I was loving the time I spent in the water watching whale sharks feed on fish eggs when I saw a piece of plastic floating nearby and it hit me. What if it swallowed it!?? Every minute the equivalent of one garbage truck worth of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean. Whale sharks are filter feeders who spend most of their time with their mouths wide open, sucking up everything in their path. In an ocean where microplastics have been found in the deepest trenches to the Arctic ice, it is impossible for whale sharks to avoid consuming these tiny pieces that coat the ocean in a plastic smog. Join me and take the pledge to #HydrateLike wildlife depends on it and say goodbye to single-use plastic water bottles! Follow the link in my bio. #TurningTheTide with @lonelywhale, @sealegacy, @bluespherefoundation.
Wherever sea turtles are not hunted or getting killed by long lines, they are actually pretty chill! I swam alongside this handsome fellow during an awesome dive in the Galapagos. He let me photograph him from every angle and finally he looked me in the eye as if to say ”what do you want?” At which point, I let him be. The Endangered Species Act (#ESA) protects 1,600 plant and animal species - the green sea turtle, pictured here, is one of those. All species of sea turtle are listed as Endangered under the ESA, but they remain vulnerable to habitat destruction and poaching; turtle eggs are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. They are also killed for their shells and their meat. The Trump Administration has decided to change the ESA in a way that weakens protections for threatened species, makes it easier to remove endangered species from the list, and puts profit and industry first. Our Earth home deserves so much better from us. Join me and @SeaLegacy as we work to build a safer future, and a healthier ocean, for wildlife everywhere. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere
I cannot begin to tell you what a thrill it was to spend time in the water with a family of sperm whales. They played, they socialized and as they traveled, they maintained close physical and sound contact with each other. Truly a beautiful thing to watch and learn from. In a devastating blow to wildlife everywhere, the Trump Administration has decided to change the Endangered Species Act (#ESA), a piece of legislation that has protected animals for nearly half a century. These changes weaken protections for threatened species, like these whales, and makes it easier to remove endangered species from the list. The worse part is it "measures" the cost of protecting any new species against the profit of industries. I feel an incredible sense of urgency to share all of the images that I have taken of Endangered animals in my career, in the hope that people will understand how important the ESA is in protecting the biodiversity our earth and ocean need. Sperm whales, like other whales, have historically been hunted both for meat and for bone, but also for a white oil found in their heads - spermaceti. Humans have used spermaceti in cosmetics, in lubricants, in candle-making, in soaps, paint, crayons... These whales are currently protected under the ESA. I don't want to think about what might happen to them without it. Follow along this week for more. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere
Don't you agree that Manta rays move with such grace through the water, somersaulting as they feed, that there is something almost celestial about them? The Endangered Species Act (#ESA) is an essential piece of legislation that protects 1,600 plants and animals, and that has brought animals like the bald eagle back from the edge of extinction in the mainland United States. The Trump Administration recently announced changes to the ESA that will make it easier to remove endangered species from the list and also weakens protections for species listed as #threatened. The Giant Manta Ray is one of the fish affected by these changes. They are slow to reproduce, giving birth to just one pup every two to three years, which makes these rays extremely vulnerable to commercial fishing and international trade. Follow @SeaLegacy and join us as we start #TurningTheTide together. Click the link in my bio to sign our current petition to support #CITES4Sharks. #ExtinctionEndsHere
I met @CraigWelch while on assignment for @natgeo. He is the smartest journalistic writer I know! This is his new story. "For every one degree Celsius rise in Earth’s average temperature, permafrost may release the equivalent of four to six years’ worth of coal, oil, and natural gas emissions," in a new @NatGeo article, Craig reveals startling news from the Arctic: ancient permafrost, a layer of frozen ground hundreds of feet deep, is thawing fast, and the Arctic is being transformed. In some places the ground no longer freezes at all. You can pull mammoth bones from before the Ice Age out of the mud. And as the ground warms, gases like carbon dioxide and methane are released into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change at a rate that no one has anticipated or written about - until now. Please, read the full article at the link in my bio and share it with your friends and family. More people need to know about this. #ClimateChangeIsReal #TurningTheTide #Arctic
I am always curious as to how governments reconcile two types of industries that seem to be such at odds with each other. In Monterey Bay, hundreds, if not thousands of whales arrive every year to gorge on the schools of anchovies that congregate in the waters close to shore. Monterey Bay has been called the 'Serengeti of the sea,' because the enormous productivity of bait fish, like anchovies, make this a bountiful haven for marine wildlife to feed. Commercial fishing in California has historically been a lucrative multi-million dollar industry, but tourism today is a multi-BILLION dollar industry, and eco-tourism activities like whale watching and scuba diving are sustainable. Right now, the anchovy fishing fleet operates on a catch limit that violates the nation’s fisheries law by using catch levels that ignore the best available science and fail to prevent overfishing. Does that make any sense to you?? People ask me if it is ethical for them to participate in whale watching and the answer is YES. As long as operators observe the rules this is a FOREVER industry that will maintain both the whales and the economy. Join me and @SeaLegacy as we strive to bring awareness to ocean news around the world. #TurningTheTide #MontereyBay #California #Whale @oceana
