talk about the content of the program yet, but that was really exciting. And that we spent so much time with animals that. We messaged the scientists to say, Oh, we were just wondering about this behavior we saw. and whether it meant this and the scientist was like, Oh, that behavior is actually never been observed in that species.

So we sent them some screenshots and they were like, Oh, I guess it has. but I guess the real classic one, which is still one of the best known and probably will always be one of the best known sequences of my career was the giant tree valleys, hunting birds in the Seychelles and blue planet too. that was a crazy ride. that really genuinely was a fisherman's tale. it was a story that came from someone who had been on a fishing trip that had told someone at a dinner party that they'd seen fish jumping out of the water to eat birds and no one believed them. And I think I was asked, by a very smart savvy, series producer on blue planet.

to just give this guy a ring, just in case there was something to it As this and built more and more. And I got more eye witnesses, it really did start to ring true as a behavior, but. I had no idea how we would film it and they didn't not exist one photograph of this behavior before we went to film it.

I think one of the fishing guys said, Oh, sometimes the juvenile birds get tired and then they sit on the water and then they get eaten by the fish. And yeah, at that point we knew that there was something we could track. That was achievable, a bit like with the great whites and the, the seals, you can track the seals and then hope, I wouldn't say hope because it's never a nice thing.

Something get eaten, that, one of them might get attacked and it brought that sequence into something that felt. Achievable in some context, but I never dreamt in my wildest dreams that we'd get those shots of the fish launching itself out of the water. and it took us probably two weeks into a three week filming trip to get that first shot and to figure out and interrogate the behavior to be able to predict it.

Nic Winkler: [00:15:29] well, and so people can see that on the BBC blue planet two. Is that the one.

Sophie Morgan: [00:15:33] Yeah, that's the one, it's i n episode one.

Nic Winkler: [00:15:35] Wow. That's pretty incredible. it's incredible to hear the story behind them behind the scene too. So thanks for that. so you've been to some really cool places. like you just mentioned that scene, where else has your work taken you?

Sophie Morgan: [00:15:47] Quite a few places. I seem to have done a bunch of filming. In Australia recently, I filmed in Indonesia, Egypt, the U S Canadian Arctic , also, Canada and British Columbia. Vancouver Island is one of my favorite places in the world. Africa, Norway, just a few places.

Nic Winkler: [00:16:07] That's pretty awesome. That's a pretty good list of places. is there a particular place on your list that you, or, animal you'd like to film or a place you'd still like to dive.

Sophie Morgan: [00:16:17] I think the issue with this is I want to see every animal and I want to dive everywhere

Nic Winkler: [00:16:21] That's a good answer.

Sophie Morgan: [00:16:22] and I am currently, I've just started a new production and I'm already like, how am I going to choose which shoots to go on? And really it's going to have to fall down to the ones that need my expertise that are more difficult, but I am currently looking at them all going.

There's not one. I don't want to go on.

Nic Winkler: [00:16:37] That's a good problem to have, right?

Sophie Morgan: [00:16:39] Yeah. And the world's such a big, amazing place to explore and especially when you take up. So we'll, we'll circle back around to the rebreathers that we mentioned on earlier. you spoke to how, you can spend a lot of time on the water and sort of mimic, and in a sense of the time that you can spend on a bird hide looking for behavior, when divers hair rebreathers are thinking long deco dives in very technical stuff, but you use yours in a very different way.

Nic Winkler: [00:17:01] Can you tell us a little bit more?

Sophie Morgan: [00:17:03] Yeah. we have to be very aware of the safety side of rebreathers, just because it has to be almost second nature when you're going into film. When I'm going in I'm yes, I'm going into an element of underwater directing, but I'm also the person watching the camera person, in case anything goes wrong on their end And then actually I'm being watched a lot less because I don't know if you've ever seen a camera person film, but they are very focused on what they are doing. so you know, all the sort of same sort of level of training and skill and, refreshing and staying current is imperative. but yes, recently I have been doing, a lot of, benthic work in the shallows.

probably generally a maximum of about 10 meters, on the bottom, waiting for animals to do something. so the length of the divers is really the important thing. and also the lack of bubbles, cause that really helps with, with a lot of animals.

