Archive for the ‘Sea of Cortez’ Tag

PREDATOR HEAVEN   1 comment

 A KILLER START TO 2014!

Our first Norwegian Orca Expedition was a resounding success! We spent the first half of the trip scuba diving in the fiords while a storm raged offshore but as soon as the wind dropped we headed out to sea and found multiple pods of killer whales feeding on huge balls of herring. It was an experience I will never forget! Follow this link to the 2014 Killer Whale Expedition Trip Report

 

HAMMERED IN BIMINI

Great hammerheads on a dive

As soon as we made landfall in Kristiansund at the end of the Killer Whale Expedition, I flew straight to the Bahamas to meet our first group of hammerhead shark divers. For two glorious weeks we dove with Great Hammerheads, Bull Sharks, Nurse Sharks and even snuck in a reef dive with Caribbean Reef Sharks and Blacknose Sharks. The hammer action was world class. With thousands of great hammerhead images to choose from and some amazing videos submitted our guests, this trip report will definitely make you drool! Plus, you have to see what showed up on the Big Fish Deep Cam at 800ft!2014 Great Hammerhead Expedition Trip Report

 

ALLIGATOR SNAPS

On the way home from the Bahamas we stopped in South Florida for a couple of days to decompress. What better way to do that, than to spend some time playing in the swamp with alligators 🙂 It was also a great warm up for our American Crocodile Expedition in Chinchorro Mexico later this summer

 

SAILFISH SURPRISE!

After only three days back in Canada I was back on a plane for our Sailfish Expedition in Cancun, Mexico. After a slow start, the sailfish finally showed themselves and we spent many hours finning manically after sardine bait balls being decimated by sailfish.

A large group of hunting sailfish

It was great to see so many healthy predators hunting in the wild but on our last day we also encountered a large aggregation of feeding mantas and mobulas and then a completely unexpected super pod of False Killer Whales appeared. It doesn’t get much better than that! Read the trip report here: 2014 Sailfish Expedition Trip Report.

Swimming with false killer whales

 

 

INTRODUCING THE MIDRIFF ISLANDS – A GREAT NEW EVENT ON THE BIG FISH SCHEDULE!

In September 2015, join us aboard the Rocio Del Mar for a week long expedition to the Midriff Islands in the northern Sea of Cortez. The Midriffs are a seldom visited group of islands with dramatic reefscapes, numerous whale species and schooling humboldt squid. Get ready for adventure!

Not only is this a world class destination, it is also affordable and extremely easy for North Americans to get to: Whale and Humboldt Squid Adventure

Humboldt Squid Diving

 

LAST MINUTE SUMMER OPENINGS:

 

SOCORRO

If you’re reeeeeally quick, we have one cancellation on our yearly Socorro Trip. The boat leaves Cabo San Lucas on March 19th… Socorro Manta Adventure

 

THE SARDINE RUN

We have a few spots left if you’d like to join us in South Africa this June. The yearly Sardine Run is one of the most spectacular events in the sea. If you haven’t done this epic adventure. Join us! Sardine Run and Wild Coast Shark Safari.

Blacktips hunting on the sardine run

 

SALMON SHARKS

Just a couple of spots open on our Salmon Shark Adventure in Prince William Sound, Alaska. As well as chasing salmon sharks, we’ll be diving Alaska’s pristine reefs and bear watching along the shores of Fidalgo Inlet. Join us for an adventure on a grand scale! Salmon Shark Adventure

Salmon Shark Diving

 

ISLA MUJERES GREAT WHALE SHARK ADVENTURE

Nowhere in the world can you see this many enormous whale sharks in one place. So if you have time in the summer, don’t miss this epic event: The Great Whale Shark Fiesta

 

BELUGAS IN CANADA

Just four spots open on our Beluga Whale Expedition. Plunge into Hudson Bay among thousands of friendly Beluga Whales: Beluga Whale Expedition

 

MAKO MADNESS

Join us in September aboard the Sea Watch and dive with mako and blue sharks in the crystal clear waters of Southern California. Then drift along a reef with angel sharks and other Pacific shark species:Mako Shark Adventure

 

SWIM WITH THRESHER SHARKS

Then in November join us on beautiful Malapascua Island in the Philippines to dive with Pelagic Thresher Sharks. Malapascua is a real tropical paradise and the diving (both big animal and macro) is extraordinary. Don’t miss this amazing trip: Thresher Shark Diving Malapascua.

thresher shark diving

 

NO MORE BULL SHARKS

To be candid, we had a Bull Shark Expedition scheduled for November but there were so many bulls on our Bimini Hammerhead Trip that we feel a dedicated bull shark trip would be redundant. So, if you want to see bull sharks up close and personal, join us in Bimini next February!

diving with a bull shark

 

I guess that’s enough temptation for now. If like me you live in the northern hemisphere, enjoy the spring and get ready for a long hot summer. If you live down south and its starting feel kinda cold in your neck of the woods, maybe you should fly up here and join one of our action-packed big animal adventures.

 

Never hang up your fins,

Andy

 

 

Andy Murch is a professional big animal photographer and the founder of Big Fish Expeditions.

