Up until recently whales eluded me underwater.
I encountered the first of several species right around the time I started to wonder if it would ever happen. But it wasn’t easy. The ocean never is. That first in-water encounter was with a pod of killer whales in June in the southern Gulf of California. I was there because of a hurricane—Aletta to be exact.
Two days later a different system rolled in. That one they referred to as Bud.
In hindsight, Bud was another blessing.
Because of Bud I met a second species of whale. This time in the Revillagigedo Archipelago—30 hours by boat in the eastern Pacific Ocean. This large pod was of the false killer whale kind and the encounter equally grand.
But the humpback jaunt, was the trek of all treks. A journey to a far away kingdom known as Tonga. From New York the southwestern Pacific is far—mind-bogglingly far. But worth it? You bet. When the conditions are ripe, Tonga is a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
The whales spend July through October there. Mothers raise their calves, males chase after females, calves try to tempt you away from mum’s glaring nugget of an eye.
It’s blissful. Really.
And then just as quickly as it begins it ends. They move south into frigid temperatures to sustain themselves. To Antarctica.
Antarctica. A word that conjures images of wild, vast expanses of nothingness. A place where adjectives such as harsh and desolate cannot begin do the realities of the space justice. A feeling that evokes a sense of curiosity. The wonder of what this world would look like without our fingerprints smudged across it. Where an abundance of wildlife roams…and populates some of the landscape in the way that only humans do.
Perhaps it’s something that is engrained in the collective unconscious of us all. But I’ve always had an inclination towards places devoid of humans—places so raw and alive. And so, a journey to the continent had been on my mind for many years.
This past March, I co-organized a small group of adventurous souls to the land before time. Putting the connection that was felt into words is beyond me at the moment. I haven’t had enough time to reflect on the experience. But like every journey, I know that it has changed me once again.
I hope you enjoy the images and find outdoor spaces that nurture your soul. Remember, we don’t need to travel to the ends of the earth to do so…
“If Antarctica were music it would be Mozart. Art, and it would be Michelangelo. Literature and it would be Shakespeare. And yet it is something even greater; the only place on earth that is still as it should be. May we never tame it.” ―Andrew Denton
Our trip to the Sea of Cortez was a success! Our group encountered playful sea lions at Los Islotes, whale sharks filter-feeding plankton in La Paz Bay, and dozens of mobula rays feeding at night in Isla Espiritu Santo National Park. We camped under the stars in the national park, soaked up the sun’s rays and had a healthy dose of vitamin sea!
Here are some images of what we encountered during that gorgeous week in Baja:
In March, I packed my bags and made my way to Grand Bahama to dive with tiger sharks. Little did I know lemons, nurse, and even the elusive great hammerhead would make an appearance! It was an epic experience. Read my full trip report on DivePhotoGuide.com
Here is a recap of the trip in this awesome video by Jeffrey Honda: