Ella and the Secret of Shark Rock

This is the story of Ella Addison, an extraordinary 12 year old girl who swims with sharks. It is a family tradition. When she enters the underwater world of Shark Rock she comes face to face with Tiger Sharks , Blacktips, Bull sharks and Raggies. Read more

Genre: Documentary | Kids + Family
Duration: 50 minutes
Availability: Limited

Curious by nature and with the help of her grandfather, her parents and a Marine biologist,
Ella starts a school project aimed at solving this mystery. The Addison’s is not your normal average family. Grandfather Brent Addison, an oceanographer designed and built the first underwater habitat in the seventies. Ella’s love for the ocean runs deep.

Her parents, Mark and Gail Addison run Blue Water Wilderness, a diving company that offers film logistics and face to face encounters with sharks. Shark Rock on the South Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal is practically in their back yard and Tiger sharks, their biggest attraction.

They are particularly busy during the annual Sardine Run when different species of sharks attack massive moving bait-balls. Black Tips migrate to Shark Rock to partake in this feast and then move on. But for the past three to four years, they are staying put. Mark begins to notice the effect on the resident population. His Tigers are disappearing. Ella however, has fallen in love with the Black Tips. She calls them her 12 dancing princesses. Where do they come from? Why are they only females? Where are the males?
These happen to be the same questions that intrigue Jessica Escobar, a feisty Colombian Marine Biologist doing her doctoral thesis on Black Tips. She has a few more riddles to solve: Are these black tips related, do they hunt collaboratively and what impact do they have on Tigers, Raggies and Duskies? Mark would also like to know as his business depends on regular interaction with Tigers.

Ella and Jessica make a formidable team. They team up with champion free-diver Fred Buyle who flies in from Belgium. Diving without scuba, he gets much closer to the sharks. He collects DNA samples using a modified spear gun. While Jessica compiles and analysis the genetic information, Ella compiles a visual diary of her dives on Shark Rock to present to her school.

Ella joins her Grandfather, now almost 80, in search for the wreck of the first underwater habitat. Together they dream up the idea of building another submersible housing unit to accommodate the crazy Shark Family Addison. Brent has a vast knowledge and has seen a change happening on reefs such as Shark Rock. He reckons global warming and over-fishing could have triggered the Black Tip invasion. Brent becomes another expert in Ella’s school project.

But it is the research that Jessica and Ella initiate that solves the wonderful secret of Shark Rock.

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