Nic Winkler: [00:17:58] so you're running your breathers that at lower partial pressures of oxygen than one typically would.

Sophie Morgan: [00:18:03] We tend to run at about 0.9 just to allow for time in the water and obviously a buildup of, OTs

Nic Winkler: [00:18:11] I guess from a safety point of view, you have to be a little bit more vigilant for low O2, right?

Sophie Morgan: [00:18:15] yes and no. once you're there on the bottom a lot, not a lot changes. I'm always checking. Anyway, the issue I actually have is cause I have to have a Rebo and it's got a CMF. So a constant mass flow is I actually find that my CMS starts to spike, on those sort of long benthic, not doing much dives because.

I'm not metabolizing a lot of oxygen. So actually I need to watch that my oxygen building up and I ended up putting the CMF blocker on, on my last shoot.

Nic Winkler: [00:18:42] so I'm not familiar with the unit. What is the CMS do? Is it a, does it add diluent or

Sophie Morgan: [00:18:47] So it's CMF and it's a little hole it's constant mass flow. It's a little hole that basically allows, a constant flow of OTU. based on the fact that when you are driving like a normal person, you are metabolizing oxygen. so essentially. It stops us overnight having to work as hard. It's actually something you do get a blocker in the kit because obviously if you're doing super deep dives, you don't want the CMF, putting oxygen into your unit so that you block that.

But I ended up blocking it just because I was sitting on the bottom, not metabolizing enough oxygen and my OT kept spiking.

Nic Winkler: [00:19:18] Yeah. Okay. That's interesting. Yeah. but it's a pretty new way to use them. and then, like you said, you're using them to get close to things without bubbles. so that's pretty neat. talking of diving a lot, you had an experience with DCS in 2017. I don't know if it was work related or not, but are you able to tell us a little bit about that experience?

Sophie Morgan: [00:19:35] Yeah, I think actually it was allegedly related and the take home that I would have from that is it wouldn't have happened at work. And now I technically didn't do anything wrong. Working by my computer at least. And the fact that people on the same boat were doing very similar. I didn't, I didn't miss a stop.

I didn't go into Decaux, but the threshold, I think when you're letter diving, you're a lot less diligent, whereas actually were incredibly hyper conservative women working. in terms of the amount of diving we're allowed to do. and I was on one of those liverboards, in Egypt, that do pump out four or five times a day.

And it was day five. I think dive five of day five. and actually now that I have more, even more experience, Doing it at work, I'd never sign off five days, five dives a day. I would never sign up five days a day on a shoot. So why would I do that as a leisure drive, even if it's within the limits, just because there's so many unknowns about DCS and you can't factor, you can't factor for whether someone's dehydrated or, physical conditions or environmental conditions.

It's just, you can't work around that. So you need to be conservative. And I think my take home from that was really that I just treat leisure diving. Like I treat work diving now.

Nic Winkler: [00:20:52] Yeah. That's first thing I want to say, I didn't mean to imply that you were at fault for the DCS in any way. I, and the reason I wanted to talk about it is, cause I think a lot of people, often there's a stigma associated right. In with a lot of divers when they get DCS or it gets swept under the rug.

so it's nice to have somebody a little bit. Dimension then, so be open about it. but yeah, also I find interesting when I go into technical diving, that's a completely rethought my entire life, recreational diving history. It's Oh, I survived all these things. I probably shouldn't have.

