Unforgettable Shark Diving and Big Animal Encounters

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Its been way too long!

By October 13, 2019 No Comments
Big Fish Expeditions News

It’s been way too long!

Recently, a guest brought to my attention that Big Fish Expeditions’ last newsletter was at the beginning of 2018. What can I say, we get busy! Leading trips is much more fun than writing about them but I concede that we should try to keep our guests/friends better informed when time permits. So from this point onwards, we’re planning to drop you a line whenever we have a new trip report or if we have added a new trip to the line up, or maybe even the occasional ‘how to’ for photographers wishing to hone their skills.
With that in mind, if you’re not on social media, there’s a good chance you’ve missed the last 25 trip reports! but they’re all on the website so feel free to wade through them at your leisure. For now, here are the last couple:

GORILLA TREKKING AND PRIMATE SAFARI 2019 TRIP REPORT

Another fantastic gorilla trip with 14 species of primates including one very rare monkey and an amazing day with a family of 15 gorillas. Plus, huge herds of antelope, buffalo and elephants in Murchison Falls and the Kazinga Channel. And lets not forget the night drive we did with a pride of lions on a fresh kill. Incredible! Read on…

Gorilla trekking
SNORKELING WITH WHALE SHARKS 2019 TRIP REPORT

This year we were a bit concerned because the rules have tightened up since last year and we were told we would have to wear life jackets while in the water. Some of the time that was true but the whale shark action was so good that it really didn’t matter.
Everyday we had lots of whale sharks. I estimate that there were maybe 100 on our slowest day and multiples of that on our best. Basically, there were no ‘slow days’. A typical week at the best whale shark destination on the planet! Read on…

Snorkeling with whale sharks

New Big Fish Expeditions

Trips come and trips go. This is something we’ve learned over the last nine years of running expeditions. Although it seems like some trips will be offered forever, locations get old, animals change their patterns and new opportunities arise that are just too good to miss!

THE ULTIMATE SOUTH AFRICAN ENDEMIC SHARK EXPEDITION

Over the last couple of years, orcas have been terrorizing the great whites that frequent Seal Island in False Bay so the big guys have been thin on the ground. Although we still saw 7 seven species of sharks this year including sevengills, blues, makos and lots of catsharks, many guests specifically want to see white sharks so this trip is on hold until the orcas move on.
This doesn’t mean we’re not heading back to South Africa. Far from it! I have always wanted to photograph more of South Africa’s endemic sharks so we have designed a very special ‘one-off’ opportunity to shoot all of SA’s accessible species. After bagging all the catsharks and other endemic species in False Bay, we will head east, stopping at Plettenberg Bay, Port Elizabeth, East London and Aliwal Shoal to chum for other endemic sharks that few divers ever get access to. Over the course of 12 days, we expect to encounter an exceptional number of species including:

Broadnose Sevengill Sharks
Spotted Gully Sharks
Pyjama Catsharks
Leopard Catsharks
Yellowspotted Catsharks
Puffadder Shysharks
Dark Shysharks
Brown Shysharks
Natal Shysharks
Tiger Catsharks
Lined Catsharks
Ragged-toothed Sharks
Various Smoothhound Sharks
Various Squaloid Sharks (Spurdogs).

This trip is specifically designed for shark geeks like me. It will be fast-paced, long and exhausting but the rewards for shark photographers will be unparalleled. If you want to see more species of sharks than you have ever seen on a single trip (most of them lifers) join me in Cape Town in March 2021 for our Ultimate South African Endemic Shark Expedition

South African Shark Safari
BELUGA BOARDING AND SUMMER POLAR BEARS

Our beluga trip has also changed significantly. Last summer, the Canadian government banned all snorkeling encounters with cetaceans. While we understand the good reasons for this legislation in other parts of Canada where endangered whales need their space, the beluga population in Churchill is thriving and the encounters are on the whales terms i.e. they come to the boats because they clearly enjoy the interactions.
So we have responded with our new ‘Beluga Boarding’ trip. This involves laying on paddle boards that are towed behind a zodiac. Back before snorkeling with belugas was even thought of, this was the way that encounters took place and they were a lot of fun because the belugas would come right up the boards to get a good look at the primates (us) as we lowered our cameras into the water or simply dunked our heads in the water with mask and snorkel for a close look at these gorgeous white whales.
All other aspects of the trip remain the same as before, including daily drives around the tundra looking for polar bears, night time forays onto the tundra to photograph the northern lights (when the electromagnetic activity is high) and a full day aboard the world famous ‘Tundra Buggy’ that has access to remote parts of the tundra that we can’t get to in our trucks to get a better look at summer polar bears as they lounge on the shoreline of Hudson Bay waiting for the ice to form.
Churchill is a very special place and we expect our beluga boarding trip to be as epic as ever.
Join us in July 2020 for a wonderful experience in the Canadian Arctic.

Beluga boarding
Polar bear on rocks

Upcoming Big Fish Expeditions

Our remaining 2019 trips are getting pretty full but we have a few spots open if you’re looking for big animal fix:

CANADIAN ICE BEARS

Our November polar bear trip has one spot left. Come and photograph polar bears hunting on the sea ice and see lots of arctic foxes and other tundra wildlife in their beautiful white winter coats. More info

Polar Bears on ice in the tundra
BAHAMAS SHARK SAFARI

Although some islands in the Bahamas were tragically decimated by the recent hurricane, the sharks are alive and well! Two spots left on our November Bahamas Shark Safari which leaves from Riviera Beach in Florida.

Diving with tiger sharks at Tiger Beach.
SNORKELING WITH ORCAS

Rumour has it that snorkeling with orcas in Norway may be banned or severely restricted in future years so this might be your last opportunity to swim with these iconic animals. Two spots left on our January trip!

Killer Whales

That’s it for now but get ready for more updates from Big Fish Expeditions. As always, we have lots of new trips in the works and more trip reports to load as soon as we come up for air again.
Have a great fall season. We look forward to seeing you out there!