A friend was just telling me she cannot understand which part of the animal she is looking at when she sees pictures like this. Humpback whales were almost completely wiped out by whaling and since they have received protection by mechanisms such as the Endangered Species Act, which tragically was severely weakened by the Trump administration this week, they have made a fabulous comeback. I think sometimes I take for granted things I know and fail to better explain them. What we are looking at here are four humpback whales feeding together. Their mouths are open and their throat pleats distended to accommodate the large volume of water they must displace in order to filter fish and krill through their baleen. It is an incredible spectacle to watch these large animals emerge from the water with such force. I can only imagine what goes on underwater, but it must be amazing. If you want to make a difference in the life of another endangered species, you can sign the #CITES4Sharks petition at the link in my bio to help get mako sharks listed on CITES Appendix II. #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere
Imagine: it's early morning on Monterey Bay. You head out in the dark at 4:30 AM so you can be on the water early enough to catch the first rays of morning light. You travel into the fog and can barely see what’s in front of you but you are hoping there will be anchovies and that you'll find humpbacks feeding on them. Every once in a while, if you work hard enough, and if you're willing to make the sacrifices necessary to capture nature's most fleeting moments, you may just find the right conditions to tell their story. Because of whaling, humpbacks disappeared from these waters for decades but in the past 20 years they have made an astonishing come back. As they returned they encountered a new threat: a crab fishery that utilizes traps tied to buoys with ropes. In 2016 alone 22 whales died entangled in that gear. This year, the crab fisheries were closed in April - three months early - to try and protect the whales when they come to feed. On expedition with @PaulNicklen @idoaerials and @Kyle.Roepke for @SeaLegacy. Follow @SeaLegacy for more #ocean conservation news. #TurningTheTide #Conservation #Whales #Expedition
If you are willing to endure the discomfort of traveling on an open vehicle in the Arctic, I have to tell you, going by dog sled is the way to go! The sled dog has played an invaluable role in the survival of the Inuit peoples who live in the Arctic since well before the dawn of the written word. These dogs changed the way that humans moved across the snow and the ice, and the way that they hunted. In Greenland, a declining sled dog population is another, perhaps surprising, example of the impact of climate change in the Arctic. As sea-ice melts, it becomes harder to hunt, harder to find food for dogs and humans alike. This year, the melt season in Greenland has seen the loss of 250 billion tons of ice, and more disappears every day in the wake of unprecedented heatwaves. You can make a difference to the future of our sea-ice and our ocean by #TurningTheTide with me and @SeaLegacy. #ForTheLoveofDogs #dogsofinstagram
When my friend @trevor_bacon1, seen here showing off his amazing free diving skills, asked me if @sealegacy could help save oceanic white tip sharks, I didn’t know much about why these sharks have gone from being the most abundant predator on our planet to a mere 10% of their population. Turns out that thousands of these sharks are caught accidentally on long lines intended for tuna. If you knew you could save them by not not eating tuna, would you? Such a simple action can have massive effect if we all make a choice to act! #turningthetide with @moorecharitable #gettingofftuna
The Arctic is so vast it could take a lifetime of travel to fully explore and understand it - but even a brief visit makes its importance to the entire planet so evident! That is why I am so happy the Canadian government has recently announced the creation of a new MPA, Tuvaijuittuq, developed in partnership with the Qikiqtani Inuit Assocation (@qikiqtani_inuit), established in a part of the Arctic where the ice is so old and so thick that the Inuktut word for this place means "the place where the ice never melts." It is located not far from the Tallurutiup Imanga National Marine Conservation Area. Together, these protected places represent hope for the wildlife in the Arctic that depend on the sea ice for their survival - in a north that is melting faster than ever before. #MPA #conservation #climatechange 🇨🇦 ❤️ @cathmckennaottcen
Nothing prepares you for the first time you see the frozen landscape that is Greenland. The Inuit people who call this place home love it when it gets cold and the ocean becomes a frozen highway they can use to travel on their dogsleds, their “kamotik”, to get to the edge of the sea ice where they can hunt. In the past few months Greenland has lost 250 billion tons of ice, and the melt season isn't even close to finished! Imagine this: an estimated 12.5 billion tons flowed into the Atlantic in just one day during a heat wave last week!! Temperatures all over the northern hemisphere are at record highs, and sea levels are rising on a global scale. I wish I had all the answers for how we will come back from the climate crisis - I don't, but what I do know is that there are things we CAN do to change the future of our Earth. We are not helpless. The most important is to vote; elect people and parties in your country committed to initiatives for a healthier world, and for healthier oceans. #TurningTheTide #Greenland
My great grandfather was a Purepecha indigenous man from Central Mexico. I don’t know anything about him; who he was or what he stood for, but there is a small spark inside me that wants to light the story of my Indigenous ancestors. I often wonder who gets to call themselves “Indigenous”? They are, of course, the first peoples of any given place. They are also the window into understanding human history. The depth of experience, language, ritual; the mystery of existence, spirituality, and tradition - all of these things combined sit at the heart of Indigenous knowledge. As citizens of Earth, we are all indigenous to this strange rock, cruising the universe: alone. Everything that we know, everything that has ever been known, echoes in the faces of the men and the little Quechua boy in these photographs; it echoes in all of us. What is your Indigenous ancestry? Happy Indigenous Peoples Day! #WeAreIndigenous #IndigenousPeoplesDay
In the past year, I have had the good fortune of spending time in the water with many different sharks. Having seen for myself how inquisitive they are; and knowing how crucial they are to our shared ocean, I want do everything I can to ensure sharks always have a safe place to call home. My friend @ShawnHeinrichs and I are on a mission to see that the mako shark is granted protection under @CITES Appendix II at their upcoming meeting later this month. The strength of #TheTide is in your hands, sign the petition at the link in my bio and use your power to help change the future for mako sharks by urging Ministers @jonathanwnv and @cathmckennaottcen to switch Canada’s vote from "NO" to “YES” on #CITES4Sharks. #TurningTheTide with @shawnheinrichs @bluespherefoundation @vulcaninc @thewcs @sharkconservationfund @thelifeofrileynz 📸 : @ShawnHeinrichs