Sophie Morgan: [00:21:25] it's amazing when you have a bit more knowledge, isn't it? Cause I think you actually to get into record, get into recreational diving is actually a very low baseline of knowledge that you need. And you also, I think you'd go from the fact that, the people you're diving with and stuff, are the experts, and at the end of the day, I really, I didn't do anything I shouldn't have, I just led to be even more hyper careful because you just can't factor everything in.

but yeah, again, I think it's. Having said that as well. I definitely did like a lot of diving, so I was obviously reasonably saturated. I probably still shouldn't have got abandoned. There were probably other factors that, I really have no idea, operating that day.

but at the same time, I've also known people get DCS doing dives that literally, 12 meter dives.

Nic Winkler: [00:22:08] Yup.

Sophie Morgan: [00:22:10] it just sometimes, you can't, it is almost a hazard of the job, unfortunately.

Nic Winkler: [00:22:14] So I think, yeah, I think that's certainly a lot of people also fail to understand that it's a risk, like you said, it could be just a 12 meter dive in and you do everything right. And, and there you go. I actually have the opportunity to interviews. The gentleman that ran the hyperbaric chamber in Barbados for over 30 years.

And he used to treat a lot of fishermen in the Caribbean and he'd be, that'd be fishermen that would do in these crazy profiles. And they come in and they were like severely bent, but then he'd have tourists. They're doing like 10 meter dives and they were like, just as badly off. so it's yeah, DCS is certainly a super fascinating topic.

I, you, obviously you're fine now, so I guess, it worked out in the end for you.

Sophie Morgan: [00:22:50] yeah, absolutely fine. I have to say, like I did have quite few treatments. I basically had sentence in my arms. That was my main thing, but I think I had some inflammatory damage after that. That did take, I would say up to a year to like fully heal. but yeah, a hundred percent fine.

And I've done. more than 250 hours of diving in the past year alone. So I think I'm pretty, I should be fine.

Nic Winkler: [00:23:11] it's nice. It's not slowing you down, obviously.

Sophie Morgan: [00:23:13] No, not though.

Nic Winkler: [00:23:15] that's good to hear. just switching back a little bit more towards the oceans. what are you most passionate about when it comes to the future versions?

Sophie Morgan: [00:23:22] Oh, that's a big, deep question. Isn't it really? I mean, I think it's, the future of our oceans is a very daunting topic, I think there is, there was a lot of issues. but I also think we are in. an era of people being quite aware of those issues, like never before and engaging, wanting to evoke change.

And I think as filmmakers, we have a real moral obligation to be part of that wave, change and engagement, I think that's so important. and I think there is hope, I think, I don't know exactly the oceans. Definitely. Won't be what the Asians are now. I think there is stuff happening at rate that we won't be able to stop, but there are things in conservation that proves that we can make a difference.

for example, whales coming back from the brink after wailing and Marine reserves, where we've seen a real way bound of fish life, not just within the reserves, outside as well, spilling over. And I think, There's some amazing organizations doing incredible work to that effect.

so I feel like I'm just rambling on now, cause it's such a big topic, but, but yeah, I feel like there is hope and while there is hope we should be, doing our best to engage the public to care. And hopefully that public support will result in pressure on governments to do something.

the blue planet two effects, which is something that happened in the UK. I don't know if you heard about that, but we actually had, serious law change with regards to plastics because of the plastic sequences in the, open ocean film.

Nic Winkler: [00:24:51] I guess your job puts you in a very unique position to sort of, in a way it'd be at the forefront of this change, or at least influencing change. If somebody wanted to see some of the work you've involved in and you've mentioned a couple already, like what are some of the other, shows you may have been involved in producing or filming and maybe where can they find it?

Sophie Morgan: [00:25:10] So obviously there's blue planet too. the last series . I worked so much already mentioned tiny world. That's going to be out on Apple plus in October, and then I also did a hostile planet for national geographic. I did the oceans episode of that and that is available on Disney plus at the moment.

Nic Winkler: [00:25:25] Cool. I'm going to have to go look that up cause I just signed into Disney plus the other day. So that's exciting. well congratulations on those achievements. I hear you're moving soon. maybe new directions. Are there any exciting projects on the horizon you can tell us about.

