March 3, 2011
I am lucky to count Dr. Sylvia Earle among my friends. She is also a powerful friend of the ocean, working to call attention to the most important issues of conservation, education and change. Her TED talk from February 2009 is still strong and still affects people. She talked about how we’ve eaten more than 90 percent of the big fish in the ocean and how the ocean’s coral reefs are disappearing. And she has also said that the next decade will be the most critical and important in the next 100 years when it comes to ocean conservation. Last April, inspired by her words and action, a group of 100 scientists, activists and philanthropists set out on an adventure called the Mission Blue Voyage. Their goal is to find and get the word out on what they call “hope spots” – places that deserve to be protected, saved and restored.
This is what Dr. Earle calls “the blue heart of the planet.”
Hosted by the National Geographic society, Mission Blue has tracked whale sharks in the Galapagos and investigated conditions in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Mission Blue has been described on the TED blogs, and also in Time magazine. Dr. Earle’s wish is to create marine protected areas on the high seas. Just like governments have created parks on land, Dr. Earle wants there to be sanctuaries on and under the water. Think of them as national parks at sea. I know how she’s feels – I am a co-founder of Israel’s Marine National Park on the Red Sea.
I’ve heard about a movie Dr. Earle is part of and I’m looking forward to telling you more about it when I can. Earlier this year, when she received a lifetime achievement award, they played a clip. Have a look at it - I think you’ll find it inspiring.
If you want to experience the Galapagos first hand, I am leading an expedition there with a September 17th departure. This is a rare dive trip to the Galapagos, since it is for a full two weeks. Last year’s prices were $13,900 for the Master cabin and $13,500 for the Deluxe. Now we’re offering them at $11,900 and $11,500. This includes the domestic flight to Galapagos and other local taxes. Book now and take advantage of this deal because there are only eight spaces left. Departures on Sept 17 – Oct 3.
February 16, 2011
Written by Amos Nachoum
The Galapagos, one of the world’s great adventure travel destinations, just got more accessible. But before I tell you about the special deal I’ve made for you to go there, I want to tell you about the journey. Your trip includes BigAnimals encounters with massive 35-foot-long Whale sharks, schooling Hammerheads, Galapagos sharks, Manta Eagle and squadron of Mobula rays. You’ll not only explore Darwin Island and Wolf Island, but your itinerary includes a rare visit and dive to Isabela and Fernandina Islands to see feeding Marine Iguana (only found on the Galapagos Islands) and the elusive Batfish. Because of a special arrangement I’ve made for you, I am able to reduce the price of this unforgettable trip by $2,000 for each spot. Book now and take advantage of this deal because there are only a few spaces left. Departures on Sept 17 – Oct 3.
The region has become ecologically healthier also, according to scientists. There’s no better time to go! If you feel anything of the ocean conservation movement in your soul, you have to go there. Here are some details about the ecological health of the area.
The BBC, in an article titled Have the Galapagos Been Saved, recently wrote that the United National Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted to remove the Galapagos Island from the list of endangered World Heritage sites. It’s good news, but some are cautious, because of the importance of the Galapagos.
“I think many folks in the conservation community felt concerned that this action would give the impression that all the issues had been resolved,” said Johannah Barry, president of the Galapagos Conservancy, according to the article.
The Galapagos area should be treated with respect – always. There’s no chance anything will ever be “resolved” there because it’s unlike anywhere else in the world and will always be studied by scientists and visited by adventurers. But it’s also fair to say that tourism is a big part of contributing to the income levels in the Galapagos. It’s a fact that people make a living from adventure tourism. The bottom line is that we all want to be careful about the way we travel there, in the way we make our imprint on the land and sea, and they that we respect this habitat which is unlike anywhere else in the world. How do we do that?
I work with an adventure/excursion company called Ecoventura, which has been certified as ecologically sound by the UN. They are the first Galapagos cruise ship company to offset carbon emissions and to install alternative energy sources on their watercraft. Working with Ecoventura, you can travel with me on the M/V Galapagos Sky, a custom-built dive vessel, and our expedition is scheduled to take place during prime time for encounters with Whale sharks, schooling Hammerhead sharks and maybe some free diving.We have a special permit to spend eight to ten days at one of the world’s most exciting and unique locations – the islands of Darwin and Wolf, and we’ll get to explore the most western islands in the archipelago. That’s a total of two weeks of Whale shark diving and other events on Wolf, Darwin, Isabella and Fernandia Islands. You’ll never forget what you see and experience in the Galapagos. I keep returning and I find something fresh and inspiring every time.
This is a rare dive trip to the Galapagos, since it is for a full two weeks and i have adjusted my price by not less than the awesome amount of $2,000. Last year’s prices were $13,900 for the Master cabin and $13,500 for the Deluxe. Now we’re offering them at $11,900 and $11,500. This includes the domestic flight to Galapagos and other local taxes!
Join me in the Galapagos for my whale shark expedition. The departure is September 17th, the perfect time to see BigAnimals as they were really meant to be seen.
December 1, 2010
Written by Amos Nachoum
If you need any more proof that sharks are amazing animals, here’s news that I’ll be sharing with divers and photographers on my next BigAnimals shark dive expeditions. According to Jeremy Hsu, writing about science on the MSNBC site, the Shortfin Mako shark uses flexible scales on its body to make to make tight underwater turns during high-speed pursuits. The scales give Mako exceptional control and this allows them to move in for the kill at speeds of 60 mph.