I am so excited to be nominated for the first time ever to speak at @SXSW alongside some amazing innovators! But I need your help to be selected for the 2020 conference. If either of our two panels are chosen, we’ll be sharing stories from the front-lines of our fight to save the planet and about how artists and innovators can take leadership on climate change to create social action. Please vote for our two panels: “The World Is Not F’ED (Yet)” and “Powerful Influencers, Big Ocean Conservation Wins.” Tap through to the link in my stories and help our #ocean earn time on stage at #SXSW. Panel one with Frank Pope, @francothepapa of @SaveTheElephants, Roy Steiner, Director of the Food Program at @rockefellerfdn, and Paul Luu, Executive Secretariat at #4per1000. Panel two with my dear friend and a fearless leader for our ocean, @DuneIves of @LonelyWhale. #HydrateLike (PS - you’ll have to make your profile before you can vote!)
The clouds above the ocean here will never look exactly like this again; the flow of the water over these corals and the light against my camera lens both changed the second I captured this image. As a #SonyAlphaFemale, I am honored to know that I am a part of a unique team breaking down boundaries for female photographers in an extremely competitive industry. Right now, there is an opportunity to win a Sony RX0 II camera; an incredible little camera that is waterproof up to 33ft underwater without housing, and this print from my collection taken in Cuba. Enter by following both @SeaLegacy and @SonySquareNYC and by tagging a friend in the comments with the hashtags #oceandreams and #sweeps. If you are in New York City, stop by #SonySquareNYC to see the new Ocean Dreams exhibit! To see the official rules please visit the link in my bio.
There are many relationships in nature, and perhaps one of the most bizarre at first glance is the relationship between sharks and remora. You may be wondering, why don’t the sharks eat the little flat-headed fish that swim around them like flies? Surely, having a posse of fish following you around would make for an easy meal. Well, remoras have a special organ on the tops of their heads that allow them to suction themselves onto larger fish and other marine wildlife like sea turtles. They eat the leftovers of their hosts, clean them of parasites and help keep their skin healthy. This is an example of a symbiotic relationship, meaning that both species benefit. The remoras get a free meal, protection and a ride around the ocean; sharks get to stay clean and happy. Part of "The Sea Around Us" series which will be released this fall. Do you have a remote?
I often get all the credit for the images I create, but the effort is never individual; it takes a committed team to make things happen in the field and in the office. Today I want to thank @Candace.Crespi for her extraordinary abilities as a field assistant and producer during my recent trip to the Yucatan Peninsula. Never looking for recognition or gratitude, she is as dependable and kind as she is capable. With immense gratitude to my whole team, in the field and in the office. You guys make my work possible and for that, I am grateful.@chelsie_x_b @kyle.roepke @stringky @nat.groulx @burgankait @katiechlin @madam_kara @mjp.graphy
HUGE news! In March 2017 I joined a @NatGeo expedition team in Antarctica, led by my partner @PaulNicklen, to create a film that we hoped would inspire people to help us protect the #Antarctic Peninsula. "Polar Obsession 360" a VR film, takes you on an epic adventure across raging seas and into a world where you come face to face with one of Antarctica's most charismatic creatures: a 1,000 pound leopard seal. Just this past spring, Polar Obsession won the 2019 People’s Choice Award, Webby Award for VR & 360 Video, and one Honoree mention from @thewebbyawards. Today, I am beyond excited to tell you that Polar Obsession has been nominated for the News and Documentary Emmy Awards in the Outstanding New Approaches: Documentary category. Congratulations to the entire team for their #EmmyNomination! . @blackdotfilmsvr, @Ladzinski Ignacio Ferrando Margelí and Frederic Lilien Shane Moore @PattersonImages @RodolfoWerner @CraigWelch, @Ianvaso, @Andy_Mann, #DionPoncet #JuliettePoncet Max Solomon and Malvina Martin from Black Dot who shot/produced/edited, Matt Zymet, Gabbi Ewing, Kaite Mullin
Photo by my friend and colleague @ShawnHeinrichs // The fastest shark in the ocean needs your protection. @SeaLegacy and I are partnering with our friends @BlueSphereFoundationand @ShawnHeinrichs to bring you the story of the mako shark: the king of the pelagic realm. The mako's sleek and slender body mean they’re built for speed, capable of reaching speeds of up to 46 mph. In the water they can vanish like a ghost from your line of sight; there one moment, gone the next. These sharks are hunted for their fins and for their meat, which are highly valuable on international markets - and they're not alone. 100 million sharks are killed by humans every year. How do we continue to let this happen? These animals regulate the systems that ensure our oceans stay healthy and abundant. We cannot afford to lose them. Today, we have an unprecedented opportunity to stand up for 18 shark and ray species, including the mako shark, proposed as additions to @CITES Appendix II. CITES is a @UnitedNations body of some 183 member nations, whose mission it is to offer threatened species the management and protection they need to recover. If these nations vote to protect makos, it could mean the difference between this incredible shark's survival - or their extinction. The choice seems clear to me. Start #TurningTheTidewith me, @SeaLegacy, @PaulNicklen and @ShawnHeinrichs and support #CITES4Sharks by signing your name and asking Canadian Ministers @jonathanwnv and @cathmckennaottcen to stand up for sharks and switch Canada's vote to “YES” -- protecting the mako and fulfilling their commitment to Canada’s role in environmental leadership. The link is in my bio. 🦈🌊
Have you ever wanted to get up close and personal with the largest fish in the ocean? In places like Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where whale sharks come to feed every year on the spawn of other fish, like bonito, they form the largest aggregation of these big fish in the world. The best news is that shark fishermen have been making the transition to shark tourism, a growing industry that both helps to protect these magnificent animals and educate tourists on the importance of protecting them. Better regulations will also ensure that large aggregations of whale sharks continue to come to feed in Mexican waters for a very long time. Stay tuned for more #SharkWeek @Sealegacy.