Sophie Morgan: [00:25:39] Yeah, so I'm, I'm trying my best to, I don't know when this is going to air, but I'm assuming not too distant away. I'm trying my best to move to California. Amidst many. Barriers to international travel. so yeah, I'm planning to move to California and I'll be working there with sound off films.

And I'm also going to be working for wild space productions on a new really exciting project from out there.

Nic Winkler: [00:26:04] we look forward to hearing about it when, once you can tell us about it and once you've got some more cool things that you've discovered and seen.

Sophie Morgan: [00:26:09] Absolutely. and on that note, I'm obviously still continuing to do underwater, in that region of the world. So if any of your listeners in Canada have, any great underwater behaviors and stories, please get them to get in touch.

Nic Winkler: [00:26:22] Okay. we'll see if we, if anybody calls in and we'll let you know, you have a website or a social media platform? People can follow you on.

Sophie Morgan: [00:26:28] I have, yeah, I have Instagram. My Instagram very straightforward is, Sophie. So that says Sophie SOP, H I E dives?

Nic Winkler: [00:26:38] there's one last question I'd like to finish off, with all our guests, what keeps you diving?

Sophie Morgan: [00:26:42] Oh gosh. I love it so much. I feel do you know what I feel like diving is. Better than space exploration. Like I don't understand why people get so excited about going to Mars, where they might, if they're lucky finding a bit of bacteria, when you can literally go under water on our planet and, just discover a whole new world.

And especially with now being reburied at the trained, every time I go under water, I, I see something different. And it just keeps me coming back and back. And even if I see the same thing, like the same animal, you always see it doing something slightly different and it feels very privileged, diving as a very privileged view of our world.

And I think everyone should do it.

Nic Winkler: [00:27:23] that's certainly true. thank you for sharing that with us

Sophie Morgan: [00:27:25] Pleasure

Nic Winkler: [00:27:26] and thank you for coming on the show.

Sophie Morgan: [00:27:28] again. Pleasure again. Thank you for having me.

Nic Winkler: [00:27:30] it's definitely been fun.

Justin Miller: [00:27:36] Shishir seems like she has a lot going on, even despite, all these, lockdowns and all that kind of stuff. she's got a lot on her plate coming up in a lot of amazing destinations, still ahead of her.

Amit Parasram: [00:27:47] I thought it was actually cool, like when she was chatting about that. And I think Nick drew a pretty interesting point, which is when you think about rebreather diving, the first thing people are thinking about these crazy deep dives and everything's technically diving in, and the idea that she's using it as a mechanism to get closer to a film behaviors that otherwise you wouldn't necessarily see, and that she's been successful in doing that.

I thought that was a really cool perspective.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:28:12] Yeah, I want to, one of the things that she talked about was, that scene in the BBC blue planet two in the first episode of the tra Vallier like eating birds. And I literally had to go back and watch that, then I would recommend. And anybody that listens to this episode, if you've seen it, or if you haven't seen it, go on watch BBC blue planet two, especially that first episode where the fish are jumping out of the water catching birds, it's absolutely mind boggling, but also the work that goes into, I'm trying to capture that she acknowledges that this is not just her producing, but it's like an entire team of people that do this sort of stuff.

So yeah. It's pretty awesome stuff. And yeah, glad we got to chat with her.

Justin Miller: [00:28:49] there's definitely a reason why they call those productions because there's is a whole production. Alright. On that note, we'll take a commercial break and we'll be right back.

Welcome back to the episode. Thanks for sticking with us a second half is, will be just as fun as the first. let's start it off with a tip from April.

April Weickert: [00:29:16] , usually I do a safety tip and. This week is still a safety tip, but it's also a bit of a pro tip. this one is also going to be focused on more towards the women, or maybe Justin in 2010. but the short and simple of the safety tip is just keeping control all of your hair while diving.

