Embarking on an adventure means setting off to discover new places, but also new faces. And new faces sometimes take the shape of a curious animal, with feathers or fur! Here are 10 incredible animals which you may encounter.
1. The King penguin
In South Georgia, an island in the southern Atlantic Ocean, King penguins live undisturbed. They occupy vast territories and colonies can reach 300,000 individuals. Watching baby penguins with their thick brown down will leave you speechless!
For a special encounter visit: South Georgia in the magnificent St Andrews Bay.
2. The Komodo dragon
Return to Prehistory with this incredible lizard species. As the largest lizards in the world, Komodo dragons are the uncontested masters of their ecosystem. Fascinating animals, they are treated with the greatest respect by the indigenous population who consider them to be their loved ones reincarnated.
For a special encounter visit: the island of Komodo in Indonesia.
3. The leopard seal
These seals with spotted fur know how to keep a low profile: they are dangerous and it’s better to observe them from a safe distance! Known as the “sea leopard”, what’s surprising about them is their speed and their entirely reptilian way of moving. Very curious by nature, they sometimes play with the Zodiac and give you a most amazing show.
For a special encounter visit: subantarctic islands for young leopard seals.
4. The polar bear
King of the Arctic? Here’s someone with a well-earned reputation: as an all-terrain hunter, a polar bear can feed itself as easily on sea ice as on land. They are omnivores endowed with striking skill which is mesmerising to witness: weighing more than half a tonne, they have lethal accuracy.
For a special encounter visit: Akpatok Island, in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, Spitzbergen (Norway) or Baffin Island (Nunavut, Canada).
5. The killer whale
If you see a black back, a white stomach and a white spot above the eye then: you’re undoubtedly witnessing the majestic jump of a killer whale. Gigantic marine mammals and yet, incredibly graceful, killer whales are above all vastly intelligent and social animals which spend the majority of their time in family groups. The killer whales’ ballet, in their natural habitat, is a spectacle of rare beauty.
For a special encounter visit: the coast of Kamchatka, in Russia, the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska or British Columbia.
6. The giant oceanic Manta ray
Now this is a marine animal which will make you feel tiny since the Manta ray’s wingspan can reach… 8 metres or 26 feet! But you have to keep a low profile to observe them: Manta rays are exceptionally fast, you can get close to them quite easily in their “cleaning station” where they perform majestic submarine ballets.
For a special encounter visit: the coast of the Indonesian Raja Ampat Islands Archipelago, the Maldives or the Sea of Cortez…
7. The albatross
They cover great distances without getting tired if the winds are favourable… Albatrosses truly are birds with a knack for moving in the air. From a Zodiac, you can happily observe these gigantic seabirds whose wingspans can reach 3.5 metres or 11 feet.
For a special encounter visit: the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago, between Argentina and Chile.
8. The grizzly bear
High-speed diggers, tree climbers, swimmers and impressively fast runners: grizzly bears are fascinating mammals with more than one string to their bow. Opportunistic eaters – while they might prefer salmon, they can live equally well off of berries.
For a special encounter visit: Katmai National Park in Alaska.
9. The humpback whale
With a length of some 15 metres or 50 feet and weighing around 30 tonnes, humpback whales are sociable – people even say they’re very cheerful! Curious, acrobatic and elegant, they sometimes come up to breathe a few metres from the Zodiac: an emotionally-charged experience.
For a special encounter visit: Wilhelmina Bay in Antarctica, where a pod of whales comes to “dance” around your boat.
10. The whale shark
Astonishing, they are the largest fish in the world in more ways than one. Their spotted skin distinguishes them from other sharks. They can reach 15 metres or 50 feet in length, but some larger specimens have been observed. Also, whale sharks pose absolutely no threat to humans. These sea giants move calmly through warm waters, eating up to one tonne of krill per day. A mask, snorkel and fins are all you need to see them: a magical moment.
For a special encounter visit: Australia West Coast, the Gulf of California, off the coast of Mexico, the Maldives and the Indian Ocean.
On land, in the seas or in the air, nature has plenty in store to amaze us time and again. An expedition to the other side of the world is a great opportunity to see these wild and fascinating animal species.