Entries Tagged ‘Madagascar Photo Tour’:

Wildlife Photo Tours 2013

Filed in Events, Workshops on Nov.21, 2012

With another year almost over this brings my 2012 photo tour programme to a close. What a year it has been, from the beaches of Norfolk to the heat of the Indian forests of Ranthambhore in search of the majestic Bengal Tigers and the amazing and unique island of Madagascar and its famous Lemurs, to breaching Humpback Whales in the Indian Ocean. Thank you to all of my valued guests for your custom and company and I hope you’ve had a wonderful time on my trips as well as learning more than you knew at the start of your adventure.

My 2013 tours are filling fast, with new destinations added along with my popular and favourite destinations.  The emphasis of my tours is to maximize wildlife watching and photography options for everyone while at the same time enjoying and learning more about the habitat and the wildlife that coexists alongside our target species.

I’d be delighted if you’d join me next year or in the future to witness the amazing wildlife my trips offer, while learning more about the subject and photography. The locations chosen for all of my tours offer unrivalled photographic opportunities. The pace of each trip is such that there is ample time to indulge in all that is on offer and maximise the photographic potential of each location.

Here you can read just a few of the reasons why lots of other photographers have chosen to join me.

In February 2013 I will start the year with my amazing trip to the Falklands which is now fully booked.  For details of my 2014 trip please click here for more information.

In April you can catch the season moving from winter into spring and see the wildlife of the Norfolk coast come alive on my Early Spring in Norfolk trip with 2 places remaining. Click here for more information and booking form.

Then in the middle of April I travel to the wonderful Dutch island of Texel for my Texel photo tour run alongside friend and fellow wildlife photographer Jeroen Stel who lives in Holland. It’s a haven and paradise for thousands of waders and waterfowl during the spring/summer months where they choose this picturesque island to play out their courtship routines and breed, feeding their young all quite close to you, presenting some of the best opportunities to photograph Avocets, Spoonbills, Caspian, Black Terns, Oystercatchers, Kentish Plovers, and many more waders. Click here to see this photo tour.

Then I round April off and follow through to May with my second trip and head to Ranthambhore for my Tigers of India tour. The Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve is the single largest expanse of dry-deciduous forest left intact in India. It is one of the best places in India to see these amazing animals in the wild. My first trip is fully booked and I have a couple of places left on my second trip. For details please click here. If you would like to buy one of my limited edition Tiger prints that help a charity I support then please click here to be taken to 21 Century Tigers website.

The month of June finds me travelling north to two amazing places for wildlife. Firstly my ever popular trip to the Isle of Mull which lies on the west coast of Scotland. It has a breathtaking coastline of 300 miles and the climate is a mixture of rain and sunshine. The island is a wonderful place to see Golden Eagles, White-tailed Eagles, Otters, Porpoises and a whole host of Hebridean Wildlife. Come and join me as I take you around this beautiful island on this amazing 6 day/5 night trip. I still have places available so click on this link to see the details.

Later on in June I have a new photo tour-Stunning Shetland, where we will spend a whole week on this wildlife packed island. I will be working with my friend who lives on the island to deliver you some of the best animal and birdlife in the UK. I only have two places left so for more information please click here.

I start the month of July off with a brand new trip to the wild forest of Finland. You will get the opportunity to photograph wild Brown Bears, Wolves and the very unique Wolverine all from purpose built professional hides perfectly designed for photographers. These shy, iconic predators will go about their business around you, giving you a unique insight unto their lives at the same time giving you some if not the best opportunities to photograph these rare and elusive predators. I have a couple of places free so for more information or to book click here.

Another brand new photo tour for 2013 is my Jaguars of Brazil trip. Join me on this amazing 8 day trip in August to the Pantanal in Brazil to see the beautiful Jaguar in its wetland and woodland habitat. Wildlife in the Pantanal includes Anteaters, Howler Monkeys, Jaguars, Giant River Otters, Caimans, Anacondas, Ocelots and Capybara, along with a host of colourful and exotic birds. I have places free on this trip at present so for more information or to book please click here.

