Tawny Nurse Shark

New Caledonia, Coral Sea, South Pacific

In the lagoon of New Caledonia, we sometimes encounter the Tawny nurse shark (Nebrius ferrugineus), an up to 3 meter long shark widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific and similar in appearance to the nurse shark of the Atlantic and East Pacific (Ginglymostoma cirratum).

This shark species is mostly nocturnal, swimming and hunting during the night and is known to return to the same location to rest during the day where it finds shelter under small overhangs or in caves.


It is an a bottom-dwelling shark and an active-swimming predator, using a powerful suction force to extract prey from inside holes and crevices, where it feeds on creatures such as octopuses, crustaceans, sea urchins, smaller reef fishes and occasionally sea snakes.



Even though they are normally found resting during the day, it happens every now and then that we meet these extraordinary creatures actively swimming around during our lagoon explorations.

The tawny nurse shark  is a species of carpet shark, a diverse group of sharks including the whale shark and zebra shark among others. 
Considered vulnerable, but caught by commercial fisheries across most of its range, as well as captured by big-game anglers... Despite the human caused threats, I hope our "tawny friends" can continue to peacefully swim over the coral bed many years to come.

Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Isl.

Antarctica, South Georgia & Falkland Islands, March/April 2023

From the Antarctic Peninsula, we make our way over the Drake, for a brief visit at South Georgia, followed by Falkland Islands. 

Here are some few of our many feathery friends, starting up with a Gentoo- and Chinstrap penguin at the Antarctic Peninsula:



Chinstrap penguin, Antarctic Peninsula:


Gentoo penguin, Antarctic Peninsula:



Black-browed albatross, Drake Passage &

Juvenile black-browed albatross, Falkland Islands:


Southern rockhopper penguin, Falkland Islands:


King penguin, Falkland Islands:


King penguins, South Georgia:

Late Summer In Antarctic Wonderland

 Antarctic Peninsula, March 2023

Wondrous Antarctica. Being the southernmost and least-populated continent, it is also the coldest, windiest, and driest continent on Earth. Between October and April the Antarctic pack ice retreats to reveal this remarkable place and we get to explore a bit of its pristine world. 



I so much enjoy the extensive silence and remote ambience when being priviliged to experience this vast wonderland. As we are in mid March already, I have now spent one month guiding at the Antarctic Peninsula and we start to reach the end of the season soon. 


As ice, snow, mountains and glaciers are a big part of the Antarctic experience I thought to share some pictures of this cold beauty in its many different forms. Some Antarctic late summer vibes ;-)


Antarctic Minke Whale

Antarctic Peninsula, February 2023

Every southern summer, baleen whales migrate to the cold and remote waters of Antarctica to spend several months feeding on krill. 

One of them is the Antarctic minke whale. This species has a small, compact body, and short fins, making it well suited to life in the pack ice where they can easily maneuver in narrow spaces between ice floes.



With a length of approximately 7-10 meters, the Antarctic minke whale (Balaenoptera bonaerensis) is one of the smallest baleen whales, with only their close relative, the northern minke (also called common minke), as well as the pygmy right whale being smaller.


Little is known about the population distribution and individual movement patterns of Antarctic minke whales. They are found in all seas in the southern hemisphere and sometimes ranges into the northern hemisphere. In summer, they feed in Antarctic waters, and during winter most of them move north to more temperate or tropical waters to mate. They inhabit both offshore and coastal waters. 



Both mating and calving usually occurs during the winter. After a gestation lasting 10-11 months, a single, approx 2,5 meter long, calf is born. Like all mammals, minke calves drink their mother's milk until they are weaned, at about 4-6 months. They remain with their mothers for up to 2 years and are sexually mature at about 7-8 years old.


The minke whale has a snout which is distinctively narrow, triangular, and pointed. Sometimes they use their beaks to break ice that is several centimeters thick, in order to create breathing holes.


They are usually seen on their own or in pairs or threes, but can also be found in bigger groups of up to 10 to 15 animals.


The dives of the minkes normally lasts around 2 to 6 minutes, then they spend about a minute up at the surface, where they blow 5 to 8 times before starting another dive. During deep dives the minke whale can hold its breath for as long as 20 minutes.


Here in Antarctica, we have met several curious minke whales, which for me is among the highlights of the trips. The photos in this post are from our recent encounter at Cierva cove at the Antarctic Peninsula.

The Green Sea Turtle

New Caledonia, Coral Sea, South Pacific

The green sea turtles are among the creatures keeping us more or less daily company in the New Caledonian lagoon.

An appreciated company they are and we very much enjoy watching these cute and charming beings from the boat and underwater.

Of 7 sea turtle species worldwide, there are 4 species known to occur in New Caledonia, of which the green sea turtle is the most abundant.
They are among the largest species of sea turtle, with an average length of around 80-120 centimeter. One of the larger green sea turtles known measured 153 centimeters and had a weight of 395 kilograms.


Peaceful beings they are, commonly found in seagrass meadows and around coral reefs. Their diet changes with age, the first few years of a green sea turtle’s life are spent in open water, where they feed on plankton, crustaceans, jellyfish and fish eggs. As they grow older, they move to shallower waters along the coast, such as bays and lagoons, where they mainly feed on marine plants such as seagrass and algaes.

Similar to other sea turtles, green sea turtles migrate long distances between their feeding grounds and their mating-nesting sites, with recorded distances longer than 2,600 kilometres. Mature turtles often return to the exact beach from which they hatched.


Their ability to return to their birthplace is known as natal homing. Females usually return to their hatching beach every two to five years, whereas the males may make the journey annually.

After mating, the female crawls up on the beach at night. She digs a hole in the sand where the eggs are laid and well covered. The female seems to be doing this 3 to 5 times in one season. 

It takes about 2 months before the eggs start to hatch and it is time for the small baby turtles to take the dangerous trip to the ocean. They find their way by heading toward the brightest direction. On a natural beach, this direction is the light of the open horizon.



Turtles can rest underwater for several hours at a time, but their underwater time is much shorter when diving for food or escaping predators. They usually cruise in slow speed around 3 km/h, but if threatened these amazing creatures can reach a speed of up to 35km/h.



Some are more shy than others and in general we se more relaxed individuals in the marine protected areas of the lagoon, where there also is a bigger change to get a curious encounter. Sure thing is that I love every moment spent with these special and charismatic creatures!