Tag Archives: underwater photography trips

2019 Year in Review

2019 was a busy year packed full of wonderful wildlife encounters shared with my guests on many wildlife photography tours.

Each of my locations is special and rich in wildlife, so to rank the trips and encounters is difficult. Given that they were all exceptional trips year after year, I present them in order of what was special it me this year.

Many of these trips will be featured on my 2020 Calendar of Trips but some will have to wait until future years before I can share them again: there is just not enough time to do it all! Please enjoy this review.

Striped Marlin at Magdalena Bay

Magdalena Bay in Baja Mexico has a sardine run each November which attracts Striped Marlin, seal ions, sharks, and even whales to the area. We jumped in this frenzy of action and photographed the action. This was a special experience because of the shear numbers of marlin, easy to find bait balls, the comical sea lions, and the whole spectacle. We also combined this with diving at some of the other wonderful natural spaces in Baja for an underwater safari.

Nov 2020 Baja Safari

Sardine Run at Magdalena Bay Baja
Seals and striped marlin manage and prey on a bait ball of sardines

Polar Bears in Churchill, Canada

The polar bears in Churchill are always abundant and a pleasure to photograph, but this year there seemed to be even more than usual. This year there was snow cover and several pairs of mothers and cubs to delight us. We also had a little bit of Northern Lights .

2020 Polar Bears

Polar Bear photo Tour Churchill
A male polar bear scratches and stretches to the amusement of the photographers

African Autumn in South Africa

There is so much wildlife seen on our safaris: we have had increasing frequency of wild dog encounters, rhinos, very good elephant herds, lion prides with cubs, and so many more exceptional sightings. Each year I think it is the best and then the next year tops it! I picked this leopard to represent a year of many beautiful predators displaying behavior in front of our lenses. This was a quiet moment where we could imagine ourselves as the leopard and live out part of his day.

2020 & 2021 South African Safaris

South African photo safari
A male leopard takes a high vantage point for a morning break

Tiger Sharks & Hammerheads in Bahamas

I visited Tiger Beach twice in 2019: March and October. We are always happy to see the same individuals back each year plus a few new ones. New this year was as 2nd resident Great Hammerhead. I was a great day to be able to capture both species in photo – we see it underwater, but to get them all in one frame is not easy.

2020 Tiger Sharks & Hammerheads

Tiger Beach dive trip Bahamas
Multiple female tiger sharks and a great hammerhead circle our group then pass right over my head

Whale Sharks & Giant Mantas in Mexico

It is not fair to rank the Whale Shark Aggregation low on my favorites list because year after year it consistently gives us many many whale sharks, mantas in clear warm water. I am privileged to a part of this for 10 years now. My favorite is when a whale shark goes into “bottle feed” position. I have even had 360 videos as I swim around the shark who is in vertical position.

2020 Whale Sharks & Mantas

whale shark trips Isla Mujeres
When there is a concentrated food patch, a whale shark will feed in a vertical position to suck in the most food.

African Spring in South Africa

The seasons in South Africa give a different color scheme to the photos. In spring the colors are soft yellows and browns as the grass has not yet come alive. Every plant and animal is waiting for the first rains of season. This time of year can give us more predator action as they prey on animals weakened by lack of grass to eat. We had so many great encounters – I chose this hippo because his grunt always makes we laugh. 2020 & 2021 Safaris

African photo safari
A male hippo strikes an impressive territorial display for our photographers

Sailfish in Isla Mujeres, Mexico

For many years I have visited and photographed the sardine run on the eastern side of Mexico at Isla Mujeres. The clear warm water makes for some great video and photography action. Now that I have experienced the billfish on both the east (Isla / Cancun) and west (Magdalena Bay) I can compare the two. The sailfish are very graceful and their flashing colors and sails waving up and down is very dramatic. In 2020 I will only be visiting Baja for billfish

Sailfish sardine run Mexico
Sailfish work together to keep the bait ball tight and at the surface before one by one attacking the bait ball.

Grizzle Bears in BC, Canada

In summer 2019 I was able to go on a scouting trip to photograph grizzles from a boat. We had great encounters with mothers & cubs, a territorial male, a huge male bear, and serene moments with bears feeding on grass. This was a very special trip and staying on a boat in this remote area.

I am working on offering this special experience as a future trip.

Grizzle bear photo tour Canada
A mother bear and a cub are anxious about the presence of a male bear nearby.

Namibia Road Trip, Southern Africa

I completed an overland tour of Namibia after my September Safaris. This country is very different to where I hold my safaris: less wildlife but unique and awe inspiring views everywhere. It was a chance to work on my wide angle and landscape photography.

