Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 12

(Very) Early morning of my final day in Madeira. Ponta de São Lourenço and Desertas islands.

Couldn't had asked for a better farewell from the spotted dolphins. Picture taken by leaning overboard the zodiac. Caniçal.

"Come meet us in the Blue soon"...

Madeira 2010, day 11

Earth meets water at Garajau.


A mediterranean parrotfish (sparisoma cretense) effortlessly scans the wall all the way to the bottom. Garajau.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 10

The view from the top of the cliff in Fajã dos Padres, between Cabo Girão and Ribeira Brava. Yachts are starting to get under my skin, grrrr :p
Not much to show today, it was basically a hard day at the beach :-)

Madeira is made up of contrasts. Concrete and basalt. Rich and poor.
Câmara de Lobos inhabitants are among the poorest of Madeira, these people are hanging out in what is basically their terrace. This picture much reminds me of Cuba.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 9

... back to my trusty "old" 5D (the original, the only!:)), I went to Desertas islands today. All sorts of mixed feelings as this time around, eleven years after being there for the first time (jeeeez!), I was with a group of tourists on a, it must be said, nicely organized tour (argh).

Not exactly a smooth ride... I have never thrown up aboard, but this time I really came close with the technicolor show provided by the other passengers, while some used a black (nice) plastic bag given by the crew others simply shared the moment leaning overboard.
Wind on the nostrils and a clear vision ahead, never fails.
In the distance, from left to right, Ilhéu Chão, Deserta Grande and Bugio.

This is the Desertas Blue. There's none like it.

A Sterna hirundo hirundo flying around the boat, with Deserta Grande's cliffs as background.

A private yacht anchored in front of the Natural Park house.

Swimming pool blue? Nope, way better.

I have snorkeled here everyday during 2 weeks. I love that arch and the wall.

"We go right!"
"Say what?!"

The "Bonita da Madeira" with Bugio in the background.

A book rests over the table on Bonita's stern.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 8

Camera housing leak, camera hydrophobia, not in a good mood.
A couple of pictures taken while strolling in Funchal's dowtown before the incident.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 7

Yesterday I called Juan (H20 Madeira) and he said that today's chances of seeing a Bryde's whale would be great as he had seen the same pair of mother and calf 3 days in a row and, so, this morning I drove to Calheta with high expectations. Little did I knew what the Atlantic had in store for me. Simply put, two sperm whales - my fetish whale - that I was fortunate enough to swim with about 2 miles offshore, between Jardim do Mar and Paúl do Mar. It's worth mentioning that all these shots were taken at 17mm and that the sun disappeared after the first one.

This was the first one, which magically materialized out of the blue and sadly kept on going when I dove.

The second one was an all different matter. I spent a whole 10 minutes with it (ok, 9m and a few seconds, I checked the exif data :)), about 5 of which it stayed in this position, slowly rotating once. After this shot I dove a few meters by its side, foolishly trying to imitate it. However, when I reached for the camera my lungs were already burning and I was so overwhelmed that it was really hard to keep calm.

I approached it a little more and it then came to the surface, kindly showing its belly. We were so close. This close.

A big and heartfelt thank you to Daniel and Sr. António, for their most valuable and patient help in making these moments happen..

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 6

Four days, four different species... Today I received yet another present, peaceful rough toothed dolphins... again, just off Funchal.

"let's check that thing with flippers"
"roger that"

Shooting at 20mm (ultra wide angle) you may guess how close they were. Disturbing eye contact, in a positive way of course.

I like the way they are slightly tilted. A literal (inx!) translation of a portuguese saying: one eye on the donkey, another on the gipsy.

Swimming in the Blue... vertigo, anyone?

The dolphin's perspective. This is Hugo, Madeira Wind Birds' owner along with Catarina.

The beach at Garajau.

My giant red towel on a ledge. Garajau.

"So what? I forgot to bring my sandals". A small lizard cooling his back paws (?) over a hot basalt rock.
Edit: My good friend and biologist Nuno Salix has wisely pointed out that this is the only vertebrate endemic species of Madeira - Lacerta dugesii. Usually greenish or brownish, he jokingly adds this one probably caught too much sun, eheheh.

Garajau at dusk.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 5

Still trying to grasp what happened this morning... so, I won't even try to put it into words. Pilot whales, just off Funchal (3 next pictures).

Caniçal, view from the marina.

Desertas islands, yes, again... hmmm...

Monday, August 16, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 4

Off Cabo Girão, my closest encounter with (bottle-nose) dolphins so far... just 3 shots to illustrate it...

"let us take a better look at you"


São Vicente as seen from Seixal, on the north coast of Madeira.

Seixal port at dusk.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 3

Went dolphin/whale watching today near Calheta. The sea changed its mood several times in just 2h30m and it was only towards the end that some dolphins were spotted. In the meantime a Cory's shearwater came close to say hi.

A french little girl mesmerized by the blue.

A spotted dolphin abandoned his pod to check things out.

Late in the afternoon I returned to Paúl do Mar and was able to get really close to this Sterna hirundo hirundo sitting on a boat's bow.

Some ballet dancers perform to the fishes. Paúl do Mar.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Madeira 2010, day 2

The grass is always greener on the other side. Porto da Cruz.

This sea star didn't stop moving all the time I was in the area. Near Caniçal.

A shameless self portrait about 7/8 meters down. Asking God for gills.

Ponta de São Lourenço.

The Desertas islands, seen from the beginning of Ponta de São Lourenço.