Susan Bird@susan_bird_

We protect what we love... may my images inspire profound love and appreciation for our oceans and their inhabitants.

http://wayofthewhale.com/

It sometimes seems as though life in the day of a dolphin is idyllic, especially when they engage in playful activities like the ‘leaf game’. I then remember that we are privy to only a fraction of their complex daily lives which include exposure to unimaginable dangers as they forage at night for food in the deep open ocean. What remarkable and beautiful beings! #wayofthewhale #underwaterphotography #conservation @adventurequestx13 @_aquaticadventures #cetaceans #ocean


2

On World Oceans Day I have been reflecting on the marine mammals who have touched my heart deeply and lastingly, leaving an impression on my soul. While it’s always incredible to be in the water with the cetaceans, every once in awhile an individual will connect in a different way, showing a profound level of awareness, curiosity, and generosity of spirit. This fin whale hooked me in that way, and simply looking at this image re-creates a feeling of warmth and openness within my heart. It inspires me to continue being an advocate for the protection and welfare of our oceans. The focus of Oceans Day this year is to ‘prevent plastic pollution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean’. Please let’s all consider our actions in support of this goal today and every day. The image was taken under Azores governmental permit n.0 02-ORAC-2018
With @_tomconlin @cristinamittermeier @sea_legacy @paulnicklen @adventurequestx13 #wayofthewhale #underwaterphotography #conservation #whale #marinelife


1

When the blue whale appeared directly in front of us, time seemed to stop. We floated motionlessly watching its elongated body take forever to move out of our field of vision as the whale slid underneath. I held the camera still while the whale swam by but my eyes were not on the viewfinder, instead I was mesmerized by the eye of the whale as it passed below. The memory still takes my breath away. I find it inconceivable that blue whales were almost hunted to extinction. Thankfully the IWC banned the hunting of these whales in 1966, allowing for their population to slowly recover. There are at least three distinctive subspecies of blue whales distributed in oceans all over the world. This whale is part of the north Atlantic stock B. M. Musculus, who can be seen in the Azores in spring and up in Iceland in July and August. Filmed under Azores governmental permit n.0 02-ORAC-2018 Issued on Feb 22, 2018. @_tomconlin @adventurequestx13 @sea_legacy @paulnicklen @cristinamittermeier #wayofthewhale #underwaterphotography #conservation #whale


6

Yin and Yang. To me this image represents a sense of perfect harmony as male and female humpback whales engage in a fluid, synchronized dance amid sunbeams. I’m reminded that harmony is not a static event but instead involves movement, blending equal elements of ebb and flow. The memory of this blessed encounter still takes my breath away. @_aquaticadventures @_tomconlin #wayofthewhale #ocean #underwaterphotography #conservation #harmony #yinyang


0

Inquisitive, intelligent, and fun loving, short-beaked common dolphins are seen year round in the Azores. They are often found riding the bows of boats or in the company of large whales. This gregarious dolphin helped to signal the arrival of a surfacing fin whale who can barely be seen as a faint white blur to the right of the dolphin. Filmed under Azores governmental permit n.0 02-ORAC-2018 issued on Feb 22, 2018. @_tomconlin @adventurequestx13 @sea_legacy @cristinamittermeier @paulnicklen #wayofthewhale #ocean #underwaterphotography #dolphins


0

A delightful moment with a blue whale as our team awaits the right timing to enter the water to film the majestic cetacean for @sea_legacy. What makes this moment especially precious is Cristina’s animated response as the whale flukes. As ambassadors for the protection of our oceans, it is heartwarming to know that the founders of SeaLegacy are truly in love with the marine life who inhabit our oceans. @cristinamittermeier @sea_legacy @paulnicklen @_tomconlin @_aquaticadventures @adventurequestx13 #wayofthewhale #ocean #whales #oceanconservation


1

This iconic shot of free swimming dolphins is a sight I had always wanted to experience firsthand. I am still savoring the rush of positive emotions provoked by these incredible marine mammals. I am now even more inspired to do what I can to help protect the most valuable resource on our planet, our oceans. I’m thankful for sharing this experience with those who are doing just that, Paul Nicklen and Christina Mittermeier, co-founders of SeaLegacy. @cristinamittermeier @paulnicklen @sea_legacy @_aquatic adventures @_tomconlin #wayofthewhale #ocean #dolphins


2

Today we had the breathtaking opportunity to float in the open ocean as the largest animal on our planet swam in slow motion directly underneath us. There are no words to describe this profoundly mystical and humbling experience. I created this image while working in the Azores under governmental permit n.0 02-ORAC-2018 issued on Feb 22, 2018. @_tomconlin @_aquaticadventures @sea_legacy @cristinamittermeier @paulnicklen #wayofthewhale #underwaterphotography #whale #ocean


11

A majestic fin whale surfaces from the inky depth to meet two playful common dolphins. These and other dolphin species are genuinely excited to swim with large baleen whales. During this encounter they made it easy to track the location of the whale when it slid beneath the surface and out of our sight... we simply followed the dolphins! My image was taken n the Azores under governmental permit n.0 02-ORAC-2018 issued on Feb 22, 2018. @_aquaticadventures @_tomconlin @sea_legacy @paulnicklen @cristinamittermeier #wayofthewhale #underwaterphotography #whales #ocean @adventurequestx13


2

Long, sleek, and slender, fin whales are the second largest mammal on our planet. They are known as the ‘greyhounds of the sea’ for their incredible speed, which made the slow, graceful movement of this mother and calf so endearing to us. Sadly, fin whales are currently in danger as new legislation in Iceland threatens to reopen the option of hunting of these gentle baleen whales. This gorgeous pair was filmed in the Azores under governmental permit n.0 02-ORAC-2018 issued on Feb 22, 2018. #wayofthewhale @_aquaticadventures @adventurequestx13 @_tomconlin @sea_legacy @paulnicklen @cristinamittermeier #whale #underwaterphotography


5

Humpback mother and calf swim in perfect unison as they gently angle upward towards the surface. The calf stays close to the mother’s body in order to glide effortlessly in her slipstream. #whale #marinemammal #underwaterphotography #humpbackwhale #ocean #wayofthewhale #oceanconservation @_aquaticadventures


1

Late in the mating season a mother, calf, and escort glide among coral formations in sapphire blue water along the edge of the Silver Bank. Calm seas and clear skies allowed for us to venture into the open ocean just outside the bank to follow the trio. By now the humpback whales have likely started their long journey to the cold and nutrient-rich water of their feeding grounds in the North Atlantic. #marinemammal #underwaterphotography #humpbackwhale #ocean #whale #wayofthewhale @_aquaticadventures


1