Nat Geo WILD: Live-Blogging the ‘Shark Attack Experiment’

Excited, thrilled, anxious, exhilarated, intrigued . . . just a few words to describe the emotions I feel as my journey to join the crew of “Shark Attack Experiment Live” in South Africa approaches. I have over 30 years experience on live television productions and am fortunate enough to have been on a great number of incredible expeditions. These include “Egypt Week Live” and “Croc Week Live,” “The Search for the USS Indianapolis”, “Live from a Shark Cage” in the Bikini Islands, and three separate Titanic expeditions. Each trip is of course unique and it has been an amazing ride. Still, I am incredibly excited to be able to participate in this one.

The program is extremely ambitious, the research is groundbreaking, the cast & crew are the best in the world in their fields, the location is spectacular, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it.

My role is to take the viewers along for the ride behind the scenes of this effort. With video, photos and dispatches to this blog I hope to be able to provide a sense of what it is like to be on the ground (and water) with this unbelievable team. I have the luxury of time in providing interviews with the crew to a greater level than can be done in the program. I hope to be able to answer specific viewer questions and also demonstrate what life is like on the production.

Our destination is Scottburgh – on the South East Coast of South Africa. It is in an area known as the Umdoni Coast and referred to as the “Jewel Within the Paradise.” There are over 300 confirmed species of birds in the area and lots of Sharks in the water. Named after Sir John Scott, the then Lieutenant-Governor of Natal, Scottburgh was laid out in 1860 and became the first substantial town south of Durban.

Physically, there is not much preparation required aside from getting shots . . . a lot of shots. Between a trip to South Africa to work the World Cup last year and this trip I have had 3 Hepatitis A and 2 Hepatitis B immunizations, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Polio and of course a Flu shot.

The hardest part of this effort has actually been the logistical planning. With a location as remote as Scottburgh I can’t depend on an electronics store around the corner or an overnight delivery from Amazon. Therefore, I must be prepared for any contingency that might arise and carry as much redundancy as possible. I am bringing seven road cases and two duffel bags of gear, plus additional equipment I am renting in Johannesburg. I will have seven video and still cameras, three computers & possess the capability to do anything from a Tweet to a live webcast (and this is just for the web effort – the television production itself has needs on a far greater scale). The trip will involve three airplanes and two trucks and will take nearly two days. And by the time I arrive the production will already be underway so I will need to hit the ground running and not slow down for a week.

In addition to all the professional emotions listed above, there is the personal side. Jobs like ours require a great deal of time away from home. Over the years I have missed countless birthdays, holidays, first & last days of school, piano recitals, and more. This time it is Thanksgiving. My family understands as best they can though, and share my enthusiasm at being so lucky to take trips like this one. So, I’ve checked and re-checked my gear as the trip grows nearer and the excitement builds.

Then, the adventure begins for all of us . . .

Changing Planet

Meet the Author
Bob Sitrick is a 30-year TV production and operations veteran who's produced countless live television and online events. Follow him on Twitter at @bobsitrick