Shawn Heinrichs @shawnheinrichs

Conservationist/Founder @bluespherefoundation Member @sealegacy Collective Emmy Winning Cinematographer Manta/Shark Defender from @racingextinction

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Shawn Heinrichs photos and videos

11 hours ago

EVOLUTIONARY PERFECTION - sharks have ruled our oceans for over 400 million years, maintaining a delicate balance that has ensured the health of our oceans. No other animals are so uniquely and perfectly evolved as sharks to perform this critical function. Humans in our current form have been on Earth for about a hundred thousand years, and yet in less than 50 years of industrial fishing, we have annileated many shark populations by as much as 90 to 99%. Time is running out for sharks, and if we do not act soon, many species will face imminent Extinction. Will we standby with indifference and apathy? Are we okay with threatening to destabilize the foundation of our oceans' ecosystems? Are we unable see beyond our immediate needs and immediate greed? NOW is the time to take a stand in defense of sharks, in defense of the oceans, and in defense of the future of humanity.💪💙🦈💙💪 #bethechange #lightonecandle #turningthetide #ahimsaray @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale


DEEP CONNECTION - @hannahmermaid is truly a radiant soul and being of light and love. The connection she shares with the ocean and all the beings that make their home there is beyond measure. She is one of the greatest underwater performance artists of our time, an uncompromising conservationist, and a passionate being who stands boldly and unapologetically in defense of all the beings in nature. Using her magnificent art to bring a voice to the voiceless, she is a model of empowerment, a pillar in her community, and inspiration to all young women, as she walks her talk and forges new trails in some of the most challenging of ocean environments in pursuit of her passion. I have such gratitude for you, for all that you stand for, and for all the light and service you bring to our world dear sister.💙🦈🐋🐬🐢✨✨ #bethechange #lightonecandle #ahimsaray @hannahmermaid


WE PROTECT WHAT WE LOVE - and this brilliant being loves nature with such passion and stands in her defense with with such fierce commitment and determination, words cannot do justice in describing what a radiant, selfless, humble and incredible being she is. @candace crespi Mother Nature must have such gratitude to have you on her side, and we are all so much stronger as team because of you! Seen here in full whale shark mode with @waterlust apparel! 💙🦈 #bethechange #lightonecandle @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

3 days ago

Another fabulous day on the water with our @WildAid whale shark team in Isla Mujeres, Mexico - one of the few remaining places on earth where whale sharks still gather in large numbers, free from the threat of the shark fin trade. Ecotourism has become more profitable than hunting and selling these beautiful animals. Proof these amazing sharks are certainly #WorthMoreAlive 💙🦈 I believe that people only protect what they love and so I am on a mission to capture inspiring and dramatic imagery that connects the global community to the beauty and vulnerability of threatened marine species. Through this connection, I hope the world will ultimately share my passion for these creatures and be inspired to act before it is too late. Nothing but gratitude for every moment spent in the company of our gentle, spotty, and ever-so-hungry friends. 🐳🦈😊 @WildAid is working hard to protect whale sharks (and all sharks ) by ending the demand for their fins. Please support their efforts at #lovewhalesharks #sharkweek #turningthetide #whenthebuyingstopsthekillingcantoo

4 days ago

THE BIGGEST FISH - and the biggest shark in all the ocean is the whale shark. What is remarkable is that, although whale sharks are far and above the largest of all sharks, growing to lengths of over 50 feet (with up to 60 feet reported ), they are completely harmless, gentle and docile beings. Over the past month, we have had the pleasure of interacting with and filming these magnificent beings in both Galapagos and Isla Mujeres. Isla Mujeres is world renowned for the largest aggregations of whale sharks in the world, while Galapagos is famous for the biggest whale sharks ever recorded. In this photo taken in Galapagos, you can see the massive size of the shark in comparison to our friend @mishajannard 💪🦈💪 Whether it be diving with one massive whale shark or swimming with a gathering of hundreds, the deep connection and wonder we experienced was same. These brilliant beings are powerful ambassadors for sharks and all species that call the oceans their home and we are so deeply grateful for the privilege to experience their company. We protect what we love, it is our duty attacked please vulnerable and precious creatures. 💙🐋🦈💙 #bethechange #lightonecandle #turningthetide @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

