2020 did not progress as planned but still had highlights from photography tours full wonderful wildlife encounters shared with my guests. The pandemic effected trips to countries further afield, but my guests and myself found easy and safe travel to the Bahamas and Mexico. It was a touch of normal and a bright spot in a frightening and disturbing year.
I think this year’s wildlife encounters would be considered exceptional compared to any year. The lack of other travelers and the extra efforts displayed by all of our hosts and the guests themselves made every trip extra memorable.
Many of these trips will be featured on my 2021 Calendar of Trips I hope to have some new trips for late 2021 and 2022 as well as the return of my Africa Safaris and Polar Bear Expedition. All trips are found on my website and my safari website www.PhotographAfrica.com
Tiger Sharks & Hammerheads in Bahamas
Heres to a better 2021: My 2021 Tiger Shark Hammerhead Dive trips
This year I had two back to back trips to Tiger Beach during the peak of the season: late February and early March.
An international collection of divers was onboard from Slovenia, Israel, Japan, USA, and Canada. We were lucky to have only small interruptions due to weather: on the first trip we decided to go to Bimini first as conditions there were better than at Tiger Beach. Usual practice is to do the opposite: Tiger Beach first then down to Bimini for more hammerheads.
Our 2nd trip had a special guest: Dr Erich Kurt Ritter (edit: who has since passed away, a great loss) , a renowned experimental shark behaviorist focusing on shark – human interaction. He is considered a pioneer in the field of shark interaction with humans and has developed the first interaction concept for swimmers and divers that allows safe interaction with any shark species. Dr Ritter is a regular visitor to the Dolphin Dream shark dive trips so the crew, captain, and guests all benefit from his knowledge.
Looking back now, this was the last bit of “normal” for 2020: Everyone made it back but many would be in lockdown for months.
Baja Dive Safari with Magdalena Bay Striped Marlins, La Paz , and Cabo Pulmo National Park Baja Mexico
Baja is a hot spot for all underwater wildlife the past few years. A special bonus this year was an encounter of humpbacked whales in Magdalena Bay. We had great encounters with striped marlins and sea lions hunting the sardine bait balls and had time in the water to photograph the action. The weather was a factor for a few days, but we modified our plans to include photographing the pelicans above and below water (something we do with sharks while at Tiger Beach).
The sea lion colony is a fun memory with many sea lions interacting with us and performing funny swimming maneuvers and acrobatics. Each guests seemed to have several just to themselves. Also in La Paz we had a night dive with the mobula rays. Their smooth flight through the water in the iris of our torches is mysterious and enchanting.
In Cabo Pulmo we concluded the trip with diving among the mega schools of jacks. This is a wonderful and pristine underwater environment.
It is thanks to the Mexican government and the efforts of the Baja region that they were able to offer safe stay to us for this trip.
Whale Sharks and Giant Mantas in Isla Mujeres, Mexico
July in Isla Mujeres had great weather, good visibility, and top notch encounters with whale sharks and giant mantas. I have been hosting this trip for over 10 years and this year rated among my top visits. The lack of tourists was both refreshing and very sad for the tourism hosts who provided a very safe environment for all the guests.
Have we become better at spotting manta rays or have their numbers increased? This year we had great encounters with mantas and I hope my photo will help The Manta Trust to track any who are regular visitors or residents to the area.
Join me for an adventure in 2021!