Dolphins and turtles and whales, oh my!

by Jonna Heinonen
(Turku, Finland)

Common dolphin

Common dolphin

Common dolphin Sperm whale Newest part to Faial island Spotted dolphin

In the credits of a National Geographic documentary they mentioned whale watch Azores. Exactly 30 seconds later I had found the web site and was pleased to read that the cost of my whale watch holiday supports the valuable research of Sperm whales and Bottle nose dolphins, and that during the trip I would actually be in the presence of an actual marine biologist who can answer all my questions.

So exactly 3 weeks later I was on my way to little island called Faial belonging to the Azores, an archipelago located about 900km from the coast of Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic. Beautiful island really but I had 5 whole days to spend there and of the 5 I ended up spending 6 at sea, really did have to rush to the airport on the last day barely got out of my life jacket before I was in the plane but it was worth it.

There wasn’t a day without a marine mammal sighting. There were days when I almost didn’t have time to bite in to my lunch sandwich because I had to hurry to the deck again to see yet another Sperm whale, Bottlenose dolphin, Common dolphin, Spotted dolphin, Risso’s dolphin, Pilot whale, turtle and shark.

Even I travelled alone I did not once feel lonely as I boarded the boat every day with six other whale enthusiast and after the day at sea and a quick shower we all had dinner together reliving the breaches, jumps, jokes and happenings of the day. All in all a wonderful trip, great ocean, fascinating wildlife, likeminded people and a one very happy camper!

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Big Buddha in Hong Kong China

by Eric P
(Tampa FL USA)

Big Buddha in Hong Kong China

Big Buddha in Hong Kong China

Big Buddha in Hong Kong China

This is couple of shots from the Tian Tan Buddha, also known as the Big Buddha. It is a large bronze statue of a Buddha, completed in 1993, and located at Ngong Ping, Lantau Island, in Hong Kong. The statue is located near Po Lin Monastery and symbolises the harmonious relationship between man and nature, people and religion. To say this Buddha is huge is an understatment. It is almost overwhelming. Its is very beautiful and peacful despite its great size.

During our time there we saw several monks praying and chanting around the base. Many people dont know this but you can go inside and see a large crystal hanging inside where the heart of the Buddha would be. This is a magical and wonderful place to visit.

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