For me 2017 was the year of chasing the Southern Right Whale story.
I had been hoping to do this one for years. It was not only because there is a great conservation success story to be shared about these animals. It was not only because of the cool name of the animal which it got from the whaling days; "Right Whale". It was also not only because I have NatGeo Brian Skerry's Southern Right whale image from clear sub-Antarctic waters firmly imprinted in my brain.
While making photo stories like this for me it is about experiencing and living that whole adventure.
The adventure of driving your car through windy Patagonia on desolated roads. Driving for hours on end while hoping that the small gastank will be sufficient to reach the next town, only to be disappointed when you find a little ghost town with one gas station that is out of order..
The adventure of asking for directions without speaking a lot of Spanish words yourself. It is about hoping plans materialize in the right way. Working with knowledgeable researchers that provide the right information to the story, but can also give no guarantees for success or whatsoever.
The adventure of hoping that the Argentinian weather Gods allow for a few weather windows to be even able to go out to sea. Crossing fingers in anticipation of safe in-water interactions with its aquatic residents.
Hoping to learn more about these animals and the ecosystem they live in while freediving in these frigid greenish waters.
It is about hoping to be rewarded with some compelling images that show the interesting treats and behaviors of these enigmatic animals. And it is also about sharing those adventures with passionate people.
It is all of that. All of that added up.
Here is to the success story of the comeback of the Southern Right whale population in Argentina and to the success of nature conservation in Patagonia as a whole.
Here is to the under Unesco World Heritage protected national park of Peninsula of Valdes.
Here is to the ocean..
For a full photo story on the Southern Right whales please find this page.