In the inky darkness of dusk, a lone Caribbean reef shark swims through the water column in a place so remote there is no human influence in sight. Like all divers, I have spent my fair share of time hanging out at 10 feet during my safety stops. It is during these compulsory stops that I often find myself in a meditative state; when I often find artistry in the subtle details around me. In places like the Gardens of the Queen in Cuba, which have been protected from long-lining and industrial fishing, there are abundant sharks and a healthy ecosystem. For the past 23 years, life in the Gardens has thrived, blissfully unaware of the many problems surrounding the oceans of our world. Rachel Carson, who inspired my fine art series, “The Sea Around Us” said it best: "the more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction." To learn more about how to protect our world's oceans and for more shark week follow @Sealegacy.
It drives me crazy when I hear people say that the only good kind of shark is a dead one. This shark week I am going to share with you the reasons why sharks are more valuable to us alive than dead. At Tiger Beach in the Bahamas where I had the opportunity to dive with hundreds of sharks, like this beautiful Lemon shark, the shark diving industry is making $120 million dollars a year (up from $80m last year) and as more people realize that sharks are not the monsters the media has made them out to be, this number is only going up. For these animals, which are listed as near threatened by extinction by the IUCN Red List, tourism success is proving everyday that these apex predators are not only worth protecting, but good for business too. To learn more about what we are doing and what you can do to #TurnTheTide, follow us at @Sealegacy.
Did you know in Hawaiian culture, when a baby is born, the umbilical cord is buried in the sand along with a tree seedling? This practice serves as a reminder of the connection that new person has not only to his or her parents, but also to their ancestors and to the land. When a Hawaiian person dies, the entire community, their Ohana, paddles out and returns their ashes to the sea. This cultural connection to the land and sea runs deep in the veins of native Hawaiians. The concept of Aloha ʻĀina, “love of the land,” is central in Hawaiian lifestyle, and key to understanding their stewardship of the Earth. If you look at a mountain and all you see is a pile of rocks, you may have a hard time understanding why anyone would fight to protect a mountain. For the Kānaki Ōiwi people, Mauna Kea is not just a mountain; it represents their ancestral ties to creation, a sacred site revered through their history and very much worthy of respect and protection. If you want to stand with native Hawiians in their protest of the Thirty Metre Telescope,follow @protectmaunakea to learn how to take action. Photo shot on assignment for @natgeo with @PaulNicklen in Oahu, Hawai’i. #wearemaunakea #protectmaunakea #turningthetide @puuhuluhulu @kakoo_haleakala @kanaeokana @tiare4maui #molonai
KeaNuenue DeSoto (@the_surfing_rainbow ) cradles a piece of the Pacific Ocean in her hands. When I met her, her dad, @duanedesoto, had started a program, called Nã Kama Kai, to teach Hawaiian children about ocean conservation. Today, this vibrant, smiling girl is a surfer and a part of my Ohana in Hawai'i fighting to protect the sacredness of Mauna Kea, the tallest mountian on The Big Island. The skies above this dormant volcano are incredible; the air is clean and there’s almost no light pollution, and this makes it an exceptional location for looking up at the stars, or studying the night’s sky - so scientists want to mount a thirty metre telescope on its summit. As a scientist, I respect the pursuit of new knowledge. As a human being, I cannot remain idle while the rights and voices of the Kānaki Ōiwi people are being shut out. The exploration of our universe does not need to happen on sacred land. What we need is better care of the mauna, something the Kānaki Ōiwi people have petitioned for over the past five decades. Stand with the Kānaki Ōiwi and support the protection of Mauna Kea, tag a friend in the comments to help spread the word and follow @protectmaunakea to learn how to take action. Photos shot on assignment for @natgeo with @PaulNicklen in Makaha beach, Hawai’i. #wearemaunakea #protectmaunakea #turningthetide @puuhuluhulu @kakoo_haleakala @kanaeokana @tiare4maui
A whale of a thank you! Thanks to the action and passion of over 200k people, and a coalition of organizations working together, commercial whale hunting in Iceland will not take place for the first time this summer in nearly 17 years. Sometimes, signing a petition may feel insignificant, but this victory for our oceans could not have been achieved without your help. It is easy to forget that as individuals, we have the power to change the world. Let this serve as a reminder that when enough people are inspired and empowered to lend their voices to a cause, it cannot be ignored. Thank you to everyone who took the time to sign and spread the word. May we share many more victories in the future as we come together to protect our oceans. There is still a lot of work to be done to make this protection permanent in Iceland, and all over the world, but the things we’ve been able to achieve at @SeaLegacy through the power of #TheTide continue to humble and inspire me. Learn more about how you can start #TurningTheTide at the link in my bio!