5 days ago

MIGHTY MAKO - a magnificent being that lives in the high seas, rarely crosses paths with humans and if it does, tends to avoid them. Given the precipitous declines in their populations over the past few decades, they have far more to fear from us, than us from them. In August, world governments will consider listing a record number of seriously at-risk shark and ray species, including makos, on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ( @CITES ). @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy and @vulcaninc are supporting an unprecedented push with key countries to gain the two-thirds majority needed for their inclusion. It's time we take a hard look at our beliefs, seek out the truth to reshape our beliefs, and take action to support the conservation of these magnificent creatures, and all the other species that are racing towards extinction by our very hands.🙏💙🌊💚•••••• #regram @thelifeofrileynz // MAKO + @shawnheinrichs = dream for me As you well know, Mako sharks are the major species I work with. There's not many locations in the world people do, and not trying to be egotistical, but New Zealand has some of the best, biggest and in clear water. What's odd is this is me on the @reddigitalcinema space ship of a camera. A rare occurrence. Why? Because unfortunately Mako were recently declared endangered and that's why Shawn came for a visit. I could not believe he had never seen a Mako alive. I have followed his work for years, one of the rare people who walks the walk without ever having to talk the ego talk. He came to NZ to collaborate on a project to be released soon, to try and help these amazing creatures get protection through an upcoming @cites convention. Good karma delivered us the most amazing animals I have ever had. He was blown away, and a special guest we took out @trav_boyd had his perspective totally flipped around. Standby soon for the release of this incredible project. It wouldn't have happened without collaboration from @vulcaninc @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

1 weeks ago

Why do these gorgeous giant whale sharks aggregate in the blue water off Isla Mujeres, Mexico? PLANKTON + FISH EGGS 🐟🥚 Little tunny, a small tuna species, can produce over a million eggs each breeding season. The little tunny spawn overnight and their eggs float gently upwards towards the surface. Whale sharks swim around gulping the eggs up for sometimes hours at a time! How incredibly blessed we are that these gentle giants grace us with their presence, despite all that we have done to them. Perhaps a lesson in compassion and empathy? #whalesharklove #turningthetide #worthmorealive @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation @lonelywhale

1 weeks ago

GENTLE GIANT - It was over a decade ago when we first plunged into the water with 300 whale sharks feeding on the surface off Isla Mujeres, Mexico. These massive yet harmless creatures, with no sharp teeth and covered in cute spots, are curious with swimmers and spend hours at the surface where people can closely observe and interact with them. You couldn’t conceive of a better evangelist for sharks! One cannot help but feel humbled when one of these ocean giants graces your presence, watching as its huge body rises from the deep, passing within feet of you, its huge mouth gulping down tiny plankton, all propelled by a mighty tail. I can’t help but feel the deepest sense of gratitude and humility at the wonders of nature that still abound in our oceans. 🐳🦈💥 Some of my fondest memories shared with some of my dearest ocean friends have occurred while swimming with these beautiful gentle giants. There is still so much worth protecting in the oceans, and we should never lose sight of this fact. Yes, we have lost so much, and yes, the news is typically not optimistic, but we should not let this dissuade us. In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, we must come together with a unified voice and an unquenchable passion to stand in defense of the oceans and protect all of the beings that call it their home. @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale #whaleshark #worthmorealive #turningthetide

