2014 was a splendid year!
A big thank you to the friends who participated and made it all possible.
Below are some 2014 highlights from BigAnimalsExpeditions to set the pace for the year to come.
SNOW LEOPARDS – INDIA
On March 2, Nelson and John and I were so very lucky to witness a mother and her cub, the elusive and endangered Snow Leopard, connecting and cuddling each other in one of the most intimate moments I’ve ever seen in the wild
BLUE WHALES – SRI LANKA
In February and March there were three trips off the cost of Sri Lanka to swim with the largest animal ever, the mighty blue whale. With water temperatures around 88F and visibility over 100 feet we were able to see them perfectly!
CROCODILES – BOTSWANA
In July I had the great privilege of leading a private expedition for one of Russia most decorated and talented photographers, Olga Michi. She was looking for a unique challenge, so we made our way to Botswana to swim with crocodiles. We shared a fantastic week along the Okavango river in a safari camp – like in the movie “Out of Africa”. Olga took a few breathtaking images and I am flattered that she has invited me to be a guest at her Gallery opening in Moscow on February 5, and a judge in the associated photo competition.
REEFS – INDONESIA
In June i rediscovered an old love – diving among the reefs of Raja Ampat, Indonesia.
It took my girl friend to convince me to take a vacation from the Blue water and BigAnimals…and to join her on a tropical diving vacation. It was the first time since 1988 that i was diving on reefs. I was blown away by how rich and diversify is the reef and the fish life out there. At the same time i realize again how fragile is the reef environment and I was delighted to see such an amazing place…I hope we learn how to keep it that way.
HUMPBACK WHALES – REUNION
In August I was scouted and explored a new location – away from the crowed – to encounter and swim with humpback whales off Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean. Temperatures were 86F and visibility 100 feet plus. The scout was very successful, and in the future BigAnimals will be offering an exclusive adventure for only four guests.
GREAT WHITE SHARKS – GUADALUPE
2014, as good as it was, was not without at least one set back. As this was El Nino year, the water temperature of the eastern pacific rose to a level which affected the weather and sighting of Great white shark off Guadalupe.
2014 was a challenging year to see the great whites, but the last expedition in November turned out to be glorious, as water temperatures became cooler and the sharks made their way to shallower depths.
ORCAS – NORWAY
Last but not least – in November we ventured farther north to Norway to see the return of the Orcas feeding on herring there . But not only orcas showed up, humpback whales were there too for the first time, and they were competing with Orcas for the herring.
You had to be there to see it – a pod of 12 mighty Orcas, immediately abandoned their efforts to corral herring toward the surface from the deep when the humpbacks whales showed up. The whales are three to four times larger than the orcas, and they respect that deeply.
On a personal note – I just returned from Israel, where I was celebrating my father 90th birthday on Christmas eve. I’d like to honor that event with this beautiful picture of the northern lights dancing in the winter sky.