I have lots of UK marine life footage available for broadcast and my quest is to get it out there so people can appreciate what we have and help protect it. I spend a lot of time with the animals I film – this is the only way to reveal their stories and behaviour. In the UK, weather and poor visibility can make this tricky. The only way I can build up the story is to keep going back when conditions are good and putting in the time underwater.
I always have several projects underway, waiting on weather windows and annual cycles of behaviour. Some stories come easily, others are a slow burn…
One of my slow-burn stories is UK seahorses. I’ve had a licence to film seahorses at Studland for several years now. During the boom years (up to 2010), seahorses were spotted there on most dives. Since 2010, the Studland seahorse population has crashed along with my hopes of filming their life-cycle. If you want to see Studland’s seahorses in the glory days get a look at Steve Trewhella and Julie Hatcher’s super book “In the Company of Seahorses”.
Steve and Julie have been extremely helpful, sharing their expertise, advice, and giving “fins on” tours of the seagrass. This footage was shot with Steve and Julie back in 2015. As you’ll see, these animals are masters of disguise. They blend into their surroundings and sway with the seagrass.
After several years of filming Studland’s seahorses, I’m nowhere near a life-cycle story. But the good news is the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) have now granted me and Steve a new licence to film anywhere in English waters, up to 12 miles offshore.
So if you spot a seahorse we’d love to hear about it. If we can, we’ll come and film reported sightings. With a bit of luck, the UK seahorse film will come together a bit more quickly.
Words by Andy