In September I am planning a 9 day trip to Sumatra which hopefully will be completed and ready for you to view very soon.  Then in the month of October it’s my Madagascar photo tour. After this year’s successful trip to this amazing island I am doing another 11 day trip photographing the very unique wildlife this island has to offer. For more information click here.

I then finish the year off with my Winter Waders in Norfolk trip. This place is famous for its winter flocks of Geese, Wildfowl and Waders who begin to gather here to make their home during our winter months. I have places free at the moment so for more information please click here.

In between all of these trips I also offer workshops to Skomer to photograph the Puffins, Mountain Hares, Spring Tides & Barn Owls. I also run workshops for Dippers, Red Grouse and Water voles which are still as popular as ever, all these worshops can be viewed here. I take clients to places I have visited since my early teens so they are very personal to me and make great one day workshops photographing these subjects as they go about their lives in the wild.

Lastly, my One to Ones, which are still very popular. The list of places throughout the year and more information can be seen by clicking on this link. Many thanks to all of the wonderful people that I’ve met this year and I look forward to meeting new and existing clients in 2013.

Just before I go if your looking for a wildlife calender for 2013 that helps and supports the amazing work of the wildlife trusts then click here to purchase this amazing calendar. I am proud to say that my Otter image has been chosen as the front cover and also January image of the month.

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Mesmerising Madagascar

Filed in Places Of Interest, Workshops on Sep.10, 2012

Madagascar the fourth largest island in the world!  Unique due to its diversity of species. It is known as the 8th continent and is a breathtaking place for wildlife. I have just returned from this amazing place where my 11 day photo tour took clients to some of the best places on the island.  Everyone witnessed the amazing aray of wildlife, flowers, and flora that this special island has to offer. The image below is of two Common Brown Lemurs sitting on posts near to the water as the evening sun began to set.  I under-exposed by two full stops to gain this effect.

A Golden Sifaka Lemur shown above moving through the trees which I was lucky enough to capture here with a fish-eye lens.  I have changed the image to black and white showing you just how dense this area of primary forest in Mantadia National park is. Another fisheye image from the same amazing forest can be seen below, showing some of the forests strange and wonderful trees.

Madagascar as we now know it, separated from the African mainland nearly 160 million years ago. Then 80 million years ago it broke away from India and from that moment it has stood alone in terms of an island within the India Ocean. This isolated so many species of wildlife to this one island, thus making its wildlife very different and unique, where many of the species only live and exist on this island.  You have to constantly look twice at things as you are just never certain if what you’ve just seen is living or a piece of wood, a twig, branch or something like that.

This image below clearly demonstrates what I have just described.  Its a Leaf-Tailed Gecko and it only lives on Madagascar in a few places on this island. It mimics the shape and colours of tree bark to blend in and hunt. It took several minute’s to see this amazing animal after our brilliant guide had found him for us.

The plants, flora and animals are amazing on this island and new species are constantly being found by scientists. The shapes and designs of them really intrigued me, with their armour style leaves, amazing patterns and spiders webs shinning like diamonds in the morning light with droplets of dew decorating them as seen in the following image, along with some of the amazing leaves and flora.  You can see a hole which marks the entrance to this spiders den.  I gazed at its design for ages with no sign of the occupant. We get some much from nature, ergonomic designs, waterproofing methodology and aerodynamics, all found in species of plants and animals everywhere on this island.

Madagascar is most famous for its wide variety of lemurs, these amazing creatures are found nowhere else in the world and new species are regularly discovered. The different species of lemur are spread throughout a variety of parks and reserves on the island.  This lemur was one of the main species everyone came to photograph. With their kind faces they were the perfect animal to photograph during our trip to this mesmerising island set among the Indian ocean.

Due to massive environmental degradation Madagascar’s species are some of the most threatened on the planet. With widespread destruction of habitat known as “Slash and Burn” which can be clearly seen once you travel around the island either by air or road.  This technique that is killing the life blood of this country is the traditional way for locals to plant rice, beans and corn to live off.

Small villages supporting many families are forced to settle right up to the edge of these primary forests where it’s clear to see the pressures on both the wildlife and the growing population. This has taken so much of Madagascar’s forests and replaced them with bare land covered either with crops or left just baron. Which in turn has rendered many species on the endangered list. None more so than the islands Lemurs, known for their wide eyes and by far the most famous of the islands residents.