2 weeks ago

I have been a diver for almost three decades, and during that time I have had been blessed to interact with and photograph many of the most charismatic shark species in the oceans. However, one shark had always alluded me, the king of the pelagic realm, one of the most awesome of all the large predatory sharks – the Mako! And I must admit, though I have spent countless hours in open water with some of the most feared sharks, including tiger sharks, bull sharks, oceanic white tips, and even great whites, there was something about the fastest shark in all the oceans, with its jagged teeth protruding from its powerful jaw, a formidable predator that can rip a massive marlin to shreds in moments, that tugged at some deep and unresolved primal fear that remained buried inside me. My only interactions with Mako sharks had been with dead ones. From South and Central America, to the Pacific, to Southeast Asia and Indian Ocean, I had documented the demise of these iconic predators by the hands of commercial fisheries. In Japan I documented hundreds of Mako sharks unloaded in a single port on a single day, and most of these sharks were clearly juveniles. In Hong Kong and China, shark fin traders enthusiastically boasted how valuable Mako fins where to their trade, noting that their value had only increased as the fins had become ever more scarce. It was clear to me from my investigations that Mako sharks were in serious trouble, and the scientific data was in clear support. When it was announced that Mako sharks had been proposed for listing on @CITES , I jumped at the opportunity to tell their story and use imagery and storytelling as a powerful tool to help secure their protection. This was my opportunity to finally give a voice to these vulnerable animals that I had so often documented on the blood-soaked floors of commercial fishing ports. And, this was also my opportunity to finally come face-to-face with a shark that had eluded me for almost three decades, to interact on its terms in its habitat, and to learn in the most personal way, the true nature of this incredible species. #citesforsharks @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale @vulcaninc

2 weeks ago

Shortfin makos are prized for their fins and for their meat, and they are extremely vulnerable to long-line and gill-net fisheries that target pelagic fish like tuna. Makos are often caught on lines or trapped in nets as bycatch. They are endangered, with populations decreasing worldwide. A CITES Appendix II listing would offer the management and protection that Mako sharks need to survive and recover. Click the link in my bio to read the latest article in @oceanographic_mag from @thelifeofrileynz and I about incredible experience interacting with in filming these magnificent sharks, how time is running out for the fastest shark in the ocean.🦈💥🦈 #Regram @oceanographic_mag : “On the eve of this year’s Shark Week - and weeks ahead of a critical international conference ( @cites ) where governments have the chance to better protect the Mako shark - we speak with two men fighting for the survival of the species. LINK IN BIO. Support the great work being done by @sealegacy , @bluespherefoundation , @vulcaninc and @projectaware (where you can sign a petition ) now, and help the fastest shark in the ocean win its race against extinction.” 📸: @thelifeofrileynz#conservation #makos #savethemako #maketime4makos #cites #sharks #sharkweek #healthyoceans #blueplanet #apex #newzealand #makoshark #turningthetide

2 weeks ago

Sharks are the guardians of the ocean. They take care of a system that is so vital to our quality of life and, ultimately, to our survival. Humanity has not been good to sharks, but we can change that now. We can stop the destruction, reverse the damage, take a stand for what is right, and fight against what hurts us all. We must focus on action, and change the way we treat sharks and the ocean. The outcome is up to all of us. And we are making headway! Last week new shore-based shark fishing regulations went into effect in Florida. What does that mean exactly? ✔️Anglers are required to pass an online educational course, before obtaining a permit. (This permit is separate from the standard saltwater fishing license ). ✔️NO chumming from the beach. ✔️IMMEDIATE release of prohibited shark species, by cutting the leader, line or hook to prevent a delayed release. ✔️Prohibited species must remain in the water at all times- no more dragging them onto the beach for Trophy pictures! ✔️Requiring the use of non-offset, non-stainless-steel circle hooks to target or harvest sharks when using live or dead natural bait (when fishing from shore and from a vessel ). ✔️Requiring the possession/use of a device capable of quickly cutting the leader or hook when targeting sharks (when fishing from shore or a vessel ). A step in the right direction to providing protections for these beautiful misunderstood creatures. Now we must #StopTheFinTrade and push for a #FinBanNow 💙🦈 @sharkallies @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @wildlifevoiceinc #worthmorealive #savesharks #turningthetide #nofinfl

3 weeks ago

As a person who feels such a deep connection with the oceans and all of nature, where every encounter with these magnificent beings leaves an indelible and beautiful mark in my soul, I struggle to understand how our society can be so cruel, so reckless and so wanton in our destructive ways. But I have to remind myself that so much of this recklessness comes from a place of ignorance or apathy, in a society that fuels the emptiness that has grown within all of us, and promises to fill it with disposable goods and superficial connections. And blame and violence only further fuel this epidemic, dividing communities and blinding us to the real issues. We must come together as a unified movement, seeking to help in the healing of our brothers and sisters, restoring connections lost, and reigniting empathy for all the beings in our biosphere. It is in this way that we can restore the balance and heal our planet. 🌎❤️🙏🦋 #mantamonday #worthmorealive #ahimsaray #turningthetide @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale @indonesianoceanpride @mantatrust @wildaid