Out of all the myths that hold back the environmental and conservation movement the worst might be the myth that 'climate change won't affect me.' If you aren't a polar bear or a coral polyp, and if you don't live near the coast or on a tiny island in the South Pacific, it may be hard to recognize climate change when you see it, and even harder to recognize when it is affecting you. For the last decade international media has been overwhelmed by an influx of news stories about record-breaking heat waves and land ravaged by forest fires; storms are more frequent, hurricanes more intense, floods more dangerous. Apathy and indifference are killers in cloaks. In French Polynesia, a group of young people saw what climate change was doing to the coral around their island. They started a non-profit to try and replenish the reef, and called themselves @CoralGardeners. This spring, I got to meet this incredible team on expedition with @SeaLegacy and @Candace.Crespi and plant some corals with them. It was an experience that inspired me, and that filled me with hope for our ocean. The @CoralGardeners are proof of what can be accomplished with initiative and nerve. Go to the link in my bio to find out how you can adopt a coral. #TurningTheTide #WeTheReef
Every once in a while I come across a photo album I forgot about and I am always surprised by how a photo of myself, staring back at me from three decades ago, can take me back in time. In this photo, a much younger version of myself poses next to an ultralight airplane on a beach in Bahia, Brazil. This was taken before digital cameras and smart phones allowed us to walk around documenting our lives every minute of every day. 1996, when this was taken, wasn't that long ago, but our world has changed so much. The internet, which didn’t exist back then the way it does now, has made it as easy to talk to people on the other side of the world as it is to talk to your neighbor. I love having the power to have global conversations with so many of you every day on things that matter to all of us. The world has changed but one thing has stayed the same: nature still needs our help. #ThrowbackThursday #TBT
Better known as “brown seaweed” sargassum is a marine plant that occurs naturally in the Atlantic Ocean. When the ocean is in balance, this beautiful seaweed actually creates an important habitat for some wildlife. Out of balance it can be a mighty mess. Scientists think that the enormous influx of fertilizers and sediments from the Mississippi and the Amazon, coupled with warmer ocean temperatures, and a large input of freshwater from glacier melting entering the system, has caused sargasso to grow out of control becoming a problem in coastal areas. In the Mexican Caribbean it is washing ashore in huge quantities forcing hotels and restaurants to work around the clock to clean up the rotting seaweed in an endless cycle as every tide brings new loads of seaweed to shore. In more remote beaches, like this one in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, where no one is removing the seaweed, it has accumulated several feet deep, chocking the beach and ruining the possibility for sea turtles to nest here. I used to think that plastic was the biggest threat to these coastal areas. I frankly don’t know how we deal with this rotting biomass. Climate change is real and has real consequences and we cannot keep denying it. Climate change myth #3 is is that climate scientists are divided on whether or not it's real. Let's go back to Science 101 for a moment and talk about what it even is. Science, defined, is the systematic study of the natural and physical world through observation and experiment. While it is true that research might be interpreted to mean different things by different scientists, 97% of climate scientists agree that global warming is happening, and that humans are the reason why. The evidence is overwhelming: you only have to open your eyes to see it. With @sealegacy @candace.crespi @shawnheinrichs @paulnicklen #seaweed #sargassum #climatechangeisreal
A sea lion, peppered with white sand, naps in the summer sun on a beach in the Galapagos. From a recent @SeaLegacy expedition. Climate change myth # 2 is a favorite among climate change deniers and revolves around the idea that climate change is just a part of the Earth's natural cycle. While it is true that the Earth has experienced periods of extreme and changing weather in the past, the warming occurring on earth right now defies current understanding of earth's natural climate cycles. For the past few decades the Earth has been absorbing less energy from the sun, not more - Earth should be getting colder, not warmer. Today there are 7.7 billion people on earth. Think about that number for a second. That's more people than there are different species of plants and animals. 7.7 billion people eating and driving cars and otherwise consuming, and all around us the world is burning up. @PaulNicklen and I have dedicated our life's work to saving our oceans, and sharing our experiences every chance we can because we believe that the best thing for our Earth is, simply, to take care of it.
A polar bear peeks into a crack on the sea ice, sniffing for seals, his favorite prey. What will the climate crisis mean for him? The world is warming faster than at any other point in human history, and we are the cause of it. The evidence is all around us - in the air we breathe, and the fish we eat, and the rain that comes too often or too little in different parts of the world. Still, many people deny that climate change is real. This week, I am going to address some of the misleading myths that continue to harm and hold back the environmental movement. Myth number 1: climate scientists are in it for the money. The truth is that there is a lot more money to be made in other fields. Climate scientists aren't working for multi-billion dollar oil companies. Research grant money is poured into -guess what?- research. We aren't trying to sell anything. We are just trying to understand the earth, and the ways that we can make it better. Follow @SeaLegacy to learn more about ocean conservation and how you can start #TurningTheTide with us.