And some of you may not get that like a Mitt.

Amit Parasram: [00:29:42] Can't believe you went down that road.

April Weickert: [00:29:48] sometimes, your long hair can really get in the way, it can get in your mask. It can block vision or even cause it to leak. it can even get tangled up around your tank, valve, your BCD, into your mask strap, and pretty much anywhere. so my place.

Is obviously you're going to bring a hair elastic. but ponytails usually don't cut it. They usually fall out underwater. So I would say braid your hair and the amount of braiding hair that I've done on dive sites. Maybe more than like students I've certified. So you can always ask someone to help you out there.

The other thing is salt water. Also really causes your hair to tangle. So putting some coconut oil through your hair beforehand can really help and then braid it. you're getting a hair treatment and you're tangle free all in one. And the coconut oil won't harm the ocean either. So it's good and safe.

Justin Miller: [00:30:45] Perfect. I never braided my hair back when I had my long hair, but, definitely it was definitely well ponytailed on the, on dives. That was definitely super annoying.

Amit Parasram: [00:30:56] I can tell you my COVID beard was almost at braiding length before my wife had me, trim that sucker up. So there's, these would have been great tips for me to, know about, especially the coconut oil.

April Weickert: [00:31:07] This is like what all the sea Fox is talk about. We all have like post dive, like hair care bags that we bring with us with like hair brushes, like coconut oil. We're like, we're ready to go.

Justin Miller: [00:31:20] , I, uh, I remember those days. Well,

Amit Parasram: [00:31:23] I gotta ask you now, coconut oil and dive gear. How do those mix together now? Like a, am I going to melt dry suit seals and all the rest of that stuff because there's oil or

April Weickert: [00:31:33] I've never had any problems with it. I think coconut oil is pretty safe. It's not overly toxic. I don't have the facts to back me up here, but it's fairly natural, so I've never had any issues.

Amit Parasram: [00:31:47] All right. you know what, Justin, I think I'm going to volunteer my dry suit next seal. we'll see what happens and if it melts, then you can replace it for me.

April Weickert: [00:31:55] Coded in coconut oil. See what happens

then you can follow up next week and let us know.

Justin Miller: [00:32:02] a quick Google search says there is a, there is actual research on coconut oil and latex, so we'll have to take a peak and, um, and see what, see what they say. And, we'll circle back and

we'll

re up this pro tip. Yeah.

And we'll let you guys know. so thanks for that April, insightful and super helpful cause it's to a large percentage of the planet.

So thanks for that. Nick you're want to talk about sharks tonight. what do you got on the plate?

Nic Winkler-1: [00:32:29] Yeah, on a tonight's thing, blue, I just want to talk a little bit about the misconception around sharks and track of decks. sharks are incredibly valuable, top predators in the Marine environment. so if we think of coral reef ecosystems, and we talked about, I think we talked about , the shark trick lines in a previous episodes, a study that was done around that.

but when you remove sharks out of a reef ecosystem, for example, you let other fish thrive that are feeding on smaller herbivores. And when you have less herbivores, you have this knock on effect with a macro algae Takes up the substrate. And then, Carl can't compete with fast growing algae basically.

And then it, it shifts an ecosystem from one that's called dominated to algal dominated. so that's been one of the reasons, over fishing of sharks have really altered, things like, Reef ecosystems and sea grass beds, but there's a misconception around sharks, right? So they're super important ecologically, but there's a misconception about, how dangerous they are.

There's an interesting website on the,

university of Florida website, by a group, it's called the international shark attack file. and they report a yearly worldwide, shark attack summaries.

And there's something like about 140 cases reported globally. and of those, they break it down in different sections, but unprovoked attacks, where did you know. Humans have done nothing to create. The interaction is around 64 attacks globally, but provoke attacks where a human sort of somehow initiate some interaction with the animal is up there at 41 says right red behind that.

and if you think of 140 attacks globally, with the amount of people that are in the siege here, doing Marine activities, it's pretty small. so you know, the overall risk of encountering a shark, much less being attacked by one, is almost, nonexistent and as divers, that's even lower snorkeling and free diving is about.

