Trips » Photos of Wright Trips Around the World

The trip we had been trying to do since we first started our big travels together has finally come and gone – Antarctica and Patagonia! We had been wanting to go to Antarctica forever but given the cost and distance we didn’t want to go without also seeing Patagonia. We had been in love with that region after seeing Art Wolfe’s coverage of it in his TV series. Our opportunity came when Aurora Expeditions out of Australia, an operation we had visited the high artic with, offered a combo of the two regions with a discount for the package. We lined up some dates and committed. This decision turned out to be an awesome choice. We were blessed with really good weather, traveling companions and guides. We were also back on our boat from the artic, the Polar Pioneer!

The journey down was complicated but doable. Turns out it took longer than my business trips to India due to airport switches and multiple hops. Thankfully the time difference is only 5 hours so at least jet lag wasn’t that big of a deal. The 3am trip to the domestic airport in Buenos Aires with a driver who spoke no English unless it came from AC/DC or Black Sabbath which blasted on the radio and sung along with was an adventure all it’s own.

Patagonia a lovely region with amazing physical sights to see. We did 10 days in the two parks in Argentina and Chile with 4 days of hard hiking. Well worth the effort! The lodges we stayed in were excellent and provided for recovery after the difficult hikes. Lelia, from Aurora, not only guides us for the 10 days she also designed the program originally and did an excellent job!

We came back with a lovely set of images you can enjoy here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Travel to Antarctica involved 60 hours each way across the Drake Passage in the Southern Ocean, easily one of the roughest sections of water on the globe! About half the boat was sick on the way down with less on the way back. However all was worth it for some of the most amazing sites on the planet! MASSIVE icebergs, glaciers, whales, seals, penguins and the list goes on!

We came back with tons of photos. Checkout our selections: Brad’s Ice, Red’s Great Work and Brad’s Wildlife.

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My third visit to Galapagos but this time was special three times over. My wife, Red, came along and we got to spend a week touring Quito and several islands of Galapagos together.

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Then she continued on for a few more days while I was joined by my two dear friends Alice and Shawn on the dive boat Nortada with Jorge of Galapagos Rebreathers. She got some amazing photos of the blue footed boobies and a lot more of the wild life and scenery. You can see a selection here.

 

For me the diving wasn’t as good a previous years due to lower visibility but the things we did see where very unique. Most divers hope to some day see a Mola Mola, we got to see 15 on one dive! Totally unheard of! These are truly some of the strangest animals on the planet. Also unique to Galapagos are the marine iguana that dive down to eat algae and can hold their breath for up to 40 mins. The every present sea lions were a joy to engage with as well. See more photos here.

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We finally did it, chartered a sailboat for a week! Along with 5 other friends we spent a week sailing the British Virgin Islands on a Lagoon 450 catamaran. Truly luxury on the water!

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We used Catamaran Company for the charter and everything was easy and smooth. Our boat was “Between the Sheets” a great boat in very good condition but now retired. Highly recommend using Catamaran Company for chartering!

The seven of us got along well all week and remain friends – speaks to the friends!

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I was able to do a repeat of the CCR only trip diving Galapagos that I enjoyed in 2013. As always it was awesome! Jorge Mahauad, owner of Galapagos Rebreathers, and Andy Philips put on a great trip. We had tremendous hammerhead and whale shark action including a massive pregnant female on a 360 fly by during our safety stop! Checkout the video!DSC_8437 Here I am with her, I have the yellow bailout tank.

Checkout the compilation video of the trip here. Photos can we looked through here.

I also got to see my first mola mola that came in for a quick pass. Unfortunately I didn’t have the camera for that dive as it was our first checkout dive!

 

DSC_8573Galapagos truly is *the* big fish action location on the planet and diving it with my brand new SF2 CCR was a real treat. The unit is so easy to use and travel with and seems to be completely reliable – this was my first trip on it. DSC_8026

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If you haven’t guessed we love animals and the bigger and/or more exotic the better! So swimming with humpback whales and their newborns was high on the to-do list. There are two primary places to do this in the world, the silver banks north of The Dominican Republic and The Kingdom of Tonga in the south Pacific. Given we wanted to do this right and the visibility is so much better in Tonga we oppt’d for there. Thus started a 3 year wait as the boat to do this from, the Fiji based Nai’a is in high demand. Then there was a trick of getting there from Seattle. Given our Fiji Airlines adventures in the past we weren’t going that route. Anything else out of Seattle was a nightmare trip, however it turns out there’s a non-stop from Vancouver BC to Auckland, New Zealand which is a short flight away from Tonga. Perfect now we could see New Zealand too and visit our friend Pete Mesley who runs Lust4Rust._BWW7207The whales go to Tonga to give birth and raise their young for the first few months. Surprisingly the mothers are many time very tolerant of us being in the water with them. The young ones are curious and playful. We had one youngster rocket up from mom and breech right in front of us while we were in the water! Something our guides had never seen. Also something a bit dangerous because he’s still about 12′ long!

Checkout the images of our whales. And some adventures on Nai’a.

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Hobbiton

In our opinion no visit to New Zealand would be complete without a visit to one of the Lord of the Rings movie sets. Yes geeky but a must. For us being on the north island that meant Hobbiton. Was a good time along the way we drove to several other locations on the island with an Aussie friend of ours who flew over to join us. Corrie is an excellent traveling companion who we met in the artic on this trip.   Photos of our time in New Zealand are here.

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