A new photography workshop series entitled Above & Below has been released in Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. The workshop series pairs award winning underwater photographer, Jay Clue, and Sony Alpha ambassador, Stan Moniz. Unlike most destination photo workshops, the Above & Below photo workshop series combines underwater photography with aerial, landscape, and astrophotography giving guests a much wider range of tools to add to their repertoire. But not only that, the logistics for the workshops are being run by one of the top names in dive travel, the Los Cabos based Baja experts — Dive Ninja Expeditions.
Mexico’s Baja California peninsula has quickly become known to have some of the best big animal encounters in the world. Throughout the year this narrow strip of land plays host to mantas, whales, over 12 species of sharks, jaw dropping mobula ray aggregations, heart pounding striped marlin & bait ball action, playful sea lion pups, gigantic schools of jacks, and so much more. The beautiful desert mountain landscapes which backdrop these abundant waters combined with some of the darkest night skies on earth create a plethora of unique opportunities for photographers of all experience levels.
In a recent interview, Jay Clue commented:
“It’s such a special project. Each workshop in the series has been hand tailored by Stan and myself to find the perfect subjects and spots to shoot for each location at that specific time of year. There’s mobula rays and the milky way, whale sharks and Orion rising, and so many others in the works.”
The 6 day photography workshops combine hands on tutoring with classroom presentations & post processing sessions to help those looking to learn new photography techniques or fine tune their skills. Throughout the trip Stan and Jay will be helping you learn underwater photography, astrophotography, and landscape photography as well as sessions on topside wildlife photography, aerial/drone photography, and editing techniques with apps such as Adobe Lightroom. The workshops are customized to meet each students unique experience level so that photographers of any level can join – even those just picking up a camera for the first time. Additionally each workshop is limited to a maximum of only 6 guests to provide the best opportunities for hands on training.
The first Baja photography workshop in the series kicks off with Mobula Rays & Dark Skies on May 28, 2022 to coincide with the New Moon and galactic core of the Milky Way being visible almost all evening. Plus the trip takes place during the peak of Baja’s annual mobula ray aggregations – which can see schools of the rays number in the thousands. Stan and Jay have teamed up with their partners at Viking International Phototours to put this extra special workshop together. Throughout the trip you’ll spend time on the ocean freediving and snorkeling with the mobula rays, as well as visiting a cactus forest, artisanal salt mine flats, an old lighthouse and more.
The next segment in the series takes place in beautiful La Paz, Mexico from November 17-22, 2022. This special La Paz Above & Below photography workshop takes guests swimming with whale sharks, getting in the water at a massive sea lion rookery with tons of curious pups, as well as to one of La Paz’s most beautiful reefs. For topside they have something very special planned – shooting sunset and astrophotography from Espiritu Santo Island National Park! For those that don’t know, this is incredibly special as it requires special permits to be on the island after sunset. Plus with it’s location so far away from the city there is zero light pollution. Throughout the trip they’ll also be visiting some of La Paz’s beautiful landscapes & bays. And if that wasn’t enough, Jay will be hosting a special underwater portrait photography workshop too!
Tickets for the first 2 photography workshops are now on sale on the Dive Ninja Expeditions website. To learn more about the workshops or book your spot, visit the Above & Below Photography Workshops webpage.
Header Photo: Jay Clue
Discover the Best of Belize with Dive Worldwide
This June marks the 25th anniversary of the Belize Barrier Reef becoming a World Heritage Site! To celebrate, Dive Worldwide have rounded up their top trips to Belize which includes a resort-based stay, a liveaboard special and a twin-centre with neighbouring Guatemala – perfect for soaking up some culture.
Reefs, Atolls & Mayan Ruins
The only English speaking country in Central America, Belize is warm, welcoming and offers unbelievable adventures. This gem has plenty for divers from incredible nature and topside activities to magical diving opportunities. Belize has the second longest barrier reef in the world and three of the four atolls in the western hemisphere making it a popular choice for divers.
If you missed the Dive Worldwide Belize talk in January you can catch up here.
Spend a week diving the remarkable barrier reef from Ambergris Caye before enjoying a few nights exploring the jungle with its Mayan ruins and caves.
Underwater there’s plenty on offer, with canyons, drop offs and swim throughs in addition to a unique topography and relatively easy conditions. You’ll be accompanied by a kaleidoscope of reef fish as you marvel at the array of sea fans and sponges adorning the seabed. Highlights include nurse shark, stingray, grouper, angelfish, turtle and dolphin.