3 weeks ago

🦈⚡️ Shortfin makos are the fastest shark and one of the fastest fish on the planet. However, these beautiful animals can’t out-swim the impacts of unsustainable fishing practices. The IUCN shark specialist group recently increased their threat status to Endangered. The heightened extinction risk for one of the ocean’s most iconic sharks is a stark warning that urgently requires a suite of conservation measures to prevent the species being lost. In August, world governments will consider listing a record number of seriously at-risk shark and ray species, including makos, on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species ( @CITES ). @bluespherefoundation and @sealegacy are supporting an unprecedented push with key countries to gain the two-thirds majority needed for their inclusion. Stay tuned for how you can continue #TurningTheTide for sharks. 🌊🦈 @thewcs @vulcaninc @sharkconservationfund @pewenvironment @thelifeofrileynz

3 weeks ago

A challenge to #StopSucking might seem silly but when you see a plastic straw in the water it might make you think twice about YOUR ocean impact the next time you sip through single-use plastic... 🚫🍹🦋 Help us go further to protect our planet by answering a quick survey - link in my bio. 🙏🏻🌊 #turningthetide @lonelywhale @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation

3 weeks ago

HAMMER TIME - I just returned home from an incredible shoot in the Galapagos Islands with my dear friends and teammates @paulnicklen and @cristinamittermeier In addition to learning so much from these two passionate conservationists and icons of wildlife imagery, storytelling and conservation, I was also treated to some of the most spectacular displays of magnificent marine life found anywhere on the planet. In particular, Darwin Island surpassed all expectations, serving up such a mind-blowing abundance and diversity that I was at a loss on where to point my camera, because it was all so so incredible! But even amongst such abundance, it was also in the intimate moments of connection with even just one of these magnificent creatures that also really touched me. I am so inspired, and so grateful for incredible work that is being done today in the Galapagos Islands to ensure that this natural heritage treasure is preserved long, long into the future. #turningthetide #lightonecandle @conservationorg @wildaidgps @wildaid @darwinfound @parquegalapagos @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation

3 weeks ago

Look how tiny my dear friend @paulnicklen looks next to this spotted gentle giant! I am so honored and grateful to work with him, @cristinamittermeier and the rest of our incredible team. Together we will save the oceans! 🦈💙 #Regram @paulnicklen : “What does it feel like to swim with the biggest fish to have ever lived on this Earth? I have been lucky to swim with countless whale sharks in a variety of seas, however, to experience the beautiful and gargantuan female whale sharks of the Galapagos Islands is something that will stay with me forever. Many of these females were likely pregnant and some scientific models suggest that they could reach 130 years old. All day we drifted offshore in the open blue water waiting for hammerhead sharks, Galapagos sharks, silky sharks, tuna, and other big schools of fish to appear. We found them all, but it was these bus-sized, 50-foot long female whale sharks that appeared out of the depths that literally took my breath away every time. The best part is that they would slow down, wait for us, observe us and then just as ghostly as they appeared, they would disappear into the depths. It is moments like this that makes us vow to stay 100 percent focused and engaged to build a global conservation movement. We are growing our community of supporters so species like this will continue to have a voice and necessary protections. The expedition is over but now the conservation heavy-lifting begins and how lucky we are to be surrounded by such an awesome team.” #turningthetide with @sealegacy @cristinamittermeier @mishajanard @luksth @kyleroepke ” 📷: @shawnheinrichs

4 weeks ago

EXCESS - Society has conditioned us to approach life from a place of scarcity, fueling a deep sense of emptiness that many of us carry, and then convincing us that we can only fill it with “stuff.” And it is this emptiness that is driving so much of the wanton destruction that is happening on our planet today, where we rip the natural treasures from Mother Earth, and convert them in to throw-away consumer goods. But the sad truth is that the more we acquire these goods, the more empty we feel, and the more we strive to fill it even further with useless stuff. If left unchecked, this downward spiral has only one outcome - a desolate planet, devoid of wildlife, overflowing with rubbish, steeped in suffering and devoid of meaning. ☠️🤕🗑️⛈️ The real healing begins when we look within ourselves, and truly love and appreciate who we are and what we are - and realize that we are already whole. 💕 And it's from this place of abundance that we can then nurture our relationships, forge a stronger and healthier society, and truly reconnect with nature in the deepest sense. The time is now to make the transition from reckless CONSUMERS to relentless CONSERVERS. 🙏🌈🔥🦋🐢🦈🐬🐳 #ahimsaray #hydratelike #startwith1thing #turningthetide #lovenature #loveearth

4 weeks ago

Every year thousands of visitors travel to Alaska during the peak summer season for the experience of a lifetime: the opportunity to watch bears fish in water as clear as glass, right from the water's edge. Bear-viewing and all related service providers (air/boat taxis, guides, lodging ) reported $34.5 million in sales. Pebble Mine would change all of this. Forever. Mine construction will alter the ways that these bear move through wild Alaska and their relationships with humans. But there's still something you can do to try and change the future for these bears. Join us and all of the people in Alaska already standing up to #SaveBristolBay Make sure your voice is heard - tell US Congress to stop Pebble Mine now before it is too late. Link in bio. #NoPebbleMine #TurningTheTide #ExtinctionEndsHere @paulnicklen @cristinamittermeier @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation @lonelywhale

4 weeks ago

🐋💙🐋 Good news! For the first time since 2002, no whales will be killed in Iceland this summer. Gunnar Bergmann Jonsson announced today that his whaling company will not hunt minke whales this season. This comes just weeks after Iceland’s lone fin whaling company indicated that it would not hunt fin whales. Let’s celebrate the fact that hundreds of whales will be spared from a cruel death this summer, and continue to fight for an end to all commercial whaling. 💪🏽 From RÚV (full article in my story ): “It has been confirmed that no whales of any type will be hunted, including minke whales. Minke whale hunters are going to concentrate on sea cucumbers this summer & the CEO of Hvalur hf., the only company that hunts great whales, exclusively for export to Japan, has said that market conditions in Japan are too difficult. Whaling has taken place in Icelandic waters every summer since 2003 when whaling for scientific purposes started again after a gap of ~14 years. Commercial whaling started again in 2006. Fisheries minister Kristján Þór Júlíusson made a decree in February allowing continued hunting of fin & minke whales until 2023. The hunting decrees are renewed on a 5-yearly basis. Hafrannsóknarstofnun (Marine Research Institute ) has set a recommended maximum yearly catch between 2018 and 2025 of 209 fin whales and 217 minke whales. Hvalur hf. CEO Kristján Loftsson announced this spring that his company would not catch great whales this summer because it has proven difficult to market the meat in Japan, where 100% of the catch is exported to. Gunnar Bergmann Jónsson, CEO of IP útgerð, which hunts minke whales for domestic consumption, says his company is going to concentrate on sea cucumbers until 1st September. “It does not suit us as things stand at the moment & so the decision was made to skip it [this year].” His company imports minke whale meat from Norway to meet demand in Iceland & he says the decision to start hunting will be reexamined next spring. Hafrannsóknarstofnun also confirmed there will be no whaling for scientific purposes.” #worthmorealive #stopthehunt

4 weeks ago

THE DANCE - sliding into the clear blue waters of Raja Ampat, Indonesia my heart was pounding with both anticipation and excitement for what I knew was unfolding just beneath the surface. For years I had been hoping to have the opportunity to experience this rare and incredible dance of nature, but each time the opportunity had presented itself, it had eluded me, passing just out of reach. And now here it was, right in front of me, the mating train of manta rays in all their glory! 🦋💥🦋 The female in the lead raced ahead, while several eager males gave chase, performing acrobatic rolls and flips, twists and twirls, loops and spirals, in what can only be described an epic display of all that is magnificent about nature in its purest form! And what a unique perspective into an animal that usually presents itself in such graceful and gentle manner, its movements typically slow and deliberate as it glides over vibrant reefs in the tropics. And it is this juxtaposition that reveals the true nature of these incredible beings, and how they reflect what it is in all of us - the ability to draw out our most m passionate and powerful energy from that silent, deep well of love and compassion in our innermost souls. We are all children of nature, and we too can join in the DANCE OF THE MANTA RAYS. 🦋🔥💙🦋🔥 @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale @indonesianoceanpride @indonesianmantaproject #protectwestpapua #provinsikonservasi #manta

