Lord Howe Island 2nd Annual Underwater Shootout Event 2018

 June 2nd – 11th 2018

Lord Howe Island’s Annual Underwater Shootout Event. 

WIN Amazing Prizes!

Dive Packages for 10 days including flights & Accommodation
Categories for Amateurs & Professionals
Attend Photo Workshops, Awards Ceremony and Gala Dinner

Includes:
Return flights from Sydney
10 nights accommodation at Leanda Lei Apartments
Return airport transfers
10 dive package around Lord Howe Island
2 night dives
All dive gear
Refreshments in between dives
Morning tea at the Museum to kick off the event
Gala Dinner at the Golf Club to conclude the event and announce the winners
Price: $3300 
Workshops:
Attend workshops with Scott Portelli to learn more about your photography or tweak what you already know. Workshops will include practical and in classroom techniques.
Prize categories
Wide
Macro
Black & white
Video (under 2 mins)
Endemic species
Split (Over/under shot)
Portraits
Behaviour
Portfolio
Creative/fine art

Shootout-Terms-and-Conditions

If you want to join us for this underwater shootout event and hone your skills at our workshops, please email scott@scottportelli.com for more information.

leafy sea dragon floating above seagrass with light rays in the background by underwater photographer Scott Portelli

Australian Giant Cuttlefish Aggregation

Giant Cuttlefish Aggregation in South Australia, award winning image by Scott Portelli

Join us in Whyalla and Port Lincoln, South Australia in 2018 for one of nature’s great events: The Australian Giant Cuttlefish Aggregation.

We are running two workshops back to back:

15th – 22nd June 2018 Fly into Port Lincoln and out of Whyalla

2 days with the Leafy Seadragons followed by 3 days with the Giant Australian Cuttlefish.

 

There will be 5 sessions over the week to help improve your photography and video skills while shooting these amazing creatures found only in Australia.

All workshop weeks include:

  • Accommodation
  • Boat Charter
  • Dive Equipment
  • 4WD Transport
  • Photographic Workshop (detailed schedule to follow)
  • Flights Ex-Adelaide

Cost for the week of diving and attending the photographic workshops is $2940

Learn about cuttlefish behaviour and how to get the best opportunity in the water with them and the Leafy Seadragons.

Want to find out more, email scott@scottportelli.com for more details

It is the one and only event of its kind, so don’t miss out!

A bottlenose dolphin with part of its fin missing, photographed by Scott Portelli in South Australia A leafy sea dragon photographed by Scott Portelli in South Australia

Vessel for snorkelling with orca in Norway Waterproof-Expeditions

Snorkeling with Orcas in Norway Jan 2018 (2 Spaces left on this tour)

Snorkeling with Orcas  

Video credit Paul Nicklen and Cristina Mittermeier courtesy of Waterproof Expeditions

A WILDLIFE PHENOMENON

  • SNORKELING WITH ORCAS
  • PHOTOGRAPHY WHALE WATCHING
  • HUMPBACK WHALES
  • NORTHERN LIGHTS
  • IN SUPPORT OF THE ORCA RESEARCH TRUST

Humpback whales and Orcas have been sighted in large numbers feeding on herring. Scott Portelli and Waterproof Expeditions offers great opportunities for Whale Watching, photography and snorkeling in the crystal clear Arctic waters, which is an experience in itself!

This trip is for anyone interested in Orcas, Humpback whales, white tailed Eagles, Arctic winter, Northern lights, Moose and spectacular landscape. The best time of the year for this phenomena is November through the end of February when the balance between light and access to herring and whales is at its best. The winter days in Norway provide excellent light for photography. We will spend the daylight hours looking for whales and other wildlife and, if the opportunity occurs, snorkel in the crystal clear waters.

With the newly rebuilt live aboard yacht MV ‘Malmö’, we are flexible to follow the herring and the Orcas deep in the fjords and deliver great chances of success.

MV Malmo, expedition vessel to go snorkeling with orcas in Norway on tour with Scott Portelli

During the darker hours you will enjoy the warm and cozy comfort of the expedition yacht while our expert guides entertain you with presentations and educational information on wildlife and cinematography. Excellent food is served with a fine selection of wines and beers.

Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival at Evenes or Tromso airport and transfer to the harbor to board the MV Malmö in the afternoon.