Photos by @francisperez000 // [sensitive content warning: swipe right] A green sea turtle, so thoroughly entangled in a net that it seems to be a part of her. The earth is in the middle of a climate crisis; marine wildlife all over the world is threatened by the plastic that infests our oceans, pollution and boat traffic. A right whale on the eastern coast of North America was discovered dead this July, killed by an encounter with a ship that left a six-foot laceration in her lower back. In the Canary Islands, a little pilot whale named Hope became a symbol for the protection of marine life in the area after her tail was severed by a boat propeller; it clung to her body by nothing but shredded tissue. Right now, there is a petition to stop construction of a macro-port that would increase pollution and boat traffic off the coast of Tenerife, where Hope was injured and later euthanized. The petition closes tomorrow, but its not too late to #ActForHope! Stand with me and @SeaLegacy as we raises our voices with Collective member, Francis Perez. Please, sign and tag your friends in the comments below. The link is in my bio. #TurningTheTide
Happy birthday to one of the finest human beings I know. Here @paulnicklen celebrates the end of another hard-working day with a rare opportunity to have a dip in the pool and a margarita. Paul and I have dedicated our lives to the task of saving our oceans and the fact that we get to do it together, and with all of you as our team, is a real gift. Please help me wish him the happiest of birthdays! With @sealegacy @lonelywhale @bluespherefoundation. Photo by our dear friend @taro.smith in #hotelmedialuna
Photos by @PaulNicklen // I was lucky to receive my initial diving instruction while still in University and I have been a PADI certified scuba diver since 1987. It has been my great fortune to have travelled the world as a photographer, diver and conservationist, exploring the world’s oceans on assignments that challenged, changed me and propelled me to take on every new experience head on. In Antarctica I photographed an underwater graveyard, where the bones and bodies of blue whales are still disintegrating a hundred years after being slaughtered for their oil, the process slowed by the temperature of the water. I’ve looked sharks in the eye, come face to face with an orca, swam next to crocodile in Cuba’s Gardens of the Queen. I am proud to be a diver every day, but on #PadiWomensDiveDay I am honoured to celebrate passion for the ocean and the spirit of adventure with all of my fellow women divers, as well as all the little girls out there who dream of trying on a scuba suit one day. A great way to start is to take the pledge to #HydrateLike a Diver, and to skip #singleuse plastics. #padiwomen @padiTV @lonelywhale
A southern stingray travels, almost as if flying, over a sandy bottom in the Bahamas. There is something about a photo in black and white that resonates with me. I love a good color photograph too, of course, but there's a simplicity in achromatic images that calls attention to the form and the frame of the image; you focus on the light and the shadow and shapes, the pieces that are left when you take the color out. To me they feel quiet, if quiet can be a feeling. If you could describe this image in one word, what would it be? #blackandwhite #artistsoninstagram
Photo by @FrancisPerez000 // A family of pilot whales glide through the ocean waters off the coast of the Canary Islands. Humans have long hoarded the idea of family and emotion. We assumed that we were the only animals who possessed the capacity to feel grief or love, but we've since learned there are a multitude of other species capable of feeling deep and painful emotion. Whales are one of those - we know now that they communicate with one another, and that whales who live in pods tend to form deep family bonds. After Hope, a young pilot whale, was struck by the boat propeller that left her tail hanging on by just a few thin thread of muscle tissue, her family stayed with her, swimming slowly at her side as she floundered in the water, unable to use her tail. The southwest coast of Tenerife, where Hope was injured, is mostly protected under law as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC Teno-Rasca) - but it doesn't go far enough, and there are plans to construct a macro-port that would increase both pollution and boat traffic in the sensitive wildlife corridor where Hope lived with her family. There's still time to make sure your voice is heard before the petition to stop the port closes this weekend. #ActforHope by signing at the link in my bio. #TurningTheTide
Una ballena piloto de aleta corta llamada Hope fue asesinada por una hélice de barco que casi le arranca la cola del resto de su cuerpo en las Islas Canarias, en marzo de 2019. Compartí la imagen de @FrancisPerez0000 con su historia hace un par de semanas. Hoy, levanto mi voz con @SeaLegacy y Francis Pérez, miembro del colectivo de SeaLegacy, en apoyo de un movimiento para prevenir más tragedias en las aguas de Tenerife, donde fue golpeada esta ballena. La costa suroeste de Tenerife está protegida por ley como Área Especial de Conservación (SAC Teno-Rasca), excepto por un lugar: Fonsalía, donde hay planes para construir un nuevo puerto macro. Fonsalía es parte del mismo corredor de vida silvestre sensible donde vivía Hope con su familia, y que alberga una abundancia natural de otras especies marinas, desde delfines hasta tortugas verdes y aves marinas que anidan. Un puerto en estas aguas destruiría los hábitats y aumentaría la contaminación: química, acústica y luminosa. También aumentaría el tráfico de personas en el agua, lo que significa el potencial de más incidentes trágicos con la vida silvestre. ¿Quieres saber cómo puedes marcar la diferencia? Firma la petición en el enlace en mi biografía. #TurningTheTide . . . I am calling on all of you to make good on the promise to help me tip issues with the power of the people! This one is one we can win so read and sign please. A shortfin pilot whale named Hope was killed by a boat propeller that almost severed her tail from the rest of her body in the Canary Islands, March 2019. I shared the image from @FrancisPerez0000 with her story a couple of weeks ago. Today, I raise my voice with @SeaLegacy and Francis Pérez, SeaLegacy collective member, in support of a movement to prevent more tragedies in the waters off Tenerife where she was struck. Petition link in bio!
