Topic: Updates

12 Hours in Mumbai

Preparing to head north, the crew joins a snake rescue team, learns to play cricket, and explores Mumbai on motorcycle.

Many Indians believe in fate. That is to say, the path you are on is the path you must follow. Well, we must be on a strange path.

Our day started simply enough; a shave and a haircut at the local barber, an attempt to buy train tickets to Delhi so we can be at The Ganga’s source for Diwali—the festival of lights—followed by some chai. Then suddenly, Josh is playing cricket in an alley with school kids and before we know it, we’re off chasing after 7ft. rat snakes on motorcycles.

Vishal and his friends, Zeeshan Mirza, a Researcher in Mumbai, and Rajesh Sanap, an economy student turned researcher, voluntarily capture unwanted snakes and other critters and release them back into the jungle. “We do it because we love animals,” Vishal says. “All kinds.” They have a lot of love. “It is very hard not to get bit when rescuing sea snakes,” Zeeshan told me. “And they are almost all poisonous…the cobras aren’t that bad.”

They got a call reporting two “big snakes” that needed to be removed from a local business park, and invited us to come along. There was six of us altogether, including Zeeshan and Rajesh, and we had two motorcycles. JJ, Josh, and Vishal rode together on one; Rajesh, Zeeshan, and myself on the other. We captured both snakes. They were big; six-foot and seven-foot long rat snakes, respectively. JJ and Josh got to try their hands at snake handling, while I chose to concentrate, on handling the camera.

It’s hard to say what exactly the next step on our journey will be, but we’re going north, to the source of The Ganga River for Diwali. That’s the plan, anyway. It is fated.

An Auspicious Twist of Fate

This is India! Arriving to a cacophony of competing horns, sweat-purging heat, and an incredible variety of life, all new to our naive Alaskan eyes, we are reassured by a warm face.

MUMBAI—Several months back we had the good fortune to meet a young Indian man traveling for his first time to Alaska. “I love the mountains and I wanted to see bears.” Recounts Vishal Shah.

On the tarmac of a Fairbanks airport Vishal paced up and down the aisle, waiting for his delayed flight to depart. As chance would have it, our good Alaskan friend, Devin, was on the same plane. The two weren’t sitting next to each other, but eventually began to share their stories.

“Devin was just sitting alone and the flight got delayed and we were stranded in Fairbanks, I was just taking my walks in the airplane. He asked me ‘Where are you going?’ I told him, I’m going to Seward, but I don’t know where I’m going. Then he said ‘you could stay with me.'”

Vishal took Devin up on his offer to stay in one of his three apartments. We ended up being neighbors. I was in Seward, preparing for our Ganges Scout Trip. I introduced Vishal to Josh and we did our best to show Vishal the Alaska that we loved. When the time came for him to make his way back home, we left with a promise to meet again in India.

Fast-forward several months to our Ganges Scout Trip: there he was at the airport, waving enthusiastically. He took us to his house where we explained our plan to visit several places along the sacred Ganga for a scout for our upcoming expedition film that will take us journeying down the entire length of India’s most sacred river. We expressed our fears of traveling in a country that Josh and I nor our cameraman, Dave, had ever visited. Then before we knew it, all had been decided. Vishal would join us on the scout!

Now, we have just a few more days to prepare all that we’ll need in India’s second most populated city. Soon we’ll embark on our adventure together. First, we must travel for several days by train, bus, and foot to the source of the Ganga. Our goal is to arrive just in time for Diwali, one of the most important Hindu holidays and a major celebration, taking place at the head of the Ganga.

So, here we are; an unlikely international team of adventurers. We’re thrilled to have Vishal along. We’re so proud that we could show him Alaska, and we’re overjoyed that we can now learn about his home-country from him.

And, Yes, Vishal did see a bear when he was in Alaska. Now, I wonder if we’ll find what we’re looking for.

Behind the Lens Infront of India


I’m Dave, the cameraman.

In June I heard Josh and JJ were planning something BIG. What, exactly? I did not know. Where? India…maybe. At the time, JJ was in D.C., working at National Geographic Television. Josh was in Seward, Alaska, working a variety of jobs; tugboats, construction, you name it. I was in Duluth, Minnesota, fighting wildfires and working as a freelance journalist. They said they wanted to go on an adventure and make another movie. They didn’t know any specifics, besides that it was going to take place in India, they had never been to India before, neither of them spoke Hindi, and they needed money. They also needed somebody that could hold a camera and tell a story. That’s where I come in, I guess. I don’t speak Hindi, and I don’t have much money.

JFK International to Mumbai via Abu Dhabi

Four months later, we are all in New York City, committed to fly to Mumbai tonight on a scout. “Scout,” I’m told, means to “go to the glacial headwater of The Ganges River, and let it guide us to unique stories.” We are going to immerse ourselves in one of the most culturally diverse and populated countries in the world—filming what we can—with the hopes of returning to eventually make a feature film. We have one-way tickets, malaria pills, and Fortuna’s wheel is spinning wildly.

Bottom line: We’re off! And we don’t know what is going to happen…

We’ll see you in India!

—Dave Costello

Departure is Imminent

One full year after premiering Paddle to Seattle at the Port Townsend Film Festival we’ve been fortunate to watch the film prosper over the past 12 months. This included 2 national broadcasters carrying the film (NBC Universal Sports and Outside TV), several regional TV broadcasts on PBS affiliates, thousands of DVDs sold, 14 domestic and international film festivals awards, and international TV deals as well. Still there’s no time to revel in the past, life is far too short for that.

