Dangerous Waters on location: Andrew Mazzella

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When we signed on with Dangerous Waters we didn’t know what to expect. Although we aren’t riding along with the crew we have had the rare opportunity to stay in touch with this daring team on their adventure around the world. We had a chance to catch up with field producer, Andrew Mazzella.

In season one, Andrew signed on as the cameraman responsible for documenting the entire adventure. Pretty quickly he added on-screen talent to his list of responsibilities. As if this wasn’t enough, Andrew later became the studio producer and played a huge part in editing season one in Sacramento, Calif.

For season two, Andrew will remain a jack-of-all-trades serving as a field producer, camera operator and on-screen talent. He will drive his own Sea-Doo in addition to his other roles, giving him a whole new perspective of the open sea. Before Andrew and the team set off on the next leg of their adventure, we had a chance to ask him a few questions and learned a little bit about his life and his role on this crazy journey..

Q: It sounds like you’ve spent some time all over the world. Where are you from?

A: I was born in Mount Holly, New Jersey and grew up in Saipan, in the South Pacific for seven years before moving to Petersburg, Alaska. I lived there until I finished high school and then moved to Bozeman, Montana where I live today.

Q: How did you get involved in this kind of cinematography?

A:  Well before season one of Dangerous Waters, I was by no means considered a professional cameraman. I’d been shooting snowmobile jumping and all kinds of crazy stuff that all my buddies have been doing for years. What was just kind of a hobby and progressed to doing some work for short films that have come out and documenting, that sort of thing. I’ve been a commercial fisherman for 10 years and I’d always film our exploits every summer, just the things we were doing for salmon fishing, and pretty soon I was doing crab fishing in the Bearing Sea. I’d have go-pros filming while we were working and stuff. I just kind of learned about filming on my own.

Q: How do you like living in Bozeman, MT?

A: It’s just a great all-around place. I love the mountains, I love when it’s sunny out, I love being out on the lake. The one thing I miss though is the ocean. I’ve pretty much grown up on the water and I really miss it.

Q: As a kid, did you ever have dreams of doing something like this?

A: I never had dreams of traveling around the world on a Sea-Doo. The ocean has been my way of making a living but I never really thought about it much more than as a job. This is kind of a job too, especially with the film aspect of it, but I never thought I’d be on an adventure like this.

Q: So, what are the types of emotions you feel leading up to something this big?

A: I just honestly don’t know what’s gonna happen. Last year, every day it was something new — something different. Pretty much nothing we planned on happening happened, it was just by the seat of our pants. But this year we’re prepared so we’ll be able to take all those new experiences in stride and hopefully make the best of everything as it comes.

Q: Do you feel more prepared this year than you did last year?

A:  I feel a little more prepared. I know everyone else thinks we’re a ton more prepared but to me I feel there are a few things we could have planned out a little bit better, but as of right now we’re going for it.

Q:  How does your family feel about your journey?

A: My mom’s a bit worried about the whole thing and my brother is pretty stoked about what we’re doing. I’ve always done my own thing so this to me is not nearly as bad as the Opilio crab season that I’ve done for the last four years out in the Bering Sea. This Dangerous Waters thing is kind of a walk in the park compared to some of those days.

Q: Do you feel it’s tougher to be on a large crabbing operation or out on these little Sea-Doos?

A:It is nice to be out on a big boat. On these little 10 foot machines we’re definitely at the mercy of the weather. When I’m crabbing we can be out in swells as big as the ocean can throw at us, though we may not be fishing, just running real slow to stay afloat. On the Sea-Doos, at some point waves will get big enough that we’ll have to be on the beach hiding out.

Q: What was the scariest moment from season one?

A: The last day of filming the season finale I was very concerned. We got out into the middle of the Bering Strait and the weather really started kicking up. Waves were almost doubling in size and the wind was picking up. We ended up losing a ski, the waves were rolling guys over, then the camera ski died. We had five guys and two working machines at that point and that’s just the worst situation we could have possibly been in. I was scared that last day.

Q: Do you guys carry emergency beacons or anything like that?

A: We didn’t carry any safety gear on the first trip. This year we have sat-phones, some beacons, strobes and stuff. I showed up for season one thinking we would have everything — sleeping bags, EPIRBS, satellite phones, VHF’s, everything I just mentioned — and we had none of that. We kind of acquired it as we went, but starting out we didn’t have anything.

Q:  You’ve obviously spent a lot of time at sea crabbing and fishing. Do you have any superstitions that you fall back on? Rules to heed?

A: One thing is don’t whistle because you’ll whistle up a storm. That’s a true thing … I’ve done that over the years crabbing. I never whistle on a boat. When you take out these Sea-Doos it’s the same sort of thing.

Q: In season one you ran into whales and other sea animals. What kind of stuff goes through your mind when you run into those sorts of creatures?

A: Again, I am somewhat hardened toward some of this stuff from having seen it so much in my life fishing. We see whales all the time and it’s never a super shocking or surprising thing to see them, but it is a beautiful sight. I think the coolest bit of wildlife we saw in season one was a wolverine. I’d never seen one in person before.

Q: What is the biggest motivating factor when you guys are out there getting battered by the waves and freezing and having mechanical problems or whatever it might be … What’s that thing that keeps you driven?

A: Wealth and fame. No. I’m just determined in anything I do and if I agree to do something I’m going to give it 110%. Our goal is to get out there and do this so I’m driven to succeed.

Q: What kind of items do you carry with you in your gear pack?

A: For me, I have two sea bags that I use to carry all of my clothing and camping gear. Then I have a few gear bags that have OtterBoxes inside of them with all of my camera gear.

Q: Do you have a smartphone that you plan to take with you on the trip?

A: Yeah I’ll be carrying my iPhone. I’ve got a lot of pictures of my girlfriend and things at home. When I’m feeling down or having a tough day I can look at some pictures. It really helps me, so that’s one of the main reasons I bring my phone.

Q: Are you bringing music with you too?

A: Yeah, I’ve got a ton of music on my iPhone. I don’t want to take away too much from the rustic experience, but I’ll probably be jamming every now and then.

Q: Is there a specific app that you use music-wise? Do you use Pandora, Spotify, anything like that?

A: A lot of the music I have was bought on iTunes, but I do love Pandora. One of my favorite bands is Metallica so I have a Metallica station. I like hip-hop and rap too; I’ve got all kinds of stuff on there, country, even … a little bit of everything. My quick mix can bring you a pretty broad spectrum.

Q: What advice do you have for someone who wants to take on their own adventure?

A: Just be prepared. To me, you can do anything. If you have the determination and the people you need, then with proper planning, gear, preparation and knowing how to survive – yeah, you can do anything. It just it comes down to are you prepared enough?

With OtterBox as the official technology protector for the adventurers, they’ll test the limits of protection using the all new Pursuit Series dry boxes to keep their gear safe.

Throughout the summer we’ll have stories from the road, exclusive behind-the-scenes videos and we’ll introduce you to more of the team over the next several weeks. You can also get in on the action by following us on Twitter using the #OtterWaters hashtag and becoming a fan on Facebook. Stay tuned for more info!

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