Where Are We?

We are in the Atlantic Ocean, on a volcanic pinnacle rising 3000 metres out of the Atlantic Ridge.

Apparently we are a long away, but it doesn't feel so, it's the sort of place that feels very familiar. Here on Faial potatoes, bananas and pineapples thrive,blue hydrangeas bloom abundantly in hedgerows and every sort of weather is a daily occurrence. Strange - but in a good way


Ammonite's Night Shift

This was the scene at 4am last Friday morning at Heathrow airport.

We have now arrived in the Azores, the 500 metre cable that got lost has finally been delivered and we are in the process of adapting our boat, the Maikira.

News Flashes and photos are posted on our Facebook page.


This is the big one

Dual colour camera sees dolphins on a dark night, lit only by their bioluminescent wakes

Now we’re off to find a giant squid. We’ve been planning and building for almost a year, dreaming for a decade. Are we ready?

Gupster 5 has been designed on the basis of the shortcomings of the previous 4. The cameras have been evolving for years, and the new dual colour system has proved it’s worth in Belize and Mexico - to film things no one has ever filmed before. Now we want it to show us things no one has seen before.

The underwater housings have been depth tested, the deep sea cable communicates with the recording computers. Our boat, the Makaira is waiting in the harbour for us to start rigging the cable support system. We’re as ready as we’ll ever be.


How Many Filmmakers Fit In A Cupboard?

Last week the Southampton Oceanographic Centre appeared to be trying to enter the record books for the amount of people it could squeeze into one of it's small research labs; apart from all the tanks and microscopes in the cupboard-sized space, there were three camera people and a producer plus Charlotte Marcinko (pictured above) and Martha Valiadi who are working on aspects of bioluminescence in plankton at the Oceanographic Centre.

Charlotte and Martha have been extremely patient and helpful over the last few months while we have been trying to set this shoot up. Cultivating the plankton (Pyrocystis fusiformis)is a skilled feat, these animals are difficult to cultivate in the quantities that we need for filming.

We got the light show and an important sequence in our story of how important bioluminescence is to a marine ecosystem.

We will now make a giant step to the next phase of filming as we head for the Azores in our grand quest to find and film a giant squid.


Ammonite - An Endless Tea Party?

James Wright is a budding cameraman(he's the one holding all the mugs in the photo); he offered his services to Ammonite for a few weeks in order to get some relevant work experience before setting off on an awfully big adventure. Before he leaves us at the end of this week, we thought we'd find out what he thinks are the worst things about working at Ammonite.

1 Making endless teas and coffees everyone wants something different.
2 Soldering after a few hours you’ll have a headache and hand cramp.
3 The walk to the post office
4 The commute in to Ammonite from Bath it can sometimes take an hour and a half.
5 Being on the outskirts of the action knowing you are involved but wishing you could be more so.

'Despite all of the above, I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve been asked to do in the last 3 weeks and I wish the crew every bit of luck in the Azores.'

(Good luck to you too James, happy travels - ed.)


Why Are We So Interested In Bioluminescence?

When Martin Dohrn first observed Bioluminescence he knew that he wanted to record and explore this amazing natural phenomenon. Thus began the story of Ammonite's incredible Starlight Cameras.

Early results were impressive but commissioners were far more interested in capturing the night life of land animals - until last year Ammonite's low-light camera stayed in the dry.

Last year National Geographic Channel laid down the challenge for us to find the Giant Squid, it was the opportunity we have been waiting for and we leapt at it.

To date, most of the deep sea exploration has been made using trawlers dragging nets or using noisy ROV's these haven't really yielded great results.

We knew that Ammonite's cameras could be the secret weapon in this search for the animal that has eluded all other expeditions. There have been so many difficulties; we have had to work out how to overcome the logistical problems of getting our camera deep enough into the ocean, how to keep it steady in the water and we needed to understand where and how to look for the giant squid. We have had enormous help from many scientists who have already spent their working lifetime trying to enrich our knowledge of life in the ocean, one of these scientific giants is Edie Widder, her TED talk is a great introduction to the wonders of bioluminescence and gives some idea of what we are trying to build on:


The Giant Cable

The cable we took to Mexico last month was a baby compared to the one going to the Azores, this super-hi-tech beast weighs more than a pair of beefy men.

In order for this monster to travel safely Florian Bailhache made a special box on a pallet. The Giant Cable started it's journey to the Azores today where we will be lowering it into the deep ocean to help us look for the Giant Squid