Tobermory, if you every have the chance to visit, is a small, charming and gorgeous place to spend your summer. The team was contacted recently with an incredible opportunity to swim in the Georgian Bay for the 150th Anniversary of Canada! SESQUI is an interactive media touring festival that will travel across the country in 2017. They have been filming all across Canada and will show the world a 360 degree view of our beautiful country! I have to say that the vision behind this project is incredible. Who would think to film Ballet in an airport, or synchro in a lake?? They did! We are so privileged to be a scene in this 20 minute film that will be shown in dome theatres everywhere.
At around 2:30pm on September 7th, after a plane to Toronto and a 4 hour bus, 8 of our girls at the Centre of Excellence took the 30
minute boat ride out of the Tobermory Harbour, to the edge of the Georgian Bay. There were 3 boats, one for the girls, which provided snacks, tea, and blankets, one for the crew and one rescue boat. The water was gorgeous and incredibly clear. We would be swimming about 200 metres from shore in front of what the crew called “the orb”, a bundle of cameras that would shoot a 360 degree view of the area, right over top of one of the many shipwrecks. As we arrive, we realize that the “lake” is not behaving the way you would think, more like an OCEAN if you ask me! We had huge waves with white caps coming off of them…. not ideal for SynchronizedSwimming…
While we wait for the “OK” to jump into the water, we hear OUR music blaring from the shore line. It was epic. The entire team was in awe… OUR Fire & Ice music seemed to fit so well in this scenery; waves crashing, with the cool air and the sun setting in the background with the clear, erry water showing us all of it’s past triumphs. All we could muster was, “wooooooooow!!”
Even more comically, as the crew (in wetsuits) shares that the water is “not that cold” the team is in our competition outfits. Hair gelled, make up on and in our tiny sparkling suits, we jump into the Bay, with blood curdled screams! Rumours say the water was between 16 to 20 degrees. Though I would move that closer to the 16 degree mark…. there was some moments of panic, we quickly warmed up (as much as possible) and made our way to the ‘orb’ where we would do the rest of our filming.
After a quick rehearsal, and a small break, the orb was lowered into the water. Because the water was so cold and the waves were physically displacing our pattern at ever possible chance, our plan of swimming a 1.5 minute section was immediately a “no go”. We ended up having to do 10 seconds of our routine at a time. The below water shots were pretty easy to do because we could communicate above the water the whole time, minus one minor miscommunication where the orb was to shallow to swim above…. Imagine 8 girls using hand signals and screaming to the director (who is on shore) to drop the orb deeper into the water…. with very little success. Until a few minutes later he said over the microphone, “ohhhhh the orbs to shallow!” All of us start to laugh and scream “YESSSSSS!” Haha a little comic relief to get over the chill creeping over our bodies!
I have to say that the above water shoot, which just consisted in divers bringing the orb above the water on a pole that was anchored to the bottom of the bay, was extremely fun. This is the time where we really realized how beautiful this was going to be! The lake started to calm itself, the sun was in the perfect position and we (after many times training the sections) were finally getting comfortable in the water. The best part of the above shoot is that there can be no one around us….. So for about 5 minutes we would wait for the 3 boats to leave us out there…. all alone, above a shipwreck, with the crew literally hiding from the cameras. The music would start and we would do our small sections over and over again until it was time to call in the rescue boat! They would be the 1st on the scene to get us out of the water and check whether we got the shot. Of course there was some technical issues, so we would go in a few more times to get the perfect shot. Seriously, if you could have seen the view behind us as we swam, you would have fallen in love with this place too.
In total, we were out on the water for 4.5 hours and in the water for about 3 of them. We were chilly and exhausted after, but the experience of swimming in the bay that day will last forever.