Archive for aggregation

JASA-Blue Sphere Media-Wetpixel Mexico Whale Shark Aggregation – 2011

Posted in news, photography, travel with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 25, 2011 by shawnheinrichs

Jim Abernethy and I just wrapped up this years series of whale shark aggregation trips off Isla Mujeres, Mexico. As with they prior two years (see videos), this year was a home run with incredible in-water and topside activity and on peak days, several hundred whale sharks gathered in the space of 1 square km. When we first discovered the aggregation, we could never have guessed how it would transform the the tiny island of Isla Mujeres into the worlds whale shark mecca. Nowhere else can you swim with such huge numbers of whale sharks, in blue water with such a great degree of certainty.

Ocean full of whale sharks

Our guests hailed from all over the world including Hong Kong, France, Europe, Australia and of course the US, among others. Many guests reported this was one of the best experiences of their lives. This year we are also hosted a special WildAid supporter trip that delivered in spades.

The whale shark activity was full on, the Island delightful, the hotel and pool a welcome haven after a long day on the water,and the guacamole, cervezas, and gelato unforgettable.

Douglas Seifert enjoys a gelato after a hard day of whale sharking

Please enjoy this small sample of images from thousands of images taken on our trips.

L-R: WildAid Crew - Shawn, Jeanne, Raymond, Walter, Sharon, Richard Branson, Samantha, Mark, Pete, Keith, Corrie

Dr Robert Hueter - Whale Shark Researcher

Peter Knights - Executive Director WildAid with Whale Shark

Whale Shark eats tourism boat

Briana Rivera with Whale Shark

Briana Rivera with Whale Shark

Richard Branson sharing a whale shark moment (video grab)

Ocean full of whale sharks

Greg, Debbie and David after looking the wrong way!

Corie Knights enjoying a whale shark moment

Mantas and whale sharks feeding frenzy

Whale shark with manta Birostris below

Manta Birostris with whale shark behind

Whale shark taking a BIG gulp

Corie Knights with feeding whale shark

Peter and Corie Knights enjoying a whale shark moment

Whale shark smile

Douglas Seifert drops down to capture silhouette shot

Two whale sharks split as they approach

Stationary whale shark feeds below surface

Huge whale shark rises below the Lilly M

Whale shark in vertical feeding posture

Whale shark refelections

Gordon Klein silhouetted with two whale sharks

Three whale sharks cross while feeding

Whale shark passed by drifting sargassum with colony of minows

Cownose rays glide below whale shark aggregation

Gordon Klein drifts down below whale shark

Danielle Heinrichs photographing whale sharks

Whale shark feeds in glassy calm seas

Whale shark poops

Sailfish dart through whale shark aggregation

Loggerhead turtle drifts below whale sharks

Whale shark filters eggs through its gills

Whale sharks cross while feeding

Danielle Heinrichs enjoying the whale shark action

Left-Right: Greg, Captain Rojelio, Gordon, Shawn, Phil, Debbie, David and 1st Mate Juan

Gathering of Giants – Whale Sharks

Posted in conservation, production, travel, video with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by shawnheinrichs

This May we began work on a 3 part series call “Gathering of Giants – Whale Sharks of the Meso-American Reef”. In three special locations along the Meso-American reef, whale sharks gather in numbers during certain times of the year, creating some of the most impressive marine aggregations found anywhere on Earth. What draws them here?  Where do the come from and where do they go? And, what is being done to protect them?

The target audience for this film is conservationists, dive tourists, eco-tourists and adventure travelers. We travel to Gladden Spit Belize, Isla Mujeres/Holbox Mexico and Utila Honduras to document in full HD, the amazing aggregations of whale sharks. Through first hand documentation and interviews with researchers and park rangers, we reveal what draws these gentle giants to these special locations and unravel some of the mysteries of where the whale sharks come from and where they go to. And finally, we learn about the measures that have been put in place to ensure these aggregations continue into the future.

The goal of this film is to reach a broader audience who will be captivated by the impressive footage of the whale shark aggregations and will also learn how easily these aggregations could be destroyed. We will highlight how certain organization and individuals are working hard to ensure that never happens. Through engaging visual footage and inspiring conservation stories, viewers will be motivated to get involved and support future measures to protect these gathering places.

Our first stop on the journey takes us to Gladdens Spit, Belize, where 10’s of thousands of snappers spawning attract dozens of whale sharks. Working in partnership with SEA and The Nature Conservancy we are able to shoot some amazing footage and learn a lot about the behavior and migrations of the snappers and whale sharks. We created a short promo video as a thank you to Isla Marisol Resort for all their support!

Our second stop on the journey takes us to Isla Mujeres, Mexico, where over 400 whale sharks were discovered feeding on fish eggs. It was an event never before documented! On our last day in Isla Mujeres, our friends from The Nature Conservancy joined us to experience the sharks. In addition to an exhilerating day of whale shark interactions, we documented the scientists fish egg collection efforts and learned more about the science and conservation initiatives in this area. We created a short promo video as a thank you to Keen M International for all their support!