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.
This was our 1st trip to Alaska and it was gorgeous! We booked with Big Fish Expeditions which planned out our complete itinerary once we arrived in Valdez. Our adventure started with a 2 1/2 hour boat ride from Valdez to Port Fidalgo Inlet in Prince William Sound.
Our home base was Raven Croft Lodge which is a fishing lodge only accessible by boat. The lodge’s isolation only adds to its allure and Boone, the owner, made sure we had an amazing time.
Our primary purpose of this trip was to have the chance to see Salmon Sharks but there were lots of other great photo ops such as:
Orcas – on our last evening we went across the bay to find salmon and came across a pod of Orcas. We were closer than it looks from the photos as we both had our cameras in the underwater housings with wide angle lenses.
Jelly Blooms – we came across numerous jelly blooms which was definitely a unique experience. Some of the blooms extended from the surface down to more than 100′!
Beautiful Scenery in the bay of Port Fidalgo –
Last, but certainly not least, we had a few brief encounters with some salmon sharks. Thanks to Boone & Emily, we found them! Salmon sharks are endangered and extremely rare to find. We count ourselves fortunate to be in a very small number of people worldwide who have had the chance to photograph them.
This is a trip we would be happy to repeat in the future.