Snorkel Safari Explore the underwater world of Mossel Bay
Hi, I’m Fiona, a local SCUBA instructor, underwater photographer and marine enthusiast in Mossel Bay. I would love to invite you on an underwater snorkel safari. During this trip you can experience the hidden underwater world around Mossel Bay. Discover beautiful fish, shy-sharks, underwater wrecks and much more. I’ll show you some of the life around our reefs and rocks and also, if you like, teach you a little bit about the animals and how they live together in relative harmony.

When do we meet? Always arrive 15 minutes before your booked trip time

How long is the tour? About 1.5 hours. This includes arriving 15 minutes before your trip time to sign in and kit up. On average, we are about 1 hour in the water.

What are the snorkeling conditions like? The site is very shallow, between 1 and 5m deep. So you can clearly see the bottom on most days. If there is large swell and/or poor visibility I will cancel the trip and hopefully reschedule.

What experience do I need?  To snorkel you need to be comfortable swimming in the ocean.

Are there age limits? Junior snorkelers can be between 8 and 13 years old. Juniors will require a guardian with them on the trip. It is also important to let us know that juniors will be coming, so that if conditions are not suitable we can cancel the trip.

What times of year do the trips run? From 15 December to 15 January annually.

How big are the groups? I take a maximum of ten snorkelers. There will be two guides present if the number of snorkelers exceeds 6.

Can I come and watch? Yes, enjoy the beach whilst the snorkelers are in the water.

What is your booking / cancellation policy.  Bookings are confirmed via phone and or email. If the conditions are unsuitable for the trip, I will cancel at the earliest possible time, however, this may be on the morning of the snorkel trip. The trip is paid for via cash before we head out to sea. If you choose to cancel, please contact me at the earliest time to allow me to open up your spot to other guests.

DATES: 15 December – 15 January annually

DURATION: 1 – 2 hours

GUIDE & TUTOR: Fiona Ayerst

LOCATION: The point, Mossel Bay

COST: R350pp

INCLUDES: 1hr guided tour, mask, fins, wetsuit, weight-belt, rest buoy, coffee, tea.

ADD-ON: Gopro rental, trip photographer/videographer

EXCLUDES: Costume, towel, transport

Start your adventure

Enjoy discovering the underwater marine life of Mossel Bay this summer. 

Sardine Run Experience the greatest shoal on Earth

The Sardine Run in South Africa is one of the world’s most incredible marine events. Annually, from May to July, vast shoals of sardines move from their temperate-water home off South Africa’s southern coast and travel north-east into the sub-tropical waters of South Africa’s Wild Coast. Following the shoals is a unparalleled concentration of marine predators, including sharks, dolphins, whales, gannets and game fish.

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When predators meet prey a feeding event of unmatched proportions begins. Thousands of common dolphins charge after the shoals, separating them into densely packed bait balls and driving them to the surface. Watched by the omnipresent Cape gannets, an aerial assault on the sardines then begins when tens of thousands of gannets begin their spectacular plunge diving displays. Below the bait balls are easy pickings not only for dolphins, but also for shivers of bronze-whaler, dusky and blacktip sharks. The final player, is the behemoth Bryde’s whale whose huge mouth can decimate an entire bait ball in a single lunge

DATES: 7-days in May or June annually

GUIDE & TUTOR: Fiona Ayerst

LOCATION: East London, South Africa

INCLUDES: 5 x Sardine run expeditions, 1 x game drive, dive guide, photographic tutor/guide, accommodation, meals, local travel, SCUBA equipment.

EXCLUDES: Photographic equipment, flights, travel insurance

My Sardine Run expeditions are conducted through the renowned shark diving company – Blue Wilderness.

What you can see on the Sardine Run

The sardine run comprises massive shoals of South Africa’s bait fish, including the sardine, anchovy, massbanker, redeye amongst others. But it is the predators that are drawn to these shoals that really impress. Fellow adventurers will see common dolphins, dusky sharks, blacktip sharks, bryde’s whales, Cape gannets, Cape fur seals and much much more.

Sardine Run Guides

Fiona Ayerst & Ryan Johnson will be guiding the expedition, and our skipper and support crew will be supplied by the ‘Blue Wilderness’ team, the company that pioneered the sardine run adventure here in South Africa.

Accommodation

We will be staying in the wonderful Crawfords Lodge on the outskirts of East London. The lodge is situated on the beach and we will wake up to incredible views of the Sardine Run in action.

Catering

As you will be traveling in the winter, local food will consist of plenty of hot healthy organic food supplied by Santa Paloma. On the boat, we will have light lunches and lots of snacks to get us through the long hours at sea.