Screening of Paddle to Seattle at Explorers Club HQ in NYC

The third instillation from Dudes on Media is already underway. Next week Josh, JJ, and a cameraman, Dave Costello, will travel to India for a 6-week scout of the sacred Ganges River. The Ganges, or Ganga as it’s called in India, stretches from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal—carrying with it the stories of more than 400-million Indians. They believe the river is more than a body of water but also a god. The river also hosts a litany of complicated problems: volume shortages, extreme disease, and is perhaps the most polluted river on the planet. This all against the backdrop that India is at a crossroads. India has more billionaires than any country in Asia, and their economy is experiencing radical growth. How will the Ganga carry on?

Our goal is to take our humorous adventure storytelling out of Alaska and tell the story of the Ganga. The river has fascinated us for years, captivating in her inescapable beauty, we want to experience her and bring the stories back in another film.

Truth be told we’ve never been to India, Josh’s only international travel is Canada. For that we feel it imperative that we scout the river before committing to it’s length.

This blog will be the voice of the project. Soon it will be receiving a glitzy face-lift as well; find updates here and special updates on The Outside Blog.

More TV Time

Dear Friends,
We’re coasting down the wave of our first national broadcast for “Paddle to Seattle” and our freshman film “Pedal to the Midnight Sun”. We have seen a healthy boost in DVD sales and new members to our facebook and twitter groups!

We’ve got two more major “Paddle to Seattle” broadcast coming up through PBS Affiliates in Minneapolis and Seattle! If you’re in the Twin Cities or Western Washington/British Columbia you’ll soon be able to tune in. For those of you outside these areas Seattle PBS KCTS9 will be streaming, for free, the full film during December on

In the Twin Cities

tpt2 Sunday, November 14, 2010 at 10:30pm

tpt2 Monday, November 15, 2010 at 4:30am

tptLIFE Saturday, November 20, 2010 at 10:00pm

tptLIFE Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 4:00am

Seattle and Vancouver and surrounding area

kcts9 Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 10:00p

There will also be several additional broadcasts, check your local listings.
We’ll also be hosting a 2-hr pledge drive from Seattle in the spring, stay tuned!

All the best and thank you for following!

Nationwide Television Premiere

Dear Friends,

It’s been over a year since we premiered our film at the Port Townsend Film Festival. Now, it’s with great honor that we’re announcing the nationwide television broadcast of our two films! “Pedal to the Midnight Sun” and “Paddle to Seattle” will both air throughout the week on NBC Universal Sports as part of their ADVENTURE WEEK! We’d be honored if you tuned it, told a friend, or perhaps both(:

Here are the show air dates and times (please note: all times are in EST).

Paddle to Seattle 10/12/2010 8:00 PM
Paddle to Seattle 10/13/2010 12:00 PM
Paddle to Seattle 10/15/2010 12:00 AM
Paddle to Seattle 10/15/2010 4:00 PM

Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/12/2010 12:00 AM
Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/12/2010 4:00 PM
Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/13/2010 10:00 PM
Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/14/2010 2:00 PM
Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/16/2010 9:30 PM
Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/17/2010 1:30 PM
Pedal to the Midnight Sun 10/20/2010 11:30 AM

Stay tuned to emails from Dudes on Media. Very soon the dudes will depart for India to packraft the length of the Ganges River.

Thank you!

J.J. Kelley and Josh Thomas
Dudes on Media
“It’s laugh-out-loud hilarious.”
– The Seattle Times

Bad Weather

“It feels like we never got our summer,” remarked Josh. It’s true, the deteriorating weather has hurt our progress in a big way. Thus far on the paddle we have had 12 days where conditions have arrested progress. As days dwindle shorter and fall prevails, the gravity of the situation increases. Josh continued, “it’s so bad we can’t even make progress.”

Our current weather, issued by Environment Canada, seems to mirror the trend:

Issued 04:00 PM PDT 26 August 2008


Tonight and Wednesday Storm warning in effect. Wind southeast 40 to 50 knots diminishing to south 20 to 30 this evening and to 10 to 20 after midnight. Wind increasing to southeast 20 to 25 Wednesday evening.


Today Tonight and Wednesday Seas 3 to 4 metres subsiding to 2 after midnight and to 1 early Wednesday morning.

Weather & Visibility

Tonight and Wednesday Rain ending this evening. A few showers beginning early Wednesday morning.

Extended Forecast

Thursday Wind southeast 25 to 35 knots veering to southwest 20 in the morning. Friday Wind west 15 to 25 knots.


We have entered a new country. It is a strange thing to cross an international boarder under your own power, but Canada we are happy to be with you!

Weather is the big buzz right now…it has been intense. We have been getting pounded by one low pressure system after another.

Something like a 988-millibar low in the Inside Passage easily produces 50-knot winds and 15-foot seas. Wretched conditions for our little boats; we see the less extreme ends of this pounding when we are able to paddle in more protected waters, but it is not uncommon to spend a 24-hour period hauled out on shore…waiting for the weather.

Notwithstanding, our spirits are extremely high. The footage continues to exceed our expectations. This 3-month expedition is proving to be an amazing adventure.

Our best,
J.J. and Josh

Port Rupert, BC