As a photographer and an artist I strive always to capture the beauty of the places I visit with my camera lens. As a conservationist I am concerned first and foremost with the health of our oceans. How many feelings in the world can compare to the rush of the tide and sea-foam past your ankles when you're standing on a beach? How do you even begin to describe what it feels like to freedive in Hawaii and watch waves roll overhead like storm clouds? Images succeed sometimes where words fail, but nothing compares to actually being there in the moment. For #PlasticFreeJuly I'm joining my friends at @LonelyWhale to encourage you to #HydrateLike a diver. Wherever you go, don't leave your reusable water bottle behind! Take the pledge to ditch single-use plastics at the link in my bio. #TurningTheTide 📸: @PaulNicklen
I am calling on all of you to make good on the promise to help me tip issues with the power of the people! This one is one we can win so read and sign please. A shortfin pilot whale named Hope was killed by a boat propeller that almost severed her tail from the rest of her body in the Canary Islands, March 2019. I shared the image from @FrancisPerez0000 with her story a couple of weeks ago. Today, I raise my voice with @SeaLegacy and Francis Pérez, SeaLegacy collective member, in support of a movement to prevent more tragedies in the waters off Tenerife where she was struck. Tenerife's southwest coast is protected under law as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC Teno-Rasca), except for one place: Fonsalía, where there are plans to construct a new macro-harbour. Fonsalía is a part of the same sensitive wildlife corridor where Hope lived with her family, and which hosts a natural abundance of other marine species from dolphins to green turtles to nesting seabirds. A harbour in these waters would destroy habitats and increase pollution: chemical, acoustic and light. It would also increase human traffic on the water, which means the potential for more dangerous ship-strikes with wildlife. Want to know how you can make a difference? Sign the petition at the link in my bio to #ActForHope! #TurningTheTide #Tenerife
Photos by @nickhawkinsphotography // "There are only about 400 North Atlantic right whales left, and they’re being killed faster than they can reproduce.... In just four weeks, 1.5 percent of the population has been lost. Most concerning is that four of the dead whales are reproductive females, of which there are now fewer than 100. To make things worse, three more right whales have been spotted entangled in the first weeks of July." - @tomcheney On North America’s eastern coast right whales are dying. @SeaLegacy Collective member @nickhawkinsphotography recently worked on the story for @NatGeo. His images are striking and tragic, and capture the sort of moments that wildlife and conservation photographers dread most; the day that you stand next to an animal killed before its time, outside the natural circle of life. Go to the link in my bio to learn more about Wolverine and Punctuation, the dead right whales pictured here, and the research team performing the necropsy to better understand why Wolverine died. Punctuation was killed by an encounter with a ship that left a six-foot laceration in her lower back. We're confident that with all of the technology available to us today, a safer future is around the corner for these vulnerable animals. But in the meantime, there are actions that we can take to make a difference; one of them is to slow down on the water.
It is really hard to resist the temptation to recite a few of the more interesting facts about this beautiful bird, like the fact that their nostrils are permanently closed to prevent water from rushing up into their brains when they dive-bomb a school of fish. They breathe out of the corners of their mouths. Instead, I’d much rather just let us marvel at the color of those feet! The aptly named blue-footed booby is one of the most beloved characters in the every day nature drama that is the Galapagos Islands. The bright blue is caused by pigments in their skin, and is tied directly to the quality of the bird's diet; bright blue is a sign of a healthy bird. #TurningTheTide #blue #seabirds #birdsofinstagram #funfacts
In all my years of diving, I have encountered many whale sharks in many places around the world. One of the things that struck me seeing them in the Galapagos, is how large these fish can get in a place where there are protections. Scroll to the last image to see a silky shark following the whale shark. I didn’t know that silkies rub themselves on the skin of the larger sharks to clean off parasites!! Noteworthy as well is the fact that I didn’t see a single whale shark sporting propeller marks. That is what protection does. I am super excited to be on my way to Isla Mujeres where the whale shark tourism industry has exploded in recent years. At some point, the whole experience felt like a nightmare, especially for the whale sharks, with hundreds of snorkelers, boats, and little regulation. Today, thanks to the advocacy efforts of many groups, including @SeaLegacy, as well as your support with petitions and letters, there are much stricter regulations, including mandatory propeller guards, no free diving and only two snorkelers at a time. #TurningtheTide with @paulnicklen @shawnheinrichs @mishajannard and @luksth
When I was diving in the Galapagos, surrounded by a healthy ecosystem full of sharks, sea turtles and fish I couldn’t help but feeling disheartened by the fact that, like most large marine animals, sharks too are migratory and when they leave the protection of the Galapagos Marine Park to travel to Cocos islands or Malpelo, there is a large fleet of tuna long-liners waiting for them along their migratory route. If we built a petition for the governments of Ecuador, Costa Rica and Colombia to create a wildlife corridor that forbids industrial fishing in this sensitive area, would you be willing to sign it? #protectsharks