4 weeks ago

Our oceans were once teeming with whales, so much so that ships could have difficulty navigating through them. Today their numbers are still only a shadow of their former glory, and we face a very real risk that global commercial whaling will resume. Whales are also still under intense threat from ocean pollution, ship strikes, naval sonar, and bycatch. Anyone who has the the incredible honor of connecting with these magnificent beings, would find these acts unconscionable. We do not accept this “reality,” and together we can forge a new path to a brighter future for us and the whales. Please help us understand how to empower you to take action by taking a few minutes to fill out a survey - link in my bio. 🙏🏻💙🐋 Upon completion, you'll be entered into a drawing for a copy of "Born To Ice" by @PaulNicklen #turningthetide #stopthehunt #worthmorealive

5 weeks ago

Did you know that the name ‘manta’ is derived from the Spanish word for blanket or shawl in reference to their peculiar shape? Recent research has given us much knowledge about mantas and their behaviour, however many unanswered questions remain! In collaboration with @indonesianmantaproject and @mantatrust , the Misool Manta Project uses data collected by divers to support research and policy designed to protect mantas in Indonesia and beyond. In 2018, we recorded 177 sightings of reef mantas (Mobula alfredi ). One hundred of these were new mantas that we had never seen before. Another exciting result was that 19 of these mantas were pregnant. Both species of manta are listed as “Vulnerable” on the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN )( @redlist_of_ecosystems ). What can you do? Dive with mantas (responsibly ), adopt a manta (PM @misool foundation for details ), submit ID photos for research, share your love of mantas with everyone you meet. 💙🦋🌊 Special thanks to ocean warriors @edysetyawan and @sarah_lewis28 for their hours spent matching ID shots from Misool! #mantamonday #worthmorealive

5 weeks ago

HOW CLOSE - I am obsessed with the visual sense and addicted to the process of capturing powerful imagery. I am a storyteller and imagery is my medium. My ambition is to capture through my lens what my soul experiences through my eyes, an enhanced version of reality, order in chaos, focused, isolated and profound.  People often ask me, "how close were you to the subject when you captured that image?" Well the answer is, much closer than you think! Imagine a terrified sardine racing past your face as a ravenous sailfish with a razor-sharp bill chases after at 60mph! I remember this moment which lasted little more than a blink of the eye - first the silvery sardine racing by, then the blur of sailfish bill brushing just inches from my face, and then nothing but bubbles in the wake of its tail! If you look closely, you can see the reflection of the tip of the sailfish bill in my dome! I shoot with a fisheye wide-angle lens underwater (180 degrees ), which means unless the subject is close, and I mean really close, it will appear as a tiny speck in my image. To get close to large marine animals without disturbing them, requires years of experience, patiently interacting with them and studying their behavior. We must remember that this is their realm and we are the foreign visitors. Patience, respect and allowing the animals to dictate the terms of the interaction are essential to earning their trust. And when they are finished interacting, giving them the space to leave without chasing, often means they will come back for an even closer and more intimate interaction.  I seek to create imagery that not only captures the experience, but more importantly, evokes the emotions I felt during the interaction. Through this process, my objective is to get people to feel what I felt, and fall in love with these magnificent and vulnerable creatures. I believe art is an essential communication tool in halting the destruction of threatened species. By reconnecting people with the beauty and vulnerability of marine species, we can ignite a new level of curiosity and passion for marine conservation. #bethechange #lightonecandle @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

last month

"The Great Spirit is in all things: he is in the air we breathe. The Great Spirit is our father, but the Earth is our mother. She nourishes us; that which we put into the ground she returns to us.” —Big Thunder (Bedagi ) Wabanaki Algonquin #bethechange #lightonecandle #turningthetide @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