11% of the time. Whereas if you're like a surfer or doing a board sport in a surface, it's closer to 53% and scuba is down at 3%. sharks are perceived as dangerous. Cause they're top predators bird. They actually generally just run away from you when you see them right now. I'm

Justin Miller: [00:34:34] Yeah, that's

interesting. my old dive shop. We used to have a poster on the wall that had you're more likely to be struck by lightning. You're more likely to, was it a, have a vending machine fall on you? And that poster was on a vending machine, which was really funny.

I think it was also be killed by flaming pajamas. There was all sorts of things that were just ridiculous and far more deadly than sharks.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:34:57] Yeah, you're more likely to be run over by a cow or something.

Amit Parasram: [00:35:00] It's an interesting thing. Cause I'll be honest, like there's no question about it. I've been in the water with sharks and in the Caribbean numerous times, it doesn't really bother me a whole lot. Usually you can see there's hundreds of feet of visibility, the idea of jumping into some of even Nova Scotia's waters with great whites kicking around, I'm like, I'm not sure if I'd want to do that. it's, I guess when you think about what Nick's saying, I think one of the things that actually propagates the stereotype is how we talk about it and how we think about it. And I wonder, I don't know, Nick, what are your thoughts? But, they call them shark attacks right.

In these situations. And I firmly think that they're not actually attacking. People in a lot of cases, are they, so maybe it's like a fact that the terminology itself lends itself to some of this hype that we have. And a lot of these are exploratory bites. They're not a hundred percent sure what it is.

That's in the water or it's a confusion between one thing or the other. so I guess from my perspective, I even wonder if it's, if it is an attack per se or that's a

Nic Winkler-1: [00:35:56] Yeah. you can like debate terminology, but I think that's, and whether that's correct or not. I think one of the biggest things that if they've put sharks in a negative light is, has been media and, jaws is like singled out as probably having the biggest influence in, and creating negative light around sharks and every time sharks are portrayed or a lot of time they're portrayed in movies or in media, It's January as a top predator decide to eat people.

even, yeah, pretty much every time there's some sort of friends and media, they're quote unquote, attacking someone. and that really perpetuates a really negative stereotype, for an animal that has huge ecological significance. and I've seen sharks just get killed because they're just, somebody shoots them and just leaves them on the reef.

April Weickert: [00:36:40] Exactly. I might be showing my age here, but I've never seen jaws, but I have seen finding Nemo and in finding MIMO, the shark is not very nice.

Justin Miller: [00:36:52] Wait a minute. Don't they have a, mostly confusing my movies. there's a movie where the sharks are friends.

April Weickert: [00:36:58] they say fish are friends, not food, but then the shark smells the blood and he goes after the

Justin Miller: [00:37:03] yeah. Yeah, that does. There's a bad message to send your

Nic Winkler-1: [00:37:07] They are, there are predators rather than these do eat fish.

Justin Miller: [00:37:10] Yeah.

I guess it's realistic,

April Weickert: [00:37:12] Yeah. Fisher food, not friends.


Justin Miller: [00:37:14] so speaking of that, a couple dozens of shark bites, compared to just going to New York city are likely to get bitten, or about 1500 people a year, get bitten by somebody , in New York city alone.

don't go to New York.


Nic Winkler-1: [00:37:27] more likely be bitten, by

a podcast host than a

Justin Miller: [00:37:29] bi-pod, that's not in these numbers, but I'm going to go with yes. I'm the, I'm going to say definitely true.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:37:38] I mean, especially if you tell him that, Batman diving is better than Simon diving, you're probably going to

Amit Parasram: [00:37:43] Whoa,

April Weickert: [00:37:44] bit

Amit Parasram: [00:37:45] I'm just going to put it out there, but let's face it, if you're going to wear tanks on your back and you get bit by a shark, you're probably going to be more injured. If your tanks are on the side and you get bit probably going to be safer. let's go, that's gotta be fact, right?

do we need to

test that one or like yeah, exactly.