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Big Fish, Big Whales and Big Squid!   Leave a comment

Big Fish, Big Whales and Big Squid

WHALES AND HUMBOLDTS TRIP REPORT

I’ve been home for 3 weeks from this year’s Sea of Cortez Expeditions and I’m still reliving the highlights in my mind. It was an incredible adventure with great people and great encounters.

Over a two week span, we spent time in the water with absolutely every big animal that we had hoped to see. From voracious humboldt squid to enormous sperm whales, the ocean just kept delivering us new and amazing animals.

To give you an idea of how diverse it was, we managed to cram humboldt squid diving, a pod of sperm whales, a twenty meter solitary bull sperm whale, a few finback whales, multiple pods of pilot whales, schooling scalloped hammerheads, schooling mobula rays, playful sea lions, scores of reef dives and three whale shark encounters into two weeks at sea.

The shooting opportunities ranged from challenging to great to epic but now I am faced with the daunting task of wading through thousands of images of fish, squid, whales and reefs. The best will be loaded onto Elasmodiver when I have the chance except for the ones that are saved for magazine articles. Every time I open a new folder of pics, I am transported back to that particular dive or encounter. Its a great way to relive the adventures between trips but no substitute for actually being there.

For me this was a very experimental trip and I was not sure if it would all work out. By the time we arrived back in La Paz, I had dates nailed down for next August’s squid run so if you’d like to join me next year please let me know: 2012 Sea of Cortez Expedition

NEW TRIPS

I’ve also added two more epic trips to next year’s Big Fish Expeditions line up:

Humpback whale diving and manta diving in Socorro.In March I am running a Humpback Whale and Manta Expedition to world famous Socorro Island. Socorro breaks the surface 200 miles south of the Baja Peninsula and is reached by liveaboard from Cabo San Lucas. It is probably most famous for the amazing manta encounters that take place there. The rays are some of the biggest that you are ever likely to dive with. They are known for interacting with people at the islands and allowing divers to swim within inches of them (perhaps enjoying the feeling of the divers exhaust bubbles rolling over their skin). Interestingly, the mantas at Socorro have been shown to be able to identify individual divers which they return to time after time for more attention.

The islands are also known for excellent reefs and sharks! Resident species include Galapagos sharks, silkies and whitetips but hammers and other species can also be seen.

But, like all Big Fish Expeditions, the Socorro Expedition is timed to deliver the maximum amount of big animals so we are visiting Socorro during the humpback whale migration. Late March is an excellent time to encounter female humpbacks with new calves. The calves are very curious and they have a reputation for closely approaching divers and snorkellers before being steered away by their more cautious mothers.

Each day between dives, we will head around the islands and jump in with any whales that we see. Between humpback whales (and possibly other whale species), mantas, sharks, dolphins and other pelagics, this should be an epic adventure. Socorro Humpback and Manta Expedition

I also have a new Whale Shark Trip to Isla Mujeres on the tip of Mexico’s beautiful Yucatan Peninsula. Over the last few years, this area has become renowned for enormous aggregations of whale sharks. The number of animals that gather in the area is unprecedented making encounters virtually guaranteed. Combined with warm, blue Caribbean water, and the chance of encounters with other pelagics like sailfish and schooling cownose rays, this is a great place to interact with whale sharks.

This is also the perfect trip for those that want to encounter the largest fish in the sea in style! We will be staying at a beautiful beachfront hotel within walking distance of the center. No crowds, no hassle, just wake up to the sounds of the sea and be whisked away to the whale sharking grounds directly from the hotel. Then jump in and swim with giants all day before returning back to the comfort of the hotel. Wow, I sound like a travel brochure but after some of the hard ‘off the beaten path’ adventures that I sometimes go on in search of strange shark species, this expedition sounds just fine! Isla Mujeres Whale Shark Expedition

SPEAKING OF OFF THE BEATEN PATH

Its been a while since I had the chance to chase new sharks but in a few days I am heading off to Cape Eleuthera which is one of the lesser known outer islands in the Bahamas Chain. For the next two weeks I will be documenting the work of the Cape Eleuthera Institute while they conduct a survey of abyssal sharks that live in their waters. Once they take measurements and DNA samples from the deep water species, I will have the chance to jump in and photograph the released sharks. This will be a golden opportunity to nail some shots of species that divers would normally never see. The work that is being done on the island is very unique and I am looking forward to telling you all about it after the trip. And hopefully, bringing you some very interesting pics.

THE BIG FISH EXPEDITIONS 2012 LINE UP

2012 is looking pretty amazing and the trips are filling up. Of the first three shark diving expeditions, Malpelo is sold out, Tiger Beach has just two spots left and our Cat Island Oceanic Whitetip adventure has 4 spots open so jump in while you can!

You can now see an Expedition Calendar with all the expedition dates we have planned here:

http://bigfishphotographyexpeditions.com/index.html#BigFishExpeditionCalender

Sharkfest Sandtiger Shark DivingLast but far from least, its a long time until Sharkfest but if you are interested in joining me for a great weekend of brand new shark films, shark diving with sanftigers and generally partying with a group of likeminded shark junkies, please consider joining us next August. Also, if you’re a budding film maker (or a seasoned professional) and you have a short shark film that you would like to air at the festival, please send me an email!

More on Sharkfest here: http://bigfishphotographyexpeditions.com/sharkfest.html

See you out there,

Andy Murch