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Whale Shark Encounters in Mexico
Tiger Beach tiger shark diving
Great hammerhead shark diving
Great white shark diving
giant manta dive at Isla Socorro
oceanic whitetip shark diving
killer whale orca encounter
Dive with Great Whites, Sevengill Sharks, Makos, Blue Sharks, 5 species of Catsharks and Spotted Gully Sharks in False Bay, South Africa.
Whale shark and manta encounter
Salmon shark diving in Alaska
sardine run diving
Beluga Whale Diving
humpback whale diving
sailfish diving
 
adventure expedition diving schedule
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SWIMMING WITH BELUGA WHALES 2015

 

beluga whales swimming

 

I thought that last year we had great beluga encounters until we went back this year!

 

When we first arrived in Churchill the forecast wasn't that great. Strong winds and rain further south in Manitoba had reduced visibility in the river mouth to just a few inches. That is the area with the thickest belugas so I expected a challenging week ahead but fortunately with 3500 belugas in this part of Hudson Bay, it was always possible to find pockets of clear water that contained belugas.

 

snorkeling with beluga whales in Canada

 

To give the viz a chance to improve, we spent the first day (instead of the last) aboard the Tundra Buggy. It was a lovely day with mixed sun and cloud, lots of great avian sightings for the birders in the group and two laid back polar bears. One of the bears was very chilled out and let us trundle right up to where he was lounging.

 

A polar bear relaxing on the tundra

 

The next day the viz had improved a little and we went to sea. It was great to be back among the friendly belugas, some of which would swim right up to the boat and blow bubbles as if to say get in and play.

For the next four days we did just that. The visibility improved everyday. By the end of the trip we were enjoying encounters with large pods of whales that would congregate 2-3m below the surface and wait for us to swim down to them.

They were extremely playful. Some were shy but others would swim right up to my camera and look into the lens.

 

Swim with beluga whales

 

When we were in shallow enough water I tried my best to get right to the bottom on my duck dives. I am am not a great free-diver (especially when wearing a drysuit) but it was worth the effort to watch them hunting for capelin over the seafloor.

 

beluga whale hunting in hudson bay

 

At one point I picked up a pebble and started tapping it against my camera housing. This elicited a loud chorus of squeals and chirps from the surrounding belugas; one more way in which we were able to communicate.

 

pod of beluga whales swimming

 

While we were at sea each day we would also take a daily run by Eskimo Point; an isolated peninsula on the far side of the river mouth that is a favorite summer haunt of polar bears. We saw bears there everyday including this momma and cub that we watched relaxing together and sometimes wandering along the point.

 

Polar bear mother and cub in Churchill, Canada

 

Between beluga tours, we jumped in our trucks and drove far and wide exploring the shoreline for bears and generally soaking in the tundra landscape.

 

Tundra landscape

 

On some nights the clouds parted to reveal the Aurora in all its splendor. I confess that I slept through the whole event but some of our guests wandered down to the shore to enjoy the light show.

 

Aurora borealis in Churchill, Canada

 

All told it was a fabulous week. Hudson Bay is a beautiful place with a desolate charm that is hard to convey in just a few paragraphs and pictures. If you would like to see this gem for yourself, please join us next year on our third annual Beluga Whale Expedition

 

Belugas swimming in Churchill, Canada

 

 

 

A PORTION OF THE PROCEEDS FROM BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS FUNDS

THE PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT

predatorsinperil.org

 

 

 

Snorkel with Japanese Giant Salamanders

American crocodile diving

 

 

READ THE LATEST:

Sardine Run Trip Report

 

Andy Murch Trip Leader

Andy Murch

EXPEDITION LEADER

Andy Murch is a fanatical big animal diver.

He has photographed and dived with more sharks than most people on this planet and he's very good at it.

Andy's images and shark stories have appeared in hundreds of books and magazines around the world from titles as varied as Canadian Geographic, Scuba Diving, FHM, Digital Photography,  and the Journal of Zoology.

Andy is the Creator of the ever expanding Shark and Ray Field Guide on Elasmodiver.com 

 

When not running big animal expeditions or on photographic assignments, Andy lives and dives on Vancouver Island, Canada

 

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Predators in Peril

Andy is also the driving force behind the PREDATORS IN PERIL PROJECT which shines a spotlight on many endangered species of sharks and rays that are largely overlooked by mainstream conservation groups. Predators In Peril is entirely funded by Big Fish Expeditions.

 

Find out more here:

PredatorsInPeril.org

 

Predators in Peril Project