April Weickert: [00:38:00] that the tank on your back would help you cause it wouldn't be able to jump down on you. It's easy.

Amit Parasram: [00:38:05] know it's the side. So that's going to help you. let's face it, If they try to bite you, it's going to come around the sides. Look at all the tax on seals, just putting it out there.

Justin Miller: [00:38:14] Well, there you

Amit Parasram: [00:38:14] Side Mount is safer.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:38:16] It's fizzy Cola, physical.

Justin Miller: [00:38:18] That's great. thanks. thanks Nick. And a mint for that.

keeping us informed.

Amit Parasram: [00:38:23] I'm going to say Nick very much factual. I'm not sure you should listen to anything I had to say and all that much.

Justin Miller: [00:38:30] Oh, okay. All right. thanks. Thank you for letting us know where the were the line is there at least? speaking a line, I hear you're lining up to go diving this weekend. April. Where, what are you doing?

April Weickert: [00:38:42] This is the end of my own longest surface interval of my diving career. So I am. Very excited as, so this weekend I will be diving in Tobermory. Which, very excited about I have two dives there on Saturday. So my social media follow this week is going to be the dive shop I'm diving with up there, which is divers den and their Instagram.

It's just at diver's den. And who knows, maybe you'll, you'll see me on there enjoying the beautiful waters of Tobermory on Saturday.

Justin Miller: [00:39:23] make friends with the photographer. I want to see pictures.

April Weickert: [00:39:26] Yeah, that's true.

Amit Parasram: [00:39:28] Makes sense. Make friends with the divers.

April Weickert: [00:39:31] My GoPro is still in Halifax, so I'm just going to have to take it all in it's memories. So

Nic Winkler-1: [00:39:36] sounds awful.

April Weickert: [00:39:37] I know, I'm sorry guys. Maybe I can, maybe I can find something. Maybe I'll have to get one of those Amazon ones that Meg Scott for 70 bucks, she said it was like decent.

Justin Miller: [00:39:46] There you go. I'm sure there's some cheap electronic store in Toronto somewhere. You can just buy a cheap underwater camera that you'll get one use out of.

April Weickert: [00:39:55] yeah. Maybe I'll just get like a film one and take

some

pictures and like, yeah. See what happens.

I used to take

those to summer

Justin Miller: [00:40:03] bags. Yeah, I'm sure what's the worst that could happen.

April Weickert: [00:40:08] Yeah. The worst that happens is my photos suck and that's okay.

Justin Miller: [00:40:11] Oh,

April Weickert: [00:40:15] I have an iPhone, like seven. So I'm not,

I'm not there.

Yeah.

Justin Miller: [00:40:22] we expect a, inspected dive report

April Weickert: [00:40:23] I will give you a full report next week.

Justin Miller: [00:40:26] and we'll be checking out divers, dens, social media. See if, see if we can spot you in the

April Weickert: [00:40:31] Yeah. See if they post something about my charter.

Justin Miller: [00:40:35] Excellent. Alright. a while we're not diving and Tova Moria. Maybe we can be reading some books to Nick.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:40:42] yes. So this week's book recommendation is called reef life by Callum Roberts. And, I reviewed one of his other books on natural history of the sea and a previous episode of ours. so if you. Read that book. And you're like his writing style. I think reef life is going to be right up there for you.

The book takes you through the window world, wonderful world of coral reefs, through the adventures of the author, through his career as a scientist. and really he Callum immerses you, into the walls of rapes in ways that kinda makes you feel like you're actually there. So when you read the book and you read.

the really concise descriptions and how well it's written. You just kind of failure there, which is nice if you're stuck somewhere or I can go traveling. and then it features amazing photos by photographer, Alex mustard. and it also, obviously will. We'll tackle the issues of degradation of call reefs.

