Location: Valdez Peninsula, Patagonia, Argentina

Southern Right Whale Photography and Snorkeling

Photographing Southern Right Whales and dolphins while snorkeling

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

The Right Whale to Snorkel with

Once upon a time, right whales were hunted for their oil and blubber. They were so easy to approach that they were known as ‘the right whale to kill’. Thankfully, those awful days are over but the name has stuck. Right whales are still extremely easy to get close to in the water. It is not unusual for them to approach boats and snorkellers; trusting their lives into your care. Coming eye to eye with this beautiful species is an experience you will never forget.

Leave Your Dive Gear at Home but bring your Camera

The whales spend a lot of time at the surface so you do not need to scuba dive to enjoy encounters with them. This means you can pack light and have more room for cameras and lenses!

This trip is specifically designed for serious amateur photographers and professional photographers alike. You do not have to bring a ‘big rig’ but all participants should have an underwater camera with them.

Please note that you are not allowed to use strobes or video lights. There are a lot of suspended particles in the water so lighting equipment would be counterproductive anyway.


Photographing Southern Right Whales and dolphins while snorkeling


September 21-28 2 SPOTS AVAILABLE
September 28- October 5 FULL

$4,950 per person double occupancy (single supplement $350)

Andy Murch

Snorkelling with southern right whales
Southern Right Whales in Valdez Peninsula


Paradise Lodge in Puerto Pyramides

For photographers with snorkeling experience


  • 7 nights accommodation in a comfortable lodge in Puerto Pyramides
  • All room taxes
  • Continental breakfast
  • Pack lunch and refreshments while at sea
  • 5 full days of whale photography and snorkeling
  • 1 full day wildlife tour of the Valdez Peninsula and transfers from/to Trelew Airport


  • Snorkeling equipment
  • Flights
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
  • Gratuities

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Photo © Dominic Dallaire

Explore the Valdez Peninsula with us

Weather permitting, you can expect to enjoy five full days at sea and one on land. On our land day, you are invited to join us on a wildlife tour of Peninsula Valdez; an important wildlife refuge and a UNESCO world heritage protected area.

The peninsula is home to colonies of Magelenic penguins, herds of guanacos and noisy sea lion and elephant seal rookeries. Other animals you may spot as we are driving around the peninsula include, Argentine grey foxes, rheas (ostrich-like birds), and maras (somewhere between a guinea pig and a rabbit).


A Typical Day among Gentle Giants

In the early morning light we will head out for our first encounters with southern right whales. Perhaps these will be above water; a chance to watch the whales coming to life as the sun rises. You could photograph their spray suspended in the sunrays and watch their interactions as they socialize.

After an hour or two at sea, we will return to shore for a hearty breakfast at the hotel.

Once you are well fed and prepared for the day, we will return to sea to watch more interactions. You may witness courting behavior or mothers bonding with their calves.

Southern rights are extremely social animals both among their own kind and with humans. It is not unusual for them to approach boats, especially young calves that have an insatiable curiosity.

When we come across friendly animals, two photographers at a time will have a chance to slip into the water with the whales. Unlike other species, its unusual for the whales to retreat so you will likely have an opportunity to take many photographs if you approach them slowly with non-threatening actions.

We will return to shore for a lunch break and then head out once again in the afternoon for more time among Patagonia’s gentle giants, returning in the late afternoon as the sun is setting.

Then dinner, good company, downloading images, sleep and repeat …

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Big Fish Expeditions Founder Andy Murch has spent the last two decades chasing big animals all over the world. Few people have Andy’s knowledge and organizational skills necessary to put together a professional expedition. Have a look through some of the comments from our guests: testimonials.

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