The Bodhi Wave documentary film crew members, Jazeen Hollings and Hannah Walsh, arrived to Bahia Ballena at the beginning of December and launched right into production tasks: getting to know the area and Bodhi Surf’s service, scoping out potential film sites, attempting to shepherd all the Bodhi owners into one place for a meeting, meeting and interviewing guests, and so much more. There have already been some very notable highs and lows, which the girls will describe to you in the following [highly amusing] back-and-forth! Enjoy.
Hola, Bahia: Riding the Waves, Yoga-ing the Poses, Fixing the Gear, and Making the Film
Jazeen: Whew, where to begin? Only two weeks into the production of The Bodhi Wave and so much has happened!
Hannah: It’s been an unreal experience so far that’s for sure. We have made a lot of spiffy memories already, and also had some kerfuffles along the way.
Jazeen: Let’s do a spiffy-kerfuffle-spiffy hamburger. Start on a high, discuss the nonsense in the middle, and end on another high.
Starting on a high
Jazeen: Firstly, the community of Bahia Ballena. One of the most welcoming and friendly communities I’ve ever been too.
Hannah: Our first week here we lived off site about a kilometer away with Wayne and Noilyn, two super friendly locals. Every morning at the crack of dawn we would bike to Bodhi and would say our morning hola’s to everyone we passed.
Jazeen: Yeah, I went for a jog one morning and there were about five locals in a row and you can’t NOT say hola to everybody. Especially when they make fierce eye contact with you. So I’m out of breath, running along, but I was determined to say hola to each person. That’s just the vibe here — really friendly.
Hannah: Everything about Bahia is unique, and it really has its own character. There aren’t many places in the world where the mountains literally meet the ocean, and where all you’re around is astounding nature and the best of people. I can’t imagine a more perfect community.
Jazeen: I wish we could talk more with the locals. Learning Spanish has been a strange experience. Remember the lady at Playa Hermosa?
Hannah: Man oh man, how can I forget that very interesting experience. So we were hanging on the beach at Playa Hermosa while Jazeen was trying to film Adrienne catching some waves. This women approached us and started asking questions in Spanish. After telling her, “Mi espanol es muy pequeño” she chuckled and continued to speak rapidly with words we couldn’t comprehend. As uncomfortable as it was, it was a learning experience for us, and the learning process has been easier by just diving into these awkward convos?
Jazeen: So much easier! But also so much harder. It’s definitely better to try to speak the language, even if it makes no sense. Just pretend. Nod. Smile. Be polite. Wave frantically. Then feel extremely stupid. But I think we’re picking it up.
Hannah: Before we know it, come March, our Spanish will be on fire. I’m already missing the Bodhi Sessions guests we had from last week. My favorite memories with them were definitely the hilarious dinner conversations, riding waves with them, and Simon’s purple shorts. What were yours? Are you missing them yet?
Jazeen: Haha! The purple shorts are definitely up there. One of the best memories was when the whole group was out past the break, floating in the water, and we were all catching waves even though we had only been surfing for five days. There was just this vast feeling of camaraderie, and so many laughs out there. Learning to surf has been a life-changing experience. I totally get why surfers are so obsessed with the ocean. It’s a goal of mine to feel comfortable in the water, and learn how to read the ocean. I WILL RIDE THE WAVES FOR DAYS! Hannah, on the other hand, is like a crazy water mystic — catching all the waves.
Hannah: Jazeen, I have total confidence that you will be shredding come March. For me, being a bike ride away from the waves has been life-changing already. I’ve always had an unexplainable attachment to the water and surfing regularly has been the best thing to happen to me. Doing yoga is another story — and has been an enjoyable challenge. Jazeen has that Vinyasa flow down next level though!
Jazeen: Pilar is an amazing teacher! She connects the practice with the deeper meaning behind the poses, which I really dig. I’ve been practicing yoga for a bit on my own and before that, my mom had taught me. It calms the mind and helps you focus. The Vinyasa style is a challenge for me as well. Especially when it’s so hot here; beads of sweat flow from my pores.
Hannah: It’s nuts how we keep saying how hot it is, when the real heat hasn’t even hit yet! The rays are only going to get stronger and the beads of sweat are only going to be getting heavier. It’s strange how even the ocean doesn’t feel much different then the hot air. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone re-apply as much sunblock as Jazeen — her freckle game is strong!
Jazeen: It’s either bathe in sunblock or become a lobster and venture into the ocean with the other crustaceans to live the simple life. The sun will one day be my friend and not my sworn enemy. Filming in this heat has been a challenge, the fan on the camera is going at 110% and the interviewees need sweat rags to wipe their faces. Either that or they’re all crying because of how great an interviewer I am. However, we’ve had a few production hiccups already, am I right?
A few production hiccups
Hannah: We have come to the conclusion that these phases of poor luck come in three’s and I think we’ve officially gotten there and are now optimistic that things can only go up. It all started with your Mic kit. Who knew how much of an effect this humidity could really have, making equipment suddenly not functional.
Jazeen: The mic kit was working totally fine until it suddenly wasn’t! For some inexplicable reason, it just won’t turn on. Luckily I had a backup audio recorder but it’s super frustrating when you purchase something that expensive just to have it cack out on you. I’ve tried all the solutions but alas, R.I.P., microphone kit.
Hannah: It was a week of a few R.I.P.’s at that. I don’t think we’ll ever forget our morning at the waterfall. It was so beautiful and relaxing until the in-water filming began. Before I knew it, the casing flooded and you then ran over to me as I was yelling, “IT’S FLOODING!” A few stumbles, a taxi trip, and two days of my camera sitting in rice later, we said our farewells to the brave piece of equipment. Then, the very next day, I thought it would be wonderful to fly the drone over the famous Whale Tail here in Bahia Ballena, but after the long walk out there, I was shocked to see that my drone’s wiring had come loose and it would not be able to take flight without repair.
Jazeen: The insanity seemed to be never-ending. You said you sat on the beach for 40 minutes in wide-eyed disbelief, pouring sweat, staring at your broken drone and wondering, “Why?” To be honest, when I saw you later and you told me the drone was broken I just couldn’t stop laughing. Like, what is happening?! You made up your mind to go to San Jose the very next day and get the drone fixed. You were set on this quest. But luckily, Adrianne had a friend in town who was very familiar with drones and told you of a contact much closer who could fix it. YES! Take that, universe.
Conquering obstacles and taking names
Hannah: You’re right, take that world! Yeah, we are so grateful and humbled at how helpful everyone here has been in regards to all the shenanigans. We have a returning Bodhi guest coming down on Christmas Eve and bringing the new camera I was able to purchase, as well as the Mic kit! She’s really saving the day. Even with all of the craziness though, nothing has taken away from how amazing this experience has been so far. We will overcome the obstacles!
Jazeen: Totally, amidst all the craziness we have already gotten some great footage. The interviews about the Bodhi Team’s life stories are so interesting. We can already see a very unique story coming together. I hope you’ve learned a lot about the documentary process.
Hannah: I’ve definitely learned so much in just the short time we have been here so far. I’ve realized how much there is I don’t know, but you have been a great, great filming mentor. I’ve also learned a lot just from the interviews we’ve done and the like you said, the unique life stories they all have. I’m looking forward to the rest of this journey as it all unfolds.
Jazeen: Yeah man, glad to hear you’re learning lots for your future across-America journey. So stoked to meet more people, hear more stories, and overcome more obstacles. Let’s do this thang.