This year felt more back to normal and I had trips planned for each of the favorite venerated destinations. I also was excited to take guests to Dominica for the sperm whale for the first time. This year had another series of sold out safaris in South Africa where we stay at my tree house lodge then photograph in Kruger, Sabi Sands and end at a water level photography hide.
2023 will be the last time for some trips, at least for a year or two. I look forward to introducing guests to a new destination in those time periods typically used to visit Tiger Beach and Isla Mujeres. It is a changing world and industry, so I must adapt and be open to what nature is doing and follow what is most active while it lasts.
Tiger Beach Diving Bahamas, Jan / Feb
Tiger Beach seems to always be active and full of shark encounters. With multiple tiger sharks circling at the same time it is easy to overlook the beautiful reef sharks and the cheeky lemon sharks lurking behind you. This year we had several hammerheads visit at Tiger Beach. We also visit Bimini where hammerheads gather without the interspecies rivalry from the tigers.
Sperm Whale Snorkel in Dominica, March
The Isle of Dominica is a beautiful mountainous, rainforest covered gem in the Caribbean and would be a wonderful destination without its rich marine environments. Dominica has recently been award the chance to create a Marine Reserve to extend protection efforts for the resident Sperm Whales.
We stayed at a nice water side hotel and had a short travel out to where the whale rest and gather. Hydrophones helped us find them and added to the educational aspect to the trip. In the water we could get great photos easily since they stay near the surface and don’t often dive. We were also treated the rare sighting in water of the pilot whales. I am excited to make this a regular visit in the coming years. I have permits for 2024 and hope to get awarded permits for 2025 soon.
Sperm Whales Snorkel in Dominica, March
Cenote Diving in the Play Del Carmen area, Mexico, July
Diving cenotes has become a nice 2 -3 day add on when I am snorkeling with whale sharks and mantas. Over the years myself and my guests have explored most of the popular cenotes to find our favorites. My local friends have also help me to get permission to dive some of the less known cenotes. Each is different and has a special mood and mystery while inside.
Whale Shark and Giant Manta Snorkel, Isla Mujeres Mexico, July
The great encounters with the very impressively large and gentle whale sharks keeps me coming back to Cancun area for over 12 years. They can still give a thrill after all this time. I have also fallen in love with watching and photographing the giant mantas. I am proud to have contributed photos the Manta Trust identification database each year.
Magdalena Bay Sardine Run and Baja Diving, Mexico, November
Magdalena Bay and the waters around Baja Mexico are always a brimming with wildlife of all sizes. Each year my guests are surprised by how many fish, whales, predators, and birds we see. This year was over the top! We had many long encounters with large static bait balls at the surface. The surprise this year was underwater gold in the form of numerous Mahi Mahi (dorado, dolphin fish) also joining the hunt and attack of the sardines. We would have sea lions, striped marlin, and the yellow dorado all working the same group of sardines. Chaos in a good way. They image were action packed and more colorful than usual.
Of course the diving at Cabo Pulmo Marine reserve was exceptional with pristine reefs and giant schools of fish to surround you. This year we encountered turtles there as well.
Safaris In South Africa, May / September
We hosted 4 small group safaris / workshops total this year in both May and September. The wildlife encounters are always great in these two seasons. It doesnt help that we were on 3 of the worlds best wildlife reserves: Kruger Park, Sabi Sands, and the Baluli Reserve. Both reserves have open borders with Kruger so the variety of species is the best in the world.
Since 2021 we have added a stay at a private house where we have exclusive access 24 hours day and night to the a fabulous water level hide. It is roomy and comfortable with full electric, chairs, benches for rest or sleep, and a proven track record for attracting elephant, lions, giraffe, and hyena to drink. It is a great change of pace after the game drives and offers a unique perspective to photos.
In 2024 I am officering 3 safari groups. Find out about my safaris and see the schedule on my website.
Spaces are filling fast.
I hope to meet many new photographers next year, and there are always reunions with those who have traveled with me many times.
May your 2024 be full of adventure