“The Mako has evolved to be the cheetah of the ocean,” according Amy Lang, an aerospace engineer at the University of Alabama who specializes in experimental fluid dynamics, and who was quoted in the article. “It has evolved to chase down tuna.”
Ten, fifteen years ago I saw a lot of Makos and Blue sharks on dives off the coast of San Diego. Recently – not so often. But I have some good news – and it comes from the other coast. I’ve been looking into surveying a shark dive location off Cape Cod with plans to start an expedition there. Prime season for this would be September to October. I am thrilled to learn about this location, because it represents an opportunity on so many levels. It’s a chance to see BigAnimals in their habitat, but it also represents an opportunity to help protect sharks.
As we know all too well, for sportsfishermen sharks are game to be hunted and to the shipping industry, sharks simply get in the way of the shipping lanes which can cost them their lives.
It’s a plan of mine to go to areas where Blues and Makos are thriving and talk to the hoteliers and dive centers in those places. I would want to explain that leading expeditions to experience BigAnimals up close will help local businesses. Instead of fishing these species into extinction we can take divers out on expeditions and capture the shark’s spirit with a camera instead taking their lives. When it comes to local business, a live shark is worth a lot more money than a dead shark.
I’ll let you know what develops in Cape Code and other sites. For now, have a look at my upcoming shark dives. Next September, come with me to Mexico to experience the Great White Shark – for a special few adventurers I select, there will be an out-of-the-cage experience. In the Galapagos next fall during the perfect season, we’ll be diving with the Whale Shark.
October 4, 2010
By Amos Nachoum
Great White Shark Diving is a Great Teacher
When I travel to the Galapagos Islands, or lead a Great White Shark expedition to Baja California in Mexico, or journey to Antarctica to see Leopard seals and other animals, I find that these places have a lot to teach me. They teach me not only as a photographer, but also as a human being.
Every time I suit up and jump in I rediscover a deep connection with nature. Personal encounters with large animals are life changing. The people I take on my trips tell me that all the time. Whether we’re diving in the Galapagos or walking in the footsteps of Ernest Shackleton in Antarctica, there’s this amazing paradox that happens.
You get what one participant called “an unparalleled intimate experience” with an animal many times larger that you are.
I’m excited to talk about all this at Google headquarters in Mountain View. On October 5th, I’ll be leading an invitation-only audience at Google through images and stories of personal encounters with awe-inspiring blue whales, cage-free encounters with Great White sharks, close-up experiences with polar bears, Leopard seals, anacondas and more. I am passionate about image-making, but I think there’s even more going on when we document the activities of these big animals. I love the work and the adventure, and it’s fun, but I also think it’s important – a reaffirmation of our deep connection with nature. At my Google talk, I’m going to highlight the place wildlife has in our culture.
We co-exist on Earth with amazing creatures. We may think of ourselves often as “the boss,” but when you experience the presence of a Great White shark close up, you start thinking other things. It’s more likely that we’re not “the boss,” but something like stewards of the planet. And first things first, we have to understand the animals we share the planet with.
One of the clients I’ve dived with wrote me to say that Great White sharks are “the most misunderstood animal on the planet. Once you have an opportunity to dive with them, you begin to understand their true nature and predicable behavior. They are not the mindless eating machine that the media portrays them to be. The thrill and excitement cannot be compared.”
I keep leading these trips and creating these encounters for myself and for others because they create a kind of magic. I have never felt more human – and more vulnerable — than in the presence of a magnificent animal. It might sound a little mystical to you, but when you look into the eye of a whale from very close, and experience that creature’s focused and calm regard, you feel its intelligence in your bones. Maybe even its soul. The memories I take away from these experiences are epic. They also demand of me that I share them with others.
That’s the reason I keep taking it to the edge, pushing the envelope, living outside my comfort zone and even sometimes testing common sense. I feel driven to highlight the meaning wildlife has for us, deeply experience the places where the world’s biggest animals life, and understand how their future co-existence with humanity is going to work for all of us. Wish me luck at Google! I’m looking forward to it.
There are some upcoming trips that I’d like you to know about. We have an October 16, 2010 departure to Mexico’s Baja California for a close encounter, both in-cage and out of the cage, with the Great White shark. We’ve already sold out one of these trips this year, so book now to catch the recently-added October 16th departure. For details, visit the trop page for the Great White shark expedition.
In Mexico, December 4 – 12, 2010, there are just three spots left for an intimate look at the world’s greatest game fish, the striped marlin. We’ll venture out on a 36-foot dive boat to see the secret places where magnificent striped marlin gather to feed. Our home base will be warm and sunny Todos Santos, near enough to Cabo San Lucas if you feel the urge, but with its own quiet charm if you want to drink that in.
April 17 – May 1, 2011 we’ll be in the Canadian High Arctic, following in the legendary footsteps of Henry Hudson, Robert Peary, Matthew Henson, Richard Byrd, Roald Amundsen and Nanook for an unforgettable adventure in wildlife photography. Expect long sunrises and sunsets filled with warm, golden light – perfect for photography. We’ll see polar bears, seals and whales, with icebergs calving in the distance, and also get some experience of Inuit camp life. Just four spots left on this trip, so book now.
Coming up on February 9-26, 2012 I’m going to take just five people to Antarctica to experience an encounter with the Leopard seal. We’ll be aboard the 158-foot luxury ice-class yacht Hanse Explorer.