And so the future, the dire future that they face, unless we take action to save them globally. I think the general prediction of the current rate is that most rates will be gone by the turn of the century. it's available as a hard cover book. I think it's also available as an ebook, but I would really recommend the print copy for the photography that's in the book.

Justin Miller: [00:41:54] That's a good recommendation.

April Weickert: [00:41:55] Nick is like very legit. Cause he says photography and I would say pictures. would say you want the pictures?

Justin Miller: [00:42:03] gotta have a, got to have good

Nic Winkler-1: [00:42:05] Awkward silence.

April Weickert: [00:42:06] don't know. I know. Sorry guys. My

joke sucked.

Justin Miller: [00:42:10] now, they can't all be

April Weickert: [00:42:11] No, they can suck. You can add the little, like sad whistle noise after I said that.

Justin Miller: [00:42:18] A little want wa alright, I will, I'll get to editing that in right away, April. Although , if I'm successful, people have already heard it,

April Weickert: [00:42:26] Yeah, I know. It's another one of those awkward edits.

Justin Miller: [00:42:29] yeah. that's what we do here with no editing when it's important and awkward edits when it's not. All right. guys, guess what?

we've completed another episode of diving the podcast it's episode 25. So that means, we're halfway to 50.

April Weickert: [00:42:44] Or a fourth way to a hundred.

Justin Miller: [00:42:46] Yeah, that just doesn't sound quite as cool.

Amit Parasram: [00:42:50] Another.

Justin Miller: [00:42:51] April's jokes. Nailing it again.

April Weickert: [00:42:55] They really go downhill when we record this late.

Justin Miller: [00:42:58] Yeah. Yeah, yeah, we record that in the evenings. And so sometimes we get started a little later than others and sometimes, the hosts are a little bit more awake than others. So anyway. All right. that's it for today's episode. . I want to thank again, Sophie Morgan for joining us.

It was a excellent, interview and, hope to see her again, or hear from her again in the future as she, embarks on more and more projects. And we can check in with her and see how those are going, to my cohost. Thanks for being here, Nick. Thanks.

Nic Winkler-1: [00:43:26] Yeah, it's been a pleasure. It was great fun to chat with Sophie and hopefully we'll have her on another time as a live guest.

Justin Miller: [00:43:34] Yeah, definitely. And, I'm Mitt. Thanks for being here.

Amit Parasram: [00:43:37] Always a pleasure to be here. A happy to be able to snag in a little bit of side, Mount diving on shark safety there and, yeah. Overall pleasure.

Justin Miller: [00:43:46] Excellent. And April, thanks to you too.

April Weickert: [00:43:49] Thanks for having me and thanks for thanking me.

Justin Miller: [00:43:53] You're welcome. I know you like, I know you like the, the thank you. So I threw it back in this week to make sure it got there.

April Weickert: [00:43:58] Good. Thanks. Thanks for that.

Justin Miller: [00:44:01] Your welcome. You can follow the show on Instagram and Facebook with at dive in dot the podcast. Our email is dive in dot the podcast@gmail.com. You can visit our website@wwwdotdiveinthepodcast.com.

On there, you can send us a voice message or find links to all of our past episodes on social media. You can follow me at I dive. Okay. April's at April Weicker. Nick Winkler is at Nicholas Winkler photography. You can find links to everything we mentioned in today's episode on the show notes or on our website, dive in the podcast.com.

Next week we speak to Sergeant J white. He's the national training coordinator for the RCMP underwater recovery team.

This episode of dive in the podcast was brought to you by our sponsor torpedo Ray scuba, head over to your favorite podcast app to subscribe rate, and leave a review. It's very much appreciated. And thanks for listening.

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Dive In: The Podcast broadcasts from K'jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). Unceded and unsurrendered Mi’kmaq territory.