During the last two days we had a once in a lifetime opportunity to swim with the Japanese Giant Salamanders in the mountain rivers of Japan in the Gifu area. These salamanders can reach 1.5 metres (5 feet) in length and weigh up to 25 kg (55pounds). They generally hide under rocks and in crevices but if you are patient you may have a chance to photograph them in the open for a brief period of time. Tricia had just that situation and is busy getting some excellent photos.
We would like to extend our thanks and sincere appreciation to Ito Yoshihiro, our salamander expert and guide. He spends numerous hours learning and studying them and was willing to share his expertise with us. Great job Ito-san! Also, thanks to Andy, of Big Fish Expeditions, for organizing this trip.
As you can see there is a wide variety of colours which is partly dependant on age. It is believed that they can live up to 80 years in the wild. It seems a bit surreal to have driven into the mountains of Japan, prepared our cameras, put on our wetsuits and spent time in the river interacting with these interesting creatures. It was a nice change from photographing sharks.