You then head off-the-beaten-track in land where you stay at an eco lodge in the heart of the Belizean jungle. Here there are a multitude of activities on offer including hiking and cave tours or you can immerse yourself in Mayan culture and visit a number of nearby ruins for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Duration: 13 days
Price from: £2,945 per person
Dive the Lighthouse and Turneffe Atolls from a liveaboard and experience the very best diving Belize has to offer. Located in the Lighthouse Reef there will be the opportunity to dive the Great Blue Hole. This atoll is full of marine life with angelfish, Creole wrasse, butterflyfish, barracuda and sponges found here.
Turneffe is the largest of the three atolls and offers a mixture of shallow reefs and sheer walls with a variety of reef fish and beautiful underwater scenery. Turtle, eagle ray, reef shark, snapper and jacks live on the healthy reefs. Dive sites of note include Half Moon Caye – another UNESCO World Heritage Site – and Painted Wall where you can find macro subjects such as ghostfish, crabs, blennies and invertebrates.
Duration: 10 days
Price from: £3,475 per person
Begin your holiday with some topside cultural discovery in Guatemala. This country packs a punch with its colonial architecture, Mayan ruins nestled in the verdant green jungle and stunning vistas. Don’t miss a visit to Lake Atilan, widely renowned for being one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its volcanoes, thermal springs and incredible sunrises.
After a few days in Guatemala it’s time to go diving in Belize! Explore the barrier reef and spend time diving the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Blue Hole – the largest of its kind in the world and one of the top reasons to visit Belize. Here the waters are crystal clear, the topography is impressive with large coral and rock formations and the marine life is prolific with reef and black-tip shark in addition to large grouper.
Duration: 14 days
Price from: £3,495 per person
If you want to experience the world class diving and topside highlights of spectacular Belize, contact the Dive Worldwide Team.
All prices are per person and include flights from the UK, liveaboard or accommodation, diving, most meals and airport transfers.
Save $700 on new Cocos Island Aggressor
On January 13, 2023, the all-new, 124-foot Cocos Island Aggressor will cruise from Puntarenas, Costa Rica to Cocos Island, a remote, uninhabited Pacific island whose waters are world-renowned for schooling hammerhead sharks, manta rays and whale sharks. The 22-passenger, four-level luxury dive yacht was designed from the keel up with passengers’ comfort, safety and indulgences in mind.
Guests can take advantage of this great value introductory special:
- Booking Dates: March 28 – April 30, 2022
- Travel Dates: January 14 – May 30, 2023
- Savings: $700
*Applies to new individual and group reservations, money saving specials and other discounts do not apply, special is not retroactive.
Onboard amenities on Cocos Island Aggressor include a sun deck with hot tub, two guests’ lounges, restaurant with chef-prepared meals, spacious dive deck and a computer station for editing underwater photos and videos. Eleven, spacious staterooms feature private baths and individual climate controls. Throughout the ten-night adventure, guests receive five-star service from eight professional, experienced staff members, many of whom have been with Okeanos Aggressor I & II® for decades.
Cocos Islands adventures include an average of 21 thrilling dives in the nutrient rich waters surrounding the lush island. Swift currents and underwater sea mounts attract massive fish schools, giant marble rays, tuna, white tip sharks, Galapagos sharks, and hammerhead sharks. When conditions allow, the staff shuttles guests to the island for hiking and swimming in the pools of Cocos’ many majestic waterfalls. After the charter’s final dive, the Cocos Island Aggressor is escorted by dolphin and false killer whales for the 342-mile voyage back to Puntarenas. Guests may continue their adventure in Costa Rica with optional rainforest tours, white-water rafting or surfing.
“The Cocos Island Aggressor raises the bar of liveaboard accommodations. We are thrilled to offer dive adventures to Cocos aboard this extraordinary new yacht,” says Aggressor Adventures Chairman & CEO Wayne Brown. “Cocos has been an Aggressor Adventures destination since 1988, and many of our clients have experienced the adrenaline rush of diving here. Today, we invite new and returning guests alike to enjoy more exciting adventures with us in Cocos aboard the luxurious new Cocos Island Aggressor.”
Cocos Island National Park was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1997.
Cocos Island Aggressor diving, airline and mainland tour reservations can be made online at www.aggressor.com, or by calling 800-348-2628 or +1-706-993-2531.