Eligibility

This tour is for people who have experience on the ocean, or have a good level of fitness. On most days we will spend between 6 and 8 hours on the sea. This can be draining and demanding on your body. Whilst SCUBA diving qualifications are not essential, a giant stable bait ball is best viewed from SCUBA.

Tutoring

Although you do not have to be a photographer to join me….photographers of all levels love doing this trip with me as they receive one-to-one instruction on an informal basis and find that helpful. If you aren’t into underwater images then here is plenty of incredible topside action to capture. For photographers who aren’t experienced in underwater photography, I suggest sticking to filming with a GoPro or similar as the sardine run is not an ideal place to start learning about dSLR  photography.

Trips & Training

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Challenge yourself to take on the greatest marine migration in the world. South Africa’s annual Sardine Run

Snow Leopards of India A wildlife and cultural adventure of a lifetime

Travel with environmental photojournalist, Fiona Ayerst deep into the Ladakh region of India on a tutored photographic expedition to document the elusive snow leopard.

 

The capital Leh sits at a very high altitude and it is vital that we relax and get used to the thin air. While we do this we’ll be traveling around the Leh area and visiting some of the stunning cultural sites and monasteries or just chilling in the comfy hotel or around town. After this period of relaxation, the adventure begins and we will visit some of the most populated snow leopard areas in the world. There is a massive chance that you will see and photograph the wild snow leopards in their natural habitat. You will also have the opportunity to see tibetan wolves, ibex, urial, golden eagles, lammergeyer, pica, snow owls and many more fascinating species.

Includes / Excludes

INCLUDES: Snow leopard expeditions, local guide, photographic tutor/guide, accommodation, meals, local travel

EXCLUDES: Photographic equipment, flights, travel insurance

OPTIONAL ADDONS:  6-day Holi festival at $1700 (share), $2000 (single)

Quick Info

DATES: 14-days in February annually

GUIDE & TUTOR: Fiona Ayerst

LOCATION: Ladakh, India

COST: $4275 sharing, $4745 single

MAX GUESTS: Nine

Local Guides

You will be led by Jigmet Dadul or one of his guides. They are from the snow leopard conservation India trust. Jigmet and his team are the most respected leopard spotters in the area. They will also have the assistance of  locally trained guides and scouts using high power spotting scopes.

Accommodation

There will be a combination of camping and traditional homestays high up in the Himalaya mountains.  Camping – Shared or single tents are available with a comfortable mattress, pillow, sleeping bag, blanket & a much needed hot water bottle for the evening. The main dining tent will be equipped with a gas heater. Homestay – The houses have wood fire heating in the main kitchen/living room. The guest rooms consist of beds or futon style mattresses with plenty of warm quilts & blankets. Homestay hosts have been trained in accommodating travelers and are members of a community conservation effort to conserve the endangered snow leopards. In Leh, before we leave for the valley,  you will receive 2 nights in a heated luxury guest house- before moving to the Ulley valley or Stok and on your return you will receive a further night in the same or a similar quality guest house.

Catering

As you will be travelling in the winter local food will consist of plenty of hot healthy food such as organic rice, vegetables and meat.  The Ladakhians know how to cater and eat well and there is no shortage of food and hot drinks to keep you warm and full of energy.Bring healthy snacks if you feel you will need to supplement this diet.

Tutoring

This trip is for photographers of all levels and you will receive one-to-one instruction on an informal basis from Fiona Ayerst about how to photograph the snow leopard, wildlife and culture of India. It is suggested you borrow or buy a scope too as it is much easier to use than binoculars, for spotting the cats.

Eligibility

This photo tour is not for you if you aren’t able to walk comfortably.  Our special itinerary takes you off the beaten path to the best locations for photographing the elusive cat.  You will be hiking and climbing at altitudes of up to 4000 m so you will need to be reasonably fit.  (I highly recommend 30 minutes of aerobic exercise every day at least 3 months prior to the tour date and for longer if possible).

Addon: Holi festival, Agra, New Delhi experience

Agra is home to the Taj Mahal is and is an interesting train ride from New Delhi. For those joining me on this leg there are also some great bustling markets scenes (and shopping) to be found in New Delhi. We will be dividing our time up between New Delhi and Agra. Holi or ‘Phagwah’ is the most colourful festival celebrated by the Hindus. It is celebrated as harvest festival as well as welcome-festival for the spring season in India. People smear coloured powder called ‘gulal’ or coloured water on each other and rejoice…This is a sight a photographer cannot afford to miss. It’s a riot of colour.

More Trips & Training

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Explore the alpines area of India in search of the elusive snow leopard

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