Day 2 – 6

We follow the schools of herring and pods of Orcas in the protected surroundings of the beautiful Norwegian fjords. Prepare for cold but rewarding days out at sea with spectacular sightings of an unique display of nature. Have your cameras charged and whenever possible be ready to slip into the cold water for a Polar Snorkel adventure or enjoy the phenomena from the spacious deck on board the comfortable expedition yacht, MV Malmö.

Day 7

Disembarkation and transfer to the airport.

Vessel

A comfortable expedition vessel, recently refurbished and a piece of maritime history, with large wooden deck space and ‘al fresco’ dining area. With 2 large zodiacs and experienced expedition team, the ship provides the ideal platform for small groups, families, friends and incentives looking for the ultimate Arctic wildlife experience in the utmost  comfort.

The vessel carries a maximum of 15 guests in 7 outside twin cabins.

4x Twin cabins with bunk beds and private shower and toilet in the cabin
2x Twin cabins with bunk beds and shared facilities and washbasin in the cabin
1x Triple cabin with bunk beds and private shower and toilet in the cabin

All cabins are serviced daily  and a laundry service is available.

International cuisine is served in the cozy lounge with bar and direct access to the ‘al- fresco’ dining area outside.
The bar is stocked with alcoholic beverages and sodas and of course we take care of your special wine request.
A separate Saloon with lots of books and tv screen is a great room for relaxing moments after an exciting day full of adventures.

Dates & Rates

Start and finish in Tromso:

14 – 20 November 2017 – limited availability
21 – 27 November 2017 – limited availability
7th – 13th January 2018 – limited availability

Twin Private Cabin      € 3.385 per person
Twin Shared Cabin      € 3.295 per person
Triple Private Cabin     € 3.185 per person

Price include

  • Group transfer from airport to vessel v.v.
  • Comfortable accommodation in your choice of cabin
  • Full board, coffee and tea
  • Snorkel equipment (D9 Waterproof Snorkel Drysuit, fins, mask, snorkel, boots, gloves and hood)
  • All activities and lectures on board
  • Experienced Expedition Leader and Guide
  • All miscellaneous service taxes and port charges throughout the program

Price do not include

  • International and domestic flights
  • Excess baggage charges on flight
  • All items of a personal nature such as laundry, meals ashore, bar, beverages and telecommunication charges
  • Gratuities
  • Pre- and post-voyage packages with air and hotel, available upon request

To register your interest to join us in Norway for this once in a life time experience, click here.

closeup of a baby gorilla holding onto its mother by photographer Scott Portelli

Gorilla Trekking 2017 Trip report

Rwanda is a beautiful place with a picturesque landscape of rolling hills and lush rain forests. The Virunga Missive mountain ranges borders 3 countries (Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo) and is home to the last remaining Mountain Gorillas. This is where our gorilla trekking journey to see these amazing primates begins.

The Volcanoes National Park is regulated quite extensively and is an example of ongoing conservation success. The local guides, trackers, porters and regulatory government bodies work seamlessly to preserve the natural resources, educate tourism and provide ongoing support for research programs and the health of the Mountain Gorillas.

We visited 3 gorilla families during our time in Rwanda with uniquely different characteristics and behavioural traits. But each visit was a privilege and more humbling than the next. This is one of the last remaining intimate wildlife encounters you can have on the planet and it is an experience that leaves manly lost for words.

March/April is a good time to visit, just before the raining season kicks in. The weather is mild and perfect for trekking.

The process is like a well-oiled machine. You arrive at the permit office early in the morning to register, then you are greeted by the sounds of locals performing traditional singing and dancing in the outdoor gardens with a backdrop of the Volcanoes mountains rising behind. A taste of the culture and beautiful surroundings set the scene for the start of the adventure.

Permits are verified and guides discuss the various options for the families that will be visited each day. They allocate each visitor to a specific gorilla family, generally based on physical fitness and preference of the group.

The next step is the briefing from the vastly knowledgeable guides. A position highly sort by many Rwandans but also one that involves an extensive application and training process. The guides brief us about the family we will visit and the various personalities and characteristics of the group as well as the history/genealogy of the Gorilla families and their daily lives and behaviour.

We drive to the parks edge where we set off trekking across farmland until we hit the barrier that surrounds the forest, a small rock wall that spans 75km that marks the border of the national Park. This is where the farmland ends and the forest begins and is a true indication that conservation is in motion as this restricts any encroachment of the land into the forest.

