In a rare event last week, a giant basking shark was spotted several miles inland on the Big Island of Hawaii. Upon closer inspection, onlookers found this 23’ specimen to be made of fabric and air and accompanying screenings of our newest film, The Shark Riddle, which won Best Creative Work at the Waimea Ocean Film Festival!
We’d like to thank the Waimea Ocean Film Festival and The Save Our Seas Foundation for making it possible for us to share our “Shark Day” presentation with the people of Hawaii. Through a combination of film, breakfast talks, Q&As, receptions, art exhibits and activities, the festival is designed to inspire, educate and engage participants in a celebration of the ocean and island culture, and an increased awareness of the same. Throughout the week, we shared The Shark Riddle at three public screenings, as well as a school presentation for students at the Hawaii Preparatory Academy. The students were so great to meet – in fact, two kindergarten students (with help from their Principal) presented us with beautiful leis when we arrived. After our program, we loved talking with the students, and we especially loved that there was a ukelele music class practicing while we were packing up our gear.
Their Principal later wrote: “On behalf of all our students, teachers and staff at Hawaii Preparatory Academy, I want to thank you for your generous grant to Laura and Rob Sams that allowed them to bring The Riddle Solvers to our elementary students in January . . . this dynamic sister-brother team charmed all of us not only with their amazing movie but also with the incredible educational program they shared with the children. As they talked about the diversity of shark species and how important sharks are to maintaining a healthy ocean, they reinforced so many of our values and teachings that we share with our children in school.We found both Laura and Rob to be highly engaging, fun, animated and well spoken presenters for our kindergarteners through fifth graders. It is no small feat to keep such a range of learners at rapt attention for almost an hour and they did exactly that. The smiles on the children’s faces as they left with their packet of fun educational activities AND their fabulous temporary tattoos were priceless. Thank you for your support of this dynamic duo and for giving them the opportunity to make a difference to our students. It was an amazing presentation, ‘the best we have ever had’, as several teachers commented!”
We participated in the festival as part of our “Shark Days” grant from the Save Our Seas Foundation. The grant funded this custom inflatable shark, which we take with us as a way for people feel what it’s like to stand next to a true giant of the ocean, and to open minds to the true diversity of sharks. The basking shark is the second largest fish in the ocean, growing to 33 feet, and is completely harmless to humans as it only eats plankton.