Blue whale Skeleton in Natural History Museum

One of the largest and most impressive specimens in London’s Natural History museum is this blue whale skeleton, nicknamed Hope. Installed in 2018, it is 82 feet (25 metres) long and weighs about 4.5 tonnes. Having been to London half a dozen times I am embarrassed to say this year was the first time I’ve visited this museum. Which is free and well worth a visit. I had planned to grab the shot of the whale and move onto my next location but once I had my picture I explored. I ended up spending a few hours exploring the museum and it is incredible. The museum has been there since 1881. There is more than a days worth of things to see and explore. This photograph was taken from the second floor. I like the way the morning sun was shining through the glass ceiling and the stained glass window. The white statue at the back of the main hall is of Charles Darwin.

California Sea Lions, Pier 39

California Sea Lions, Pier 39

In the past I have seen a few California Sea Lions at zoos but one my first visit to California I wanted to make sure I saw them in the wild. On my first day in San Francisco I walked down to Pier 39. This is a very popular tourist attraction filled with gift shops and sea food restaurants. Getting to the docks first thing in the morning meant there were only a couple of other tourist and the morning sunlight looked great on the sea lions. The photograph above shows less than half a dozen of the seals but there were hundreds. The Marine Mammal Store and Interpretive Center monitor the sea lion population each day and there have been as many as 1700 on the docks at one time. Whilst the smell was particularly unpleasant I spent at least an hour just watching them.

Swimming with Stingrays

Swimming with Stingrays

Aside from cycling and hiking I did little else in my time in Bora Bora, which is popular for diving and many other aquatic activities. I was fortunate enough to go on one boat trip on the lagoon. There were two guides and only three passengers on the boat. It was the best day of my brief time in French Polynesia. We went snorkelling a few times during the day in various parts of the lagoon. Even swimming with baby sharks. Here we were feeding and snorkelling with stingrays. There were dozens of them and they were extremely friendly.

Giant Trevally Fish

Giant Trevally Fish

This is probably the largest fish I have come in close contact with. Although looking down on him from the boat was close enough for me. The Gaint Trevally or GT for short is a large marine fish found throughout the tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific region. It can grow to over a metre and a half in length and a weight of up to 80kg. This photograph was taken in the Aitutaki lagoon. There were at least three or four GTs. Nearly everyone on the boat went snorkelling in the water with them but I wanted to focus on photographing them. That’s my excuse for staying out of the water anyway!