Before humans could fly, we set sail. For thousands of years, before the advent of the motor, men crossed waters by the power of the oar and the wind. It is how the first Polynesians came to Hawaii, and how America became what it is today. The history of America is bound to the story of the immigrant and the settler and Indigenous peoples- and the awe of new discovery. The traditional sailing canoe in this photo is named 'Ho'kulea,' which means the Star of Hawaii. It belongs to the Polynesian Navigation Society, and was absolutely breathtaking to see out on the open water. I am honored to have one of my favorite photographs included in a National Geographic ( @NatGeo) series that showcases the beauty and diversity of America, where some of my fellow photographers have shared images of their favorite places. Check out the link in my bio to see them all! #makahabeach
One of the clues that tipped a young Charles Darwin to the theory of evolution was the different shapes and character of the giant tortoises on the different islands of the Galapagos. @PaulNicklen and I visited several islands and met some of these giants. Diego, the handsome tortoise from Española who saved his species when he was shipped back from the San Diego Zoo, where he had been living in captivity for many years to see if he would procreate. As it turns out, the handful of Española tortoises still living in the Galapagos were not having any success. Good ol’ Diego went to work and today, he has fathered thousands of baby tortoises, many of which have been reintroduced to their native island. On the Island of Santa Cruz, several thousand giant tortoises roam free on the highlands. There is nothing like running into a Giant tortoise crossing the road! With @sealegacy and @luksth
Few animals in the Galapagos delight visitors more than the playful sea lions. For many years thought to be a subspecies of the California sea lion, these lovable marine mammals have now been given recognition as a new, endemic species to the Galapagos. @PaulNicklen and I spent our day off from our filming/photography work snorkelling in Darwin’s Cove (Tijeretas) in San Cristobal island and even though the water was cold on this Sunday afternoon, there were several dozen locals enjoying the chilly waters in the company of wild animals. I caught the attention of this pair and was hugely entertained as they followed me, blowing bubbles, buzzing around me, and curiously looking at their reflection on my camera’s dome. Unforgettable! #myworkismyplay #friendship #love With @PaulNicklen
“A minnow of its own kind” is what my friend @andy_mann would call this baby whale shark. I am very used to encounters with the massive adult versions of this fish, but I was completely surprised when the animal whose shape materialized out of the visibility range off of Darwin’s Arch, turned out to be, not a large Galapagos shark, like I had thought, but instead a very tiny whale shark. When I swam up to it, I realized that even though this is still a very large fish, especially when compared to the other fish tailing it, it was no bigger than myself and that it couldn’t have been born more than a few days or weeks ago. This is so uncommon and unreal, I feel really lucky to have shared a few fin strokes with this newborn marvel as it explored its watery home. With @sealegacy @paulnicklen @shawnheinrichs @mishajannard @luksth #babysharkdududu #shark #whaleshark #baby #babyanimals #lookatthatface
Ofttentimes when we are working, especially in places with poor visibility, I get separated from @PaulNicklen. Over the years I have learned to not worry about diving alone or about finding him, as he is an extraordinarily competent waterman. That said, I am always delighted when through the murky water, his silhouette materializes again. On this day, I was especially thrilled to see that he was about 20 feet deep, holding his breath and following a school of eagle rays as they gracefully glided through the green waters off north Seymour Island. Scroll to the next image to see the photo I made when Paul couldn’t hold his breath any longer and passed the school on to me. I will be releasing this image as a part of my new fine art print collection “The Sea Around Us” this fall. Stay tuned! #oceanpeople #beauty #fineart
Not every photograph requires an adventure. Sometimes all you need is a little know how. The brightly-colored Sally lightfoot crabs are very abundant on some of the islands in the Galapagos and they can easily be seen off the pier in San Cristobal, where @PaulNicklen and I sat down for a weekend cocktail right next to where the waves were battering the rocks. Blissfully entertained with their beauty and their ability to hold on to the rocks, even as the water rushed around them, I couldn’t resist making a few frames. If you want to learn more about my “gin and tonic technique” sign up for my newsletter in the link on my bio. With @paulnicklen and @sealegacy #ginandtonic 🍹
Every diver’s nightmare is to get lost at sea. Whenever I am diving in a remote, dangerous site, like Darwin Island, a tiny speck of a rock in the middle of the ocean, where the deep ocean currents rush through, bringing nutrients that attract massive schools of fish, including many species of sharks. Sometimes, there is so much plankton, mixed in with air that the water looks like bubbly milk and you can barely see 6 feet in front of you. I swam into a large school of jacks and floated along with them for a couple of minutes. When I came out, I couldn’t find @PaulNicklen. For the next 35 minutes I floated on my own, peering into the luminescent water wondering what toothy creatures might be lurking nearby. The water was so bright and so milky I had to do a double take, when like an army of ghosts a large school of scalloped hammerheads swam right in front of me. All I could do was gape in wonder and snap a couple of shots. I love this photograph so much because it really conveys how the ocean felt that day and I will be releasing it as a fine art print in my new series “The Sea Around Us” this fall. With @sealegacy @mishajannard @shawnheinrichs @luksth and @paulnicklen