It is at this point that our guides brief us about the etiquette and behaviour we should abide by while in the forest. We also get a brief lesson in how to speak Gorilla. The various sounds indicating we are saying “hello” I am not a threat, or understanding when a gorilla wants us out of the way by warning us with a serious of open mouth sounds. It is quite straight forward but it helps you understand the communication while in the forest.

Before we even reach the start of the forest, the trackers are already making their way through the lush vegetation in search of the Gorilla family. The Trackers stay in the forest each day to see where the Gorillas settle for the evening, then the next morning they know where to start their search.  The guides and the trackers are in constant communication by radio and it is not too long before we get a call from the trackers saying they have found the family we will visit.

The trekking time can vary from group to group as they move through the forest in search of food and ideal places to rest. But on average you may trek from 1.5-2 hours for most of the groups. But most of the trekking is through thick rain forest and when it rains the terrain becomes muddy. It is real jungle trekking, not just walking a well-worn path.

The first family we visited was the Muhoza group. This family consists of 13 individuals and a large silverback.

We meet the trackers only meters from where the family group is and are advised to remove all backpacks and leave any food and water behind and only take our cameras with us. We quietly and slowly make our way through the thick scrub only to be greeted moments later by a large Silverback. We are on his path and we immediately give way as he moved towards his preferred food source. With little to no concern for us and with the clear understanding we were getting out of his way, he sat only a few meters away and proceeded to eat the lush green vegetation.

The family was spread around the forest but less than 100 meters away from each other. As we settled into the scrub the gorillas started to move around us and above us in some instances as they climbed across the thick scrub. A Juvenile walks past and finds a comfortable spot in the shadow of the forest. We move around to the other side of the scrub and in a small green opening in the forest a mother and her small baby rest. The youngsters are curious and will make their way towards the curious humans, but generally mum has a firm hold on the little ones not to let them venture too far.

Each group is allowed only one hour with the gorillas per day and the time goes so fast it is like a dream and you try and fathom where you are and how accepting these impressive creatures are by letting us into their environment. It takes some time to sink in and words can barely describe the feeling. Humbling, privileged, overwhelming, and once you realise this, your time with the Gorillas is over.

But the addiction has begun, and lucky for our group we have a few more days with the Gorillas to look forward to.

Each day begins the same, the locals performing, the guides negotiating, the briefing beginning. But no two days are ever the same with the Gorillas and we are lucky enough to visit a different family today. And Lucky being the operative word, as we are told the Hirwa group we are visiting is called the ‘Lucky One’. The silverback (Muninya) has begotten a good number of children and plays the role of a doting father and truly looks after his children, and is a definite favourite with the females.

We enter the forest ready to hike another 1.5 hours, but to our surprise the trackers tell us that the family is close. Real close as it takes us 20 minutes to get to the family, and what a special group this truly is. In the clearing 4 youngsters play with each other rolling around, grabbing feet and fur and pushing each other around like siblings might do. The day is perfect, sun is shining and the gorillas have found and open patch of vegetation to play and groom each other.

We are watching the youngsters when from behind us Muninya walks confidently towards us knowing we will move out of his way quickly so he can make his way to his youngsters. He lays down right in the middle of the group of gorillas and starts to groom some of the children who return the favour. Such a special moment and even more so as a youngster keeps eyeing out my long lens and with each glance moves closer to investigate. He climbs a small branch but to the little ones surprise it is not strong enough to hold his weight and he quickly tumbles back down into the scrub. But still persistent he climbs closer again as the branch falls towards me and I am told to move back from the curious youngster not to encourage any contact or close interaction. The guides are very conscious of abiding by the rules in order to protect the Gorillas from any disease or other threats. They are so embedded in the lives of the Gorillas and really take pride in what they are doing and what their country has achieved through conservation.

The Third family was the Sabyinyo group. This family consists of 18 individuals and 2 large silverbacks and one old male called Big Ben who was going Bald. The main silverback is called Guhonda and ironically was born the same year as me and is the oldest Silverback in the Rwandan Volcanoes National park. This group was truly special. The entire family unit was a configuration of males and females of all ages with Juveniles playing and mothers nurturing their young. It was a beautiful insight to the family life of this group and Gorillas in general.

But at the end of each day, we leave the Gorillas and hope to meet them again some other time. Being up close and personal with any large animal is a privilege, but it is the connection you feel while sitting only meters away from these Gorilla families that truly softens the heart. Anyone that has had this on their bucket list for a long time should move it up to the top of the list, there is truly no experience like it and with such a small population left on the planet, it is worth doing sooner rather than later.

 

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