Our trip started in the forest resort of Vakona Lodge, a complex of bungalows sitting amongst the natural forests of Madagascar.  We were here for 3 days, exploring Andasibe and Perinet National Parks which are set up to safeguard this amazing primary habitat of Madagascar. One of the famous inhabitants is the Indri Lemurs.  These are the biggest of the lemurs with an incredible call that travels for miles. These live in the tree tops and rarely come down as they have a complete fear of man in Andasibe reserve. Capturing images of them was a little tricky due to the dense habitat but all of my clients managed to capture some wonderful images of this amazing lemur.

We had a great guide throughout the trip who’s knowledge helped us all to find and photograph the stunning wildlife this place has to offer. During our stay at Vakona lodge we went on a couple of night walks around these reserves. Madagascar is famous for so much wildlife, alot of which only comes out at night giving you a completely different experience than that in the day. When you lose one of your senses your body over compensates which means your hearing and sense of smell almost doubles in the absence of your eyesight. We’d stay on a road and only venture slightly off path once one of the guides had spotted something with his torch.

A photograph of a Boophus Tree Frog, which has adapted itself to completely blend into the leaves it uses to live and hunt from. We could only just make him out once a small torch light was placed under this leaf. It exposed his shape and his markings that mimic the leaves he uses, just how amazing is wildlife!

A Golden Web Spider sitting among its web waiting for the night time insects to fall fool of its beautiful woven web.

This amazing creature just mesmerised me.  It looked like something from a bye gone era, not out of place in the dinosaur age I thought. It’s a Short-horned Chameleon. I was using a macro lens for this image and the depth of field was very narrow. So I focused on his head while leaving his curly tail in the image to gave a sense of size and depth to this image. What a wonderful living creature this was to see and photograph, the night time walks were truly amazing.

During our time at Vakona Lodeg we had 3 days of wonderful walks through the primary forests of Mantadia National Park and Andasibe National Park, both areas saved from the slash and burn policy that has ravaged the forests of Madagascar. We came across a lot of wildlife during our time here and one of the best encounters was of a group of Golden Sifaka Lemurs.

These are one of my personal favourite Lemurs with their striking colours. This image is taken with my fisheye lens.  I wanted to try and show you how dense these amazing forests are and I managed to sit down as he fed above my head.  I was with a completely wild Golden Safaka Lemur, feet above my head, as he reached for this branch to feed on.  A truly amazing moment.

A truly beautiful species of Lemur that only lives in this area of Madagascar, hanging onto survival with its forest homes being cut down. A real pleasure to see this lemur who once covered the whole area of Madagascar. Now only really existing on the east coast in protected areas.

Another wonderful encounter at Mantadia National Park was seeing a pair of Collared Nightjars. Our guide had spotted these among the forest vegetation cuddled up so close to each other.  These birds have very poor eyesight during the daylight hours as they are totally nocturnal birds.

This renders them a little vulnerable during the day from prey.  I was also told by our guide people hunt them up for food. One by one we carefully approached these sleeping beauties and took a few photos of them before leaving them in the peace that we found them. They had such stunning markings and feathers and were so well camouflaged for their forest home.

After an amazing start to the trip we said goodbye to Vakona Lodge and the amazing reserves we had visited, and headed towards our next destination.  After a 45 minute boat ride along the Pangalanes canals, passing by local villages on the east coast of Madagascar we arrived at the private reserve of Palmaruim.

Staying at the Palmarium Lodge all clients had a wonderful bungalow overlooking the large lakes giving that real contact with nature feel within the location. This place has around 8-10 different species of lemurs including nocturnal lemurs too. Once we settled in we headed out for our first night walk with our guide at Palmaruim to witness the unseen wildlife that this area of Madagascar has to offer.

A wonderful close up of this Boophus Tree Frog.  Lit up by our guides torch light.

We had an incredible encounter with a Pigmy Kingfisher during our night walk.  This bird is only found in Madagascar. The light from the guide’s torch brings out the wonderful colour of its plumage under the cover of the moonlit evening. During our night walks we had to stay on a path and could’nt go off track, so to see this wonderful bird so close to our path was amazing.

The peace and tranquility of this place made it a wonderful few days, with each bungalow set among the reserves vegetation. A lot of the Lemurs here live in lowland forest, which is completely different to that of the primary forests we’d spent the previous several days at beforehand. Most of the lemurs were fed here and made for wonderful images for the clients. Seeing these beautiful primates up close with the help of a few bananas from our guide.

The wonderful face of the Coquerel’s Sifaka here, again only found now in a handful of places on Madagascar.

This is the Crowned Lemur named after the crown of brown colour seen on top of his head.

Along with the Golden Sifaka or Diademed Sifaka Lemur these Indri Lemurs are one of my favourites. It was very interesting to see that here in their lowland habitat the colour is more darker than that of their  black and white counterparts that live in the primary forests of Andasibe and Mantadia reserves which we’d seen earlier in our trip. Indri are the biggest Lemurs and for me are beautiful and very graceful as they move through the canopies of the forests.

During our stay at Palmaruim we were able to photograph the largest of the Chameleon family, a true dinosaur looking creature that only lives in a few places now. The Panther Chamelleon has a massive tongue which it hunts and catches its prey with. Their markings are truly special and here I captured him moving from a high branch to a lower branch. Giving a different view point to this amazing living creature who’s markings are just stunning.

We had a great time at both Palmaruim and Vakona Lodge which are staying on my itinerary for next year’s Madagascar photo tour as clients really enjoyed these places and its peacefulness along with its variety of wildlife. I took a few images of a wonderful spider we kept seeing during our time on Madagascar, the stunning Golden Web Spider.

The following day we took the boat once more but this time headed to Tamatave for our overnight stay at the Sharon Hotel. Traveling for two hours this time to reach our destination by boat we settled into our wonderful hotel in readiness for our early morning flight to the beautiful island of Sainte Marie where we would be finishing our photo tour hoping to see the Humpback Whales that come to this area to give birth and raise their calf’s.

Sainte-Marie, known as Nosy Boraha, is an island off the east coast of Madagascar, it’s a fantastic location to see Humpback Whales during the months of June until September.  The channel between Sainte-Marie Island and Madagascar is a hot spot for these whales.  Substantial groups of Humpbacks migrate from the Antarctic to this idyllic breeding place. These quiet giants find conditions here favourable for the growth of their young and it is also well suited to their courtship before their return towards the cold seas in late September.

We spent 2 days and nights at our beautiful Masoandro Lodge, with 1 whale watching trip each day.  The first day we saw nothing as we sailed in our small boat in the vast India Ocean. Crossing our fingers for the next days trip we all hoped we’d see the incredible Humpbacks.

I see many things while among nature that blow me away, many private moments I’m able to see and photograph, where I count myself very lucky indeed.  So following a mother Humpback Whale and her calf in the Indian Ocean the following day ranks right up there with the very best moments I’ve been privileged to see in my lifetime so far. The weather had turned from sunny to cloudy on this day and the sea looked rough, very rough and all of my clients decided to give the boat trip a miss instead opting for our last day in Sainte Marie, so I went alone, as fortune favours the brave I believe.

The sea was choppy at first but the weather broke and the sun came out.  We adopted a different tactic than that of the previous day and waited for signs that whales were around. We saw one and ended up following her and her calf, the guides kept the boat at some distance away and stopped the engine as not to make a single noise. Floating in the massive Indian Ocean in a small, tiny boat with the current throwing you around certainly gets the blood pumping through your veins to say the least.

We had followed her and her calf for nearly an hour, often we just drifted as they dived and played around our tiny boat. Sometimes stopping to play and flap one of their fins at each other, such lovely tender moments for such a massive animal. A few minutes had passed where we thought they’d dived deep and vanished. Then from nowhere the female jumped up, clearing the sea then landing in seconds. I had around a faction of a second to take these images. The power, noise, splash and the wave that happened during and after this jump, I just cannot explain in words.

Never have I seen anything so powerful created by a living animal in all my life.  I was speechless. The following sequence of images captures that incredible moