August 19, 2011
Written by Amos Nachoum
I just posted a Blue Whale Album on Facebook – take a look. You’ll see that I’ve found an innovative way to get close to shy Blue whales by using a kayak. The kayak permits us to get face to face with the Blues, even some that are 60 feet long simply pass before my eyes (and lens.) Blue whales are the largest animal ever to live on our planet. I hope you enjoy the album.
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July 19, 2011
Written by Amos Nachoum
It’s been a very quiet year for the Sardine Run. Though some sardines have been seen, there’s been nothing of the magnitude and epic scale you’ve perhaps seen on National Geographic or BBC, and nothing like what I saw here in the early years of 2000.
My guests and I have ten more days here along the wild coast of South Africa. We have moved south to Port Edward with the hope that the last of the Run or the shoal is still to come through and we will intercept and engage the shoal together with the classic predators…the Gannets, common dolphins, sharks and the Brutus whales. We will see! For now, here are four images that summarize our wait, and show the high morale everyone has kept up for the past week.
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February 12, 2011
Written by Amos Nachoum
The arctic is a place of great mystery, and even more so these days, when it’s never been warmer up there. Yes, that’s right. While a lot of the US is seeing snow, ice and excessive cold, the place that we think of as being the coldest on the planet is going through a warm season. Scientists are reporting the arctic just had the least amount of sea ice on record in January. Air temperature is way above normal, too, even as “down south” people are shoveling their cars out of the snow.
A warmer Arctic
The experts are trying to understand if these two things are related. It’s well established that a warmer arctic is a fact – and it’s been going on like that steadily in recent years, but scientists don’t know yet if some of that arctic air moving south is a trend or a blip. Just another mystery of the arctic, I think.
Here’s another arctic mystery for you: Polar bears might be facing their own population crisis. Why? Polar bears rely on sea ice when they hunt. They use it to get to the seals – their main food. Researchers have discovered that as the arctic becomes warmer, sea levels have dropped and there are fewer newborn polar bear cubs. Pregnant polar bear mothers go into hiding in a winter den and fast during part of their eight-month term. If they haven’t eaten enough before they do, they might not be able to sustain themselves. Scientists believe that having less food makes it less likely for a mother polar bear to give birth to a surviving cub. So there’s a relationship between the polar bear mom’s ability to survive and warmer weather. Since things seem to be changing in the wilds of the arctic, it seems like there’s no time like the present to have a look around there yourself.
Experience the High Arctic of Canada
I’d like you to experience some of the mystery, in mid-April. Will you join me? I’m leading an expedition to the high arctic of Canada, where we’ll see polar bear families emerging after months in their snow dens. We’ll see polar bear cubs learning to walk and play and track them when they head out to the edge of an ice floe to hunt for seals.
The days up there are 18 hours long – perfect for wildlife photography. Put your camera to your eye and you’ll capture spectacular images of baby polar bears and their mothers, the Aurora Borealis, endless white landscapes, seals and whales. We’ll have an opportunity explore Inuit camp life, too. There are only two spaces left on this trip, so I’d ask that if you would like to join us, please book today.
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October 20, 2010
Written by Amos Nachoum
Great White Shark Diving Field Report: Guadalupe Island
Here’s a field report from Baja California, Mexico as I wrap up part one of this year’s shark diving adventure. I’m getting this out to you before the next group of guests arrive.
Under my leadership, nine people just had the trip of a lifetime. They gathered from across the USA, South Africa, Australia and Germany to encounter the Great White Shark as only as biganimals.com expedition can deliver it. For five of them, “once was not enough.” They had been with me already on as many as six other trips – and, amazingly, one was back for the second time for an adventure with the Great Whites. It’s always gratifying for me to reconnect with people with a passion for adventure. This trip was no exception.
Cage-Free Diving with Great Whites
Shark dives off Guadalupe Island are usually done inside a protective shark cage. But with through preparation and very close supervision, it is possible to have the “cageless sensation” for a select few. On this trip I carefully chose five divers to join me, one at a time, for a cage-free experience, described by some as the “Everest of Diving experiences.” Here’s one guest as he’s getting ready to leave the cage.
I go about this very carefully. I started everyone in the surface cage at first. As you can see from the picture below, when guests leave the cage, they are always escorted by a safety diver. Though we saw sharks during the whole five day-trip ranging in size from 12 feet up to 15, the pace of shark visits on the first and second days was slow. But then, on the third day, the pace of the sharks frequenting our cages picked up and on the last day and last dive out of the cage we had four Great Whites circling the cage while we were swimming with them…carefully yes, and very much aware. Everyone returned home safely this morning, and now I’m waiting for the second team of this year’s Great White shark expedition.
The weather was calm and sunny, the sea was flat, and the team — they were an extraordinary group of adults who clearly understood what is at stake, the risk, and the adventure. All of the guests did a great job, and know very well how to work as a team, and take part in my know-how to manage risks as I lead them to experience the Great White in this dramatic way. Together we were able to dispel the myth of the “mindless predator” the Great White is so often made out to be. But the myth can only be dispelled when it is done thoughtfully, with responsibility and respect for these magnificent animals.
The water temp was a chilly 66-degrees F at 40 feet and at 80 feet, even cooler at 64 F. The semi drysuit by Bare was very helpful! A good thing, because the lower we took the cage obviously the colder the water got – but also more and more sharks were around us. We even recognized a few from last year. (We named them Lucy and Schroeder.) The year before as well as saw and ID’d some newcomers. One of them we called Noreiga. Once you see a Great White up close, like in the picture below, you’ll never forget it.
Next year’s Great White trip is scheduled for October 9 – 16, 2011, and only five spaces remain open. I suggest that you reserve your spot to see the great white shark for yourself as soon as you can.
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