last month

Within Raja Ampat in Indonesia, the Misool Marine Reserve represents one of the most pristine reef systems left on earth — one of only a handful of places in the universe where biodiversity is improving rather than declining. ⚡️🌊 What was once a bastion for shark finners, dynamite fishermen, turtle poachers, longliners and gillnetters, is now a fully protected through the steadfast enforcement of @misool foundation’s community rangers. In this shot my dear friend and ocean activist @mishajannard explores some of the richest reefs on the planet, capturing her experience on her @reddigitalcinema Monstro, creating terabytes of stunning 8K footage for use in future conservation stories. Huge thank you to RED for all your generous support and for creating such powerful Weapon Of Mass Construction! ⚡️🎥 @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale @indonesianoceanpride #protectwestpapua #provinsikonservasi #fbf

last month

"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.” - Dr. Seuss Our mission is to build a global community that is deeply connected to nature and in service to its preservation. We are going to rewrite the narrative, bringing healing and purpose to our community. #bethechange #turningthetide #hydratelike @sealegacy @lonelywhale @bluespherefoundation @indonesianoceanpride #protectwestpapua

last month

We did it!! 💙🦈 Canada just became the first country to pass #finfree legislation banning the import & export of shark fins. 🇨🇦 🚫🦈 #Repost @teamsharkwater : Rob Stewart dreamed of a #finfree Canada and began a movement across the country as Canada Canada imports nearly 170,000kg of shark fin a year – making it one of the largest importers of shark fin outside of China. Today, we’ve set history – and a chain of events into motion that we hope leads to a worldwide ban. We salute Rob’s parents, Sandy and Brian, for tirelessly working to fulfill his vision, and join them in thanking the Canadian Parliament for taking this important step to save sharks and protect ocean ecosystems. Special thanks to MP Finn Donnelly, Senator Michael MacDonald, MP Pam Damoff, Kristyn Wong-Tam - Toronto City Councillor, Team Sharkwater, Phil Gillies, and everyone else who made Rob’s dream a reality. Please help us continue the fight to #savesharks - link in @teamsharkwater bio. #worthmorealive #turningthetide @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation

last month

TOGETHER WE HEAL - Working on the front-lines of conservation for over two decades, I have been exposed again-and-again to some the most barbaric, cruel and unconscionable acts of violence perpetrated against innocent beings in nature. Words cannot describe the degree and extent of suffering I have witnessed on this journey. And in full vulnerability, this has extracted a massive tole on my soul and inflicted deep and painful wounds in my heart. For years I buried this pain in the deep recesses of my being, believing that somehow I could keep up the ‘fight’ and push ahead without letting the darkness envelop me. But one cannot escape that which festers within, and ultimately, I had to face the hard reality or succumb to the darkness. It was the realization that, the struggles we face in our journey point directly to the traumas we carry within us, that gave me the permission to face the darkness, forgive myself and others, and begin to heal the wounds. And as the darkness gave way to light and love extinguished the fight, I realized I could still feel the pain but no longer absorb the poison. By showing up in full vulnerability for myself, for my community, and for all the beings in nature, I now truly feel how deeply we are all connected on this incredible journey we call life and that, together we are stronger, together we are more compassionate, together we create abundance, together we are an indomitable force, together we’ve got this, and TOGETHER WE HEAL! #ahimsaray #bethechange #turningthetide @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

last month

Video by @paulnicklen // In the remote waters of Bristol Bay, Alaska, exists the greatest wild salmon stronghold in the world. But now, it is up against one of the largest proposed gold and copper mines on Earth: Pebble Mine. The construction of Pebble Mine would forever change the face and future of Bristol Bay - and of all of the people and animals that live there. The story of Bristol Bay is one of perseverance in the face of incredible odds; it's a story about a movement to keep one of America's last true wild places out of the hands of industry titans, because what happens to these waters, happens to all of us. Bristol Bay is just one critical decision away from possibly losing everything that makes it a national treasure. But with the project still under review, we still have a chance to encourage U.S. Congress to make the right decision. Join us as we stand alongside those already rallying to #SaveBristolBay and add your voice to the petition link in my bio. Let's show Congress what #TurningTheTide means. 🌊🐻💪 #NoPebbleMine #WeAreBristolBay

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TOGETHER WE RISE - In a time of extreme global environmental crisis, it is the choices we make NOW, to either cower in despair or to rise and stand together in defense of our Mother Nature, that will decide the FUTURE or our natural world as we know and love it. We are not apart from nature, but rather an integral part of nature, and me must embrace this truth, heal our hearts, and extend deep compassion and empathy to all beings that we share this world with. We can and must do this together. ( @hannahmermaid dances in perfect harmony with two celestial manta rays ) ARE YOU WITH US? #ahimsaray #bethechange #startwithonething @sealegacy @bluespherefoundation @lonelywhale @indonesianoceanpride

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NOMADS - Pilot Whales have traversed our oceans since ancient times, and one can only imagine what incredible wonders these wanderers have witnessed during their journeys. Incredibly social beings, I have swam with them in pods as large as 100 individuals and families are believed to spend their entire lives together. Sadly, over my decades of work on the oceans, encounters with these super pods have become ever more rare…and we are to blame. Directed mass-bloody hunts in the Faroe Islands and Japan, small scale targeted hunts across the globe, by-catch in longline and gill-net fisheries, injuries and death due to sonar, ingestion of pollution, and mass beach strandings - believed to be related to military sonar and possibly mercury contamination, have ravaged their numbers. I recall a conversation where an anonamous  individual related observing 20 pilot wales hanging lifeless on a single longline in the Sea of Cortez. I fear for the day when their sleek torpedo forms and tell-tale sonar clicks will no longer grace our oceans. OUR choices will decide THEIR future, and we MUST move now to to take a stand to protect these ancient nomads, for they deserve a thriving future in our oceans. #ahimsaray #bethechange #turningthetide #hydratelike @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

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EVERY ONE WE SAVE MATTERS - People often ask me, “how do you keep going when faced with a constant barrage of such depressing environmental news?” When I reflect on the current state of overfishing in our oceans, honestly the situation is pretty bleak, and what recent satellite data has exposed is terrifying. Over 55% of the oceans surface it now covered by industrial fishing, with some 95,000 industrial fishing vessels globally that are armed with advanced tracking and capture technology, chasing fewer and fewer fish with ever-greater intensity. Over 90% of global fish stocks are already fully exploited, and for the large predatory sharks, declines of 90-99% have been observed in just the last few decades. Taiwan alone has over 2,000 registered commercial longline vessels, each with the capacity to deploy up to 100 miles of longline at a time, 200,000 miles in aggregate, enough to wrap our the earth 8 times…and Taiwan is only the 4 biggest fisher of sharks! And their is no shortage of further depressing statistics in each of the worlds plummeting fisheries. But then I reflect on that time over a decade ago in Costa Rica, working with the local enforcement team and pulling in some 40-50 miles of longline per day, confiscated from one of the 40 illegal fishing vessels we chased out of Cocos World Heritage site each night, that were deploying some 500 to 1000 miles of longline around an island only 3 miles in circumference!  I remember that exhausted mature silky shark we pulled up to the boat with a barely any fight left in her, the helpless look in her eyes as we removed the razor-sharp longline hook that had so brutally embedded in her jaw, and the relief we all felt as we watched her gently swish her tail and swim off in freedom into the depths. In that moment I found renewed strength and wisdom that has carried me through some of the darkest times - in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds and countless setbacks, we must never forget that for this shark it mattered, and for every one we save, IT MATTERS. (note: photo of a thresher shark we rescued in Alor…another being that it mattered for! ) @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @indonesianoceanpride

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GRACE - a word that so often comes to mind when I share space with a manta ray. On a spiritual level, Grace can be defined as the "divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire virtuous impulses." The frequency and energy that the manta ray shares with us seems to do exactly that, bringing a deep sense of healing and inspiring us to reach for our highest. They are truly the angels of the sea, a gift and a blessing, yet they are so vulnerable to our reckless and destructive ways, and we must do all we can to protect them and all the beings that make their homes in the oceans. 🙏🦋🌊🌎 @indonesianoceanpride @bluespherefoundation @sealegacy @lonelywhale

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