Namibia desert
Sand patterns on a dune

American Crocodiles of Chinchorro, Mexico

For the 3rd year I traveled to the remote Chinchorro Atoll and stayed in a rustic fishing hut in order to have close encounters with American Crocodiles. Thanks to the expert crew we were all able to do this safely. We spent our “down time” diving on the pristine reefs and eliminating the invasive lion fish.

crocodile photography mexico
A crocodile in shallow water approaches us at the remote Chinchorro Atoll Nature Preserve

Thank you to all the great people who made 2019 special for my guests and myself. I look forward to a great and exciting 2020

About Gregory Sweeney

About my South Africa Safaris

Annoucing Baja, Mexico Safari 2020

November 10 – 18 2020

A Striped Marlin Hunting Frenzy with Shark Diving, Sea Lions, and Mobula Rays by Night

Limited to 6 guests

(US )$3,875  per person single room

sardine run Magdalena Bay

2019 Trip Report

Magdalena Bay has be full of explosive Striped Marlin action in the past few years. We had a very successful trip this November 2019 with perfect weather and plenty of sardine action with seals and marlin hunting. Our best day we were able to stay with a baitball for over an hour. What a thrill to see the coordinated action of the fish as they hunted and we photographed from all angles. The sea lion colony of La Paz was very fun with the sea lions checking us out and buzzing all around us. The rays were a magical experience in the evening light as they swirled around us. Last was our visit to Cabo Pulmo National Marine Reserve where we photographed bull sharks on their many wrecks and the incredibly large schools of fish.

Baja is an exciting paradise for diving and snorkeling with huge satisfaction for photographers and videographers.

2020 Baja Trip Overview

The adventure starts in Port San Carlos where  Magdalena Bay is host to the largest striped marlin migration in the world. We will be on our own boat from 7am to 4pm looking for sea birds who will point us to  the epic hunting action going on underwater. The marlins hunt the sardines as do the sharks and seals.  Under the surface will be a frenzy of action as marlin hunt in cooperation containing and maneuvering the bait balls.  One by one they attack the sardines and take their meal. We stay at an upscale hotel outside of Port San Carlos.   

striped marlin Magdalena Bay Mexico

After, we transfer to La Paz where we do a dive unique to La Paz: a night dive with Mobula Rays.  Plankton are drawn like a magnet to our lights and schools of rays come swooping in to dive down to feed in the sand.   It is non-stop swirling action at night.  We also dive with sea lions; a dive full of fast interaction with these curious and humorous animals.

sea lion colony dive La Paz

Our last days are in Cabo Pulmo National Park where protected marine habitat and pristine coral draws an enormous amount of tropical fish, seals, turtles, and more.   Large schools of jacks are an awesome sight as the formation pulses and morphs before us.  We do dives specifically for bull sharks who lurk and patrol on the scattered remains of shipwrecks. 

bull sharks at Cabo Pulmo

Itinerary

  • Nov 10 – Guess arrive Cabo transfer to Cabo Pulmo
  • Nov 11 – 14- Stripped Marlin & Sardines (4 days)
  • Nov 15 – Transfer to La Paz, Sea Lion colony dive, night dive for Mobula rays
  • Nov 16 – Shark dive, 2nd Dive
    Nov 17 – Shark dive, 2nd Dive, explore beaches and park
  • Nov 18 – Transfer to Airport, Guests depart
Striped Marlin Sardine Run Mexico

Notes: Arrive on the 10th to San Jose Del Cabo Airport (SJD), Depart on the 18th from same airport. This trip combines Scuba Diving and Snorkeling in open water conditions

grouper

Price

(US)$ 3,875 per person Single Room

Includes:

9 nights accommodation in Single Room (discount for sharing),

All Transfers between Cabo airport, Cabo Pulmo, La Paz, Port San Carlos, back to airport,

2 days of 2 tank diving in Cabo Pulmo, 1 night dive with mobula ray in la Paz

4 full days on boat for stripped marlin

Cabo Pulmo wreck

This will be a real marine experience; be in the action with fast and elusive predators

email me at info@gregorysweeney.com to reserve your space!

schools of fish diving in Cabo Pulmo
striped marlin trip Baja Mexico
Sardine run with seals Magdalena Bay Mexico
sardine run Magdalena Bay Baja Mexico
Cabo Pulmo National Park Diving
diving with sea lions

2017 A Year of Wildlife Photography all over the World

This year my photo tours took me all over the world.

Each location yielded great photo opportunities for my guests and many had achieved the fulfillment of a travel dream.

To commemorate the end of 2017, I have chosen these images.

Next year will also be filled with travel, photo tours , wonderful wildlife encounters.

January/February

Swim with Sailfish Mexico
Sailfish, Isla Mujeres Mexico

March / April

TIger Shark
Tiger Shark, Bahamas

Great Hammerhead
Great Hammerhead, Bimini Bahamas

Dive with Tiger Sharks
Photographing Tiger Sharks, Bahamas

April

May

photograph safari with lions
Lion Cubs at play, Botswana

Photo Safari to South Africa
Elephants, Botswana

June

Giant Manta Ray
Giant Manta Ray, Isla Mujeres Mexico

Swim with Whale Sharks
Swimming with Whale Sharks, Mexico

Whale Shark
Whale Shark, Mexico

July

American Crocodile
American Crocodile, Chinchorro, Mexico

September

Photographing giraffes
Mother and Baby Giraffe, South Africa

photograph Leopards
Leopard, Sabi Sands in South Africa

Photograph Lions in South Africa
Lions hunting buffalo, South Africa

October

Great White Shark
Great White Shark, Guadalupe

Sea Otter
Sea Otters, Northern California

Mako Shark
Mako Shark, Southern California

Polar Bears in Churchill
Polar Bears, Churchill Canada

November

Dugong
Dugong, Philippines

December

Pygmy Seahorse
Pygmy Seahorse, Anilao Philippines

Underwater Adventures 2018 Newsletter

Underwater Trips Website

My Safaris  Detail