Sunday, December 23, 2018

Orcas of Peninsula Valdes (HD)

Video courtesy of Cheesemans' Ecology Safaris

I'm currently preparing lecture presentations for Holland America's South American Passage on board the Zaandam, beginning February 21st from Buenos Aires to San Antonio.  We're looking forward to witnessing the amazing scenery and wildlife in this region.  One of the highlights is wildlife-rich Peninsula Valdes near Puerto Madryn, Argentina.  The dramatic video, courtesy of Cheesemans', shows the spectacular hunting method of Orcas intentionally charging onto the beach to catch young Southern Sea Lions and Southern Elephant Seals.

Península Valdés is a World Heritage site of global significance for the conservation of marine mammals. It is home to an important breeding population of the endangered southern right whale as well as important breeding populations of southern elephant seals and southern sea lions.

Hope to see you on board!!
Cheers, George

Sunday, November 25, 2018

Amazing Views in Western Australia

Abundant with nectar, banksias play a vital role in the Australian bush
We enjoyed some amazing views during our recent visit to Western Australia in Oct/November.  Explore some of my 360 photos with your mouse and view a short video clip of my climb up a giant Karri tree.

Look Up!!....WAAAY Up!!  This is one of the giant old growth Karri trees in Western Australia.

Here's a short video showing my climb into the top of one of these giants.

As you can see, I had the fun and privilege of climbing the Dave Evans Bicentennial Tree, one of the remaining old growth Karri trees.

The karri tree, which grows in the forests of South-West Western Australia, is the third tallest tree in Australia and one of the tallest species in the world, reaching heights of ninety metres.

Here's a wonderful video exploring the world of the Karri trees posted by Australian Geographic.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Kodiak Bear - short video

Kodiak Bear roughly 3 yrs old fishing for Salmon
We had a great outing on Kodiak Island with Ranger Kiel in October while lecturing on board the Westerdam.  A big thank you to all the wonderful guests who attended my presentations and gave us such positive support!  Here's the short video clip that I presented during one of my talks. 
Happy travels!!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Brown Bears Fishing for Salmon - Katmai NP

Brown Bears hunting for Sockeye Salmon, Brooks Falls
I'm busy researching material for my upcoming lecture series on board the Westerdam - Vancouver to Yokoham, beginning September 30th.  One of my favourite websites is, particularly when I'm preparing for Alaska. features live wildlife cameras all around the world.  One of the locations with excellent coverage is Brooks Falls in Katmai National Park, Alaska.  This time of year (July/August/September) you can watch live footage of the Brown bears capturing and feeding on sockeye salmon.  There are some amazing scenes of giant bears standing at the top of the falls grabbing salmon as they come sailing through the air, scaling the falls on their way up river to the spawning grounds.  The photo above is my screen capture of a live video and it provides some idea of the number of bears that can be found feeding at this highly productive location.

Click on this link to see the Brown Bears hunting salmon.  I find it amazing and wonderful that we can be sitting in our living rooms at home while watching the bears in action - just as if we were standing on the Brooks Falls bear viewing platform! also features amazing videos of African wildlife and I will be monitoring those cameras as we come closer to one of our upcoming cruise adventures next April/May.  I will be presenting a series of lectures on board the Viking Sun as one of the featured guest speakers for the Viking 2018 World Cruise.  My segment will take me from Durban, South Africa to London, England.

Happy wildlife viewing!!

Screenshot from African Animal camera by

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Transpacific Vancouver to Yokohama on board Westerdam

In late September I will be joining Holland America's cruise ship Westerdam to present a series of 10 lectures as we cross the Pacific Ocean from Vancouver to Yokohama (Sept 31 - Oct 15). 

On most cruises I like to present short video clips that I produce using Google Earth to highlight each specific itinerary.  Here's one that I've produced for the Westerdam cruise:

My lectures will highlight some of the fascinating creatures and shifting ecosystems as these northern waters and the Arctic, in particular, experience rapid warming with climate change.  My topics include:

Undersea Societies of the Pacific Northwest
Meet the Masterminds of the Pacific Ocean!
Alaskan Ecosystems: Adapting to a New Planet
Who Owns the Arctic Ocean, Northwest Passage and the Fish Below?
Japanese Jellies are a Stinging Success!
Hokkaido and the Kuroshio Current
Japan: Life on an Unstable Island
Perhaps you will be joining Jan and I!? If so, we look forward to renewing past acquaintances!  And, of course, we have the joy of making new friends!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Celebrating 25 million views of my Photos

I'm a huge fan of 360' photos and have posted over 1,000 of them on Google Maps...taken in various locations around the world.  Turns out I'm not the only one who enjoys taking 360s for a spin!!  My Google Map photos have received over 25 million views, so I'm taking a moment to celebrate.  Try spinning these to take a look around.

My most popular photo is the one above with over 3 million views.  This was taken in Auckland, New Zealand in the Winter Garden at the Auckland Domain.  Here's a close-up satellite view of this location.

Here are my next two, most popular 360' photos:

Houses of Parliament, Cape Town, South Africa, with over 1.3 million views.

Central Plaza del Socorro, Ronda, Andalusia, Spain - see the excellent RondaToday website for a detailed explanation of the historic significance of this site.  The statue in the fountain is Hercules holding two lions, with the pillars of Hercules behind him.  You can zoom in closer with your mouse (lucky he's wearing a strategic piece of loincloth!!)

Here's a link to my full set of photos as they appear on Google Maps.  Happy Travels!!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Seabourn Sojourn - Japan & Alaska to Vancouver

Night Lights in the busy Dotonbori section of Osaka Japan
Dear Friends - A big thank you to the friendly passengers and crew of the Seabourn Sojourn for a wonderful transpacific voyage from Kobe Japan to Vancouver BC.  In my lecture series I explored topics ranging from the dynamic Pacific ring of fire - to amazing creatures of the deep ocean - and complex communications of whales.

I presented a few of the videos that I captured during the voyage, including a series of time lapse videos of some of our ports of call.  Here's one showing Kobe, Hakodate and Kushiro ports in Japan.

In Kodiak Alaska we had the opportunity to watch the Russian Orthodox priest bless the fleet.  I captured this video from the opposite side of the channel with a long zoom.

As part of the itinerary, we had a wonderful morning visit to the Hubbard Glacier and along the way had a good view of a grizzly bear walking along the shore.

In Juneau Alaska we took the popular trail to Nugget falls from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center.  Here's a quick video:

Wishing you all the best and here's hoping we meet again on another fantastic voyage.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Here's a short 360 Video of our Mokoro safari in the Okavango Delta.  Don't forget to spin it around with your mouse for a full 360 view!

Saturday, April 21, 2018

African Post Card with Thanks to guests on the 2018 Grand World Cruise

Thank you to the many great friends we met on our segment of the Holland American Grand World cruise, from Cape Town to Dakar Senegal.

Jan and I truly appreciate your wonderful support and attendance during my lecture series on board the ms Amsterdam.

Wishing you happy travels in the future... and the sincere hope that we meet again on a future cruise!

Best wishes from George & Jan

PS: Please feel free to download the zebra postcard above by right-clicking and saving to your device.  And check out my other postcards on the "Postcards" title along the top of this page. 

Okavango Walk in 360 Video

I'm also experimenting with 360 video!  Check out our recent walk in the Okavango with our very knowledgeable and experienced guide, Scar.
Hope this gives you some idea of the amazing beauty of the African landscape with that special lighting just before sunset.

Cape Town 360 Photo

My 360 photo taken in Cape Town, South Africa, is proving very popular with over 100,000 views in a couple of weeks.  Take it for a spin by moving your cursor around on the image!!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Okavango Delta by Mokoro

Just boarding the ms Amsterdam to present a series of lectures for the Holland America Grand World Cruise - our segment is from Cape Town to Dakar, Senegal.

We recently spent 6 days in the Okavango Delta - much of the time cruising the quiet channels by Mokoro canoe.  Check out my short video.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Dunes of the Namib Sand Sea - one of the most spectacular features on our planet

On our up coming segment of Holland America's world cruise in April, we will be stopping at Walvis Bay, Namibia.  The photo above was taken by an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) used a long lens.  Astronauts consider this one of the most spectacular features of the planet.

Here's a short 2 min video fly-over of the Sand Sea and nearby Walvis Bay that I've prepared using Google Earth Pro.  The dunes can be immense... 300 m high x 32 km long (980' high X 20 mi long)... starkly beautiful and other-worldly in appearance!  The dunes extend right into the sea, south of Walvis Bay.  This town of approx 60,000 is about the only natural deep water port for large cruise ships along the coast of Namibia.

The Namib Sand Sea is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Copyright: © Paul van Schalkwyk
Permanent URL:
Photo by Luca Galuzzi CC BY-SA 2.5
Here's the location of the Dunes of the Sand Sea in Google Maps:

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Upcoming Cruise along the West Coast of Africa

In April we will be joining Holland America's world cruise on board the ms Amsterdam.  I've prepared a short google earth fly-over as an intro to Cape Town where we join the ship.  We will be disembarking in Dakar, Senegal.

On our last visit to Cape Town, we drove to see the African Penguin colony at Boulders Beach.  They nest among the Granite boulders and the South African Parks Service has made it very easy to see them up close, so it is a fascinating wildlife experience.  Unfortunately the penguins are in trouble.

See the interesting article in the NY Times on efforts to save the species:

To Save African Penguins, Humans Set Up a Dating Service

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Best Biology books of 2017

Here's an excellent list if you're like me and always on the look out for the latest science books.  Grrrlscientist does a wonderful job of summarizing the contents.

I also enjoy her blog updates at
Expecto patronum

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Blood Falls!! REALLY!!

It does exist... but where...???

Here's one of those stories that I just have to share.  The story of Blood Falls and the creatures that live there... it is almost beyond belief.  Microbes that "breath" iron and metabolize sulfates... an ecosystem we've never observed anywhere else on earth.

Blood Falls!!  Found at the foot of the Taylor Glacier in Antarctica.
77°43'14.5"S 162°15'28.9"E
-77.720683, 162.258037

 Check out the location on Google Maps

Here's a short excerpt from the Wikipedia entry:

Blood Falls is an outflow of an iron oxide-tainted plume of saltwater, flowing from the tongue of Taylor Glacier onto the ice-covered surface of West Lake Bonney in the Taylor Valley of the McMurdo Dry Valleys in Victoria Land, East Antarctica.
Iron-rich hypersaline water sporadically emerges from small fissures in the ice cascades. The saltwater source is a subglacial pool of unknown size overlain by about 400 metres (1,300 ft) of ice several kilometers from its tiny outlet at Blood Falls.
The reddish deposit was found in 1911 by the Australian geologist Griffith Taylor, who first explored the valley that bears his name.[1] The Antarctica pioneers first attributed the red color to red algae, but later it was proven to be due to iron oxides.

Chemical and microbial analyses both indicate that a rare subglacial ecosystem of autotrophic bacteria developed that metabolizes sulfate and ferric ions.[3][4] According to geomicrobiologist Jill Mikucki at the University of Tennessee, water samples from Blood Falls contained at least 17 different types of microbes, and almost no oxygen.[3] An explanation may be that the microbes use sulfate as a catalyst to respire with ferric ions and metabolize the trace levels of organic matter trapped with them. Such a metabolic process had never before been observed in nature. recently published a good article: