New Sharks, New Ideas and a Fin Free Canada   Leave a comment

New Sharks, New Ideas and a Fin Free Canada

 

Big Fish Expeditions

 

BREAKING THE MOLD OF TRADITIONAL EXPEDITION COMPANIES

Most companies that run expeditions, find their niche. Its easier to run trips if you go to the same places each year. Thats not why I started Big Fish Expeditions. As I’ve said many times before: life is short, especially for divers! So rather than taking the easy route (even if its to amazing locations) I’m planning to look for new adventures with new animals every season. The only exception will be Tiger Beach. Its the perfect place to run shark photography workshops and after eight years I still feel that I have lots more to shoot there.

So, for anyone that has been thinking of joining me on one of the adventures listed on BigFishExpeditions.com , be warned! Most of those trips are now a one time opportunity.

In 2013 there will be a brand new selection. Some will be well known destinations like the South African Sharkoholic Tour that I have planned, and some will be so ‘off the beaten path’ that you may not even recognize the name of the destination.

I can’t spill the beans on too many trips yet but in 2013 you can expect expeditions in and around Southern Africa, South America, French Polynesia and the arctic. As the trips take shape, I’ll be blogging about each one between now and 2013 So bookmark this page!

 

NEWS FROM ELASMODIVER: THE DEEP SHARK SHOOT

If we’re friends on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/andymurch then you’ve probably already seen the new shark species on Elasmodiver.com. For the rest of you, a couple of months ago I had the chance to join researcher Edd Brooks from the Cape Eleuthera Institute on an abyssal shark tagging project. It was a great trip that I will talk more about at a later date but from a photography standpoint, I got to jump in with three deepwater shark species and swim them down to depths where they could more easily get back to the abyss. The resulting images are of free-swimming animals that have rarely (if ever) been photographed by a diver. It was a fascinating shoot. You can read the new species accounts and see some of the resulting images here: Gulper sharkCuban dogfish and Bigeye sixgill shark. Watch out for stories about the project in a couple of forthcoming magazines.

 

Gulper Shark

A deep sea Gulper Shark from the Cape Eluethera shoot.

 

2012 EXPEDITIONS

 

Malpelo

Many of next year’s trips are sold out or almost full. There are two spots left on the Malpelo Shark Safari in February. Malpelo will be extraordinary – big sharks and lots of species including schooling hammers, Galapagos sharks, whitetips, silkies and possibly other requiem shark species and pelagics like whale sharks and giant mantas. Plus we’re going at the right time of year to see smalltooth sandtigers which you won’t see anywhere else. Here’s a great pic of a smalltooth shot at Malpelo last year:

 

Smalltooth Sandtiger Shark

 

Socorro

The March Socorro Humpback and Manta Expedition has just one spot open. All the info about the humpback whale encounters and the amazing manta and shark diving around Socorro is listed on BigFishExpeditions.com but to make the trip that little bit more special, I’ve arranged a couple of days diving and accommodation at Cabo Pulmo before we board the boat to Socorro. Cabo Pulmo is a sleepy little village in southern Baja that has the best mobula ray encounters in the world. At that time of year, mobulas school in their hundreds (sometimes thousands) and jump out of the water in acrobatic courting displays.

This isn’t actually part of the trip but most of the guests have decided to join me at Cabo Pulmo to chase these dynamic creatures: 

Mobula ray jumping 

 

Cat Island

The are two spots left on the Cat Island Oceanic Shark Expedition in April. This is unquestionably the best spot in the world for oceanic whitetip shark encounters. As well as scuba diving with oceanics in bottomless blue water, we’re going after reef sharks and other inshore species such as tigers and lemons. That will make this a really well rounded trip but the operator recently told me that he has a spot where he thinks we can find silky sharks too. If we get them all, this will go down as one of the most diverse locations for shark diving in the Bahamas. It sounds crazy, but this is my last trip to Cat Island!

Silky sharks

Silky Sharks are very curious open ocean sharks.

 

Isla Mujeres

In July we’re heading to Isla Mujeres in Mexico to play with whale sharks. Four spots left right now. I’ve been amid scores of whale sharks in Holbox which is just down the road from there but I wanted a location with clear blue water, nice hotels, and easy living. If you want to relax and have a world class big animal encounter, this is the place. Whale Shark Expedition

Big whale shark and diver

 

Sharkfest 2012

Sharkfest was featured in the November issue of Scuba Diving Magazine. That generated a lot of interest so the boat is getting full already. This year’s film list is looking good too with films from Africa, England, the Bahamas, Hawaii, Indonesia and more. If you haven’t been to Sharkfest yet you really need to come sandtiger shark diving in North Carolina with us and enjoy talking sharks and watching brand new shark films with the rest of the shark junkies.

http://bigfishexpeditions.com/sharkfest.html

 

Sea of Cortes

If you want to see HUMBOLDT SQUID AND FINBACKS, PILOT WHALES & SPERM WHALES all in the same week long expedition, this is your chance. The Sea of Cortez Expedition was amazing last year so I’m running it again. We got to see everything we hoped for plus schooling hammers, whale sharks, hundreds of sea lions and some beautiful Mexican reefs. I’ve been so busy since this year’s trip that I haven’t had the chance to load the humboldt squid pics onto Elasmodiver.com until now. But if you want to get a better idea of these magnificent 2m long creatures, follow this link: Humboldt Squid Pictures

Humboldt Squid

 

Isla Guadalupe

I’ve added a new trip to the 2012 rosta! Guadalupe Island is so famous among shark divers that it really needs no introduction from me. In September we are going to the best place in the world to see huge great white sharks. Crystal clear blue water, enormous sharks (by September the big females have arrived) and a spectacular backdrop with Guadalupe fur seals and Northern elephant seals. This is going to be a very special trip. The Up Close With Great White Sharks Expedition.

White shark trip

How close do you want to get?

 

Saving Sharks

Lastly, I wanted to chime in on the shark fin debate in Canada which is where I live. Our Prime Minister Steven Harper recently stated that he is not opposed to the import of shark fins as long as they are killed humanely. That’s a very naive opinion expressed by a politician that is either ignorant of the facts or cares more about votes than doing the right thing.
As brutal as shark finning is, the real issue is that we’re running out of sharks, not that they’re killed in a wasteful, barbaric manner.
Many shark species are on the brink of commercial extinction or have already crossed that line. This is not just a protectionist opinion. Drastic declines in shark numbers have been clearly documented by numerous well respected researchers and independent monitoring agencies around the world.

This is a call to arms to support FIN FREE CANADA. We can’t all be banner waving activists but we can all vote for change. Please sign this petition to ban the importation of shark fins into Canada:

http://unitedconservationists.org/what-we-do/fin-free-campaign/sign-the-petition.html

 Also, a personal message can got a long way. Mr Harper understandably does not want to ostracize our large oriental community in Canada. However, he needs to be reminded how many votes he’ll lose if he doesn’t change his stance on this critical subject.

If you’re Canadian, please let him know that he will lose your vote over this issue. If you’re not, please tell him that the world is watching and is not impressed. Remind him how endangered sharks are and that any fins coming into Canada are not coming from sustainable fisheries regardless of how ‘humanely’ they are fished.
Please email Mr Harper with your personal message: pm@pm.gc.ca

For the sharks as always,

Andy Murch

P.S. Expect another blog post very soon with a great new 2012 location. Get ready for the cold when Big Fish Expeditions partners with Whites Manufacturing!

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