A Year of Celebrations & New Experiences
This year we have had the privilege and honour to lead our adventurous Wild Earth Explorers to some of the most unique and beautiful destinations around the world. We have shared in many life-changing experiences, incredible memories and celebrated some momentous occasions together including the good fortune to be asked to shape several successful private group expeditions.
Travel this year has rewarded us with some experiences that have touched us profoundly, like seeing the sleek figure of the Pelagic Thresher sharks silently patrolling the reef top, the thrill of slipping in front of the large shape of a whale shark gliding towards us, gazing at the wet tinny tiny bodies and disproportionate sized eyes of the adorable Tarsiers in the Philippines. Sailing through the ridiculously beautiful islands across the many hues of aqua blue and rolling into the crystal-clear waters of Palau to be surrounded by schooling barracuda, spawning Bump-headed parrotfish, patrolling Grey reef sharks, our friendly escort 'Al' the Maori wrasse and adventurous night snorkels with tumbling Manta rays. Lisa, Natalia and Andreas celebrated their 40th birthday island-style on a paradisiacal Rock Island in Palau. Lisa has been a part of the team for over 2 years now and many of you have got to know her personally. She is an absolute gem, a great friend and integral part of our Wild Earth team.
Northern Borneo was a treasure-trove of exotic wildlife, where we explored some of the last remaining pristine rainforests filled with hornbills, Gibbons, Civets, slow Loris, tarsiers, Red-leaf monkeys, colourful snakes, insects and frogs. Cruising along rivers in dense rainforest, we encountered playful Proboscis monkeys and were fortunate to feed rescued young Bornean pygmy elephants and Sun bears. An absolute highlight was watching a wild Orang Utan mum with her small baby feed in a fruiting tree, while walking 30m up on a tree-top canopy bridge. It was a true pleasure diving in crystal-clear water with schooling hammerheads, batfish, large bump-headed parrotfish and seeing reef sharks patrolling through huge swirling schools of jacks. We felt privileged to witness a clutch of baby turtles hatch and race down the beach and out into the ocean. The intimate encounters and wildlife experiences we shared were exceptional and JD’s talks and enthusiasm for nature addictive. It was a privilege to see first-hand the hard work of the many grass-root conservation projects we support, that are helping save these wildlife-rich biodiversity hotspots for future generations.
September saw us return to Papua New Guinea for the first time in many years for an exhilarating cultural and marine rich adventure. Papua New Guinea is a country where you feel like you’re thrown back in time. It is raw, genuine and breathtakingly beautiful. Our senses were overwhelmed with tribal culture at the Goroka Sing-sing festival, where over 100 tribes from all over the country gather to showcase their cultural diversity with rhythmic dances, decorated faces and adorned in traditional headdresses. We watched the spectacular mating dance of the Birds of paradise, climbed smoking volcanos and snorkelled and dived for countless hours on stunning and vibrant coral reefs. We ventured by boat to remote tribes along the Sepik tributaries including the scarified Alligator people and were dazzled by the Huli Wigmen’s mesmerizing dance. Suzanne’s endless fun-loving energy and incredible knowledge of this wild place and its people was invaluable. The beauty and richness of this country, from the Sepik to the highlands, to the outer islands, has proved so enticing that we will be back in 2022.
It was bliss finishing up our year of travel in one of our all-time favourite destinations. We spent a total of nine weeks traveling throughout Indonesia, running 2 exceptional back to back expeditions plus some scouting for potential new destinations and resorts with our family. We took to the air with our drone capturing stunning footage of the places we visited and some of the celebrations we held.
Sailing through the remote corners of Indonesia on privately chartered yachts is one of the best ways to experience the diversity within the heart of the Coral Triangle. We trekked through arid landscapes to see Komodo dragons, assisted with Manta ID and conservation projects, jumped in with a huge pod of Melon-headed whales, Risso’s dolphins and Sailfish. Our Explorers snorkelled and dived with Oceanic and Reef mantas, watched in awe as thousands of fruit bats filled the sunset sky, were spoilt with heavenly massages, feasted on delicious local cuisine, enjoyed morning yoga and cooking classes. Indonesia offered bustling market visits, strolls through rice terraces, elaborate temples and cultural performances. We had the privilege of hosting a double-wedding, celebrating a wedding anniversary and some special birthdays. We explored the marine wonderland around Raja Ampat, Komodo, Ambon, Ceram, Misool and the Banda islands and were afforded intimate and incredible marine encounters from the smallest of small, the weird and wonderful and the sublimely beautiful. Robin treated our Wild Earth Explorers to her unique and exceptional marine talks and lectures, giving great insight into the magical underwater world we have experienced throughout the year. Her ability to include and care for our Explorers is heart-warming and hugely appreciated by all.
Five special Wild Earth Explorers celebrated their 10th-trip anniversary with us in 2018. It is heart-warming and extremely gratifying to reflect on the many friendships and bonds that we have created over the years and to see the delight and emotion of our Explorers when they recall their unforgettable memories on our expeditions. It inspires and motivates us, as we continue to strive and create new and exciting adventures.
Our dream is to create intimate and personal encounters into the natural world, giving our Explorers unrivalled service and life-changing experiences. With our Wild Earth Family growing, we are proud to be able to share the beauty of our planet with a list of new destinations to be announced soon for 2020 and 2021 including; Norway & Svalbard, Seychelles, Ethiopia, Socorro, Chuuk as well as some old favourites like Indonesia, Fiji & Tonga, Philippines and Palau. In 2019 Wild Earth Expeditions will be 10 years old and what better way to celebrate than an expedition with Thomas and Natalia to Australia, swimming with Minke whales, exploring rainforests, the Aussie outback and getting close to the many iconic endemic animals.
As the year comes to a close, we continue to be humbled by the fact that we get to share our love and passion for the natural world with amazing people from all over the globe. We will always be extremely grateful for the opportunity to do this and the support and friendships this has given us. We look forward to sharing more exciting adventures with you in 2019 and thank you for your continued support and loyalty.
We wishes you a great New Year, good health, success, fun adventures and happiness in the New Year.
Your Wild Earth Team,
Thomas and Natalia
WILD EARTH EXPEDITIONS
Our Wild Earth Explorers’ venture to wild and remote corners of the world entrusting their safety, their travel plans and their experiences to us and we are delighted to hear how much our efforts influence successful, life changing, enriched experiences each time they travel with us. We hold ourselves to a high standard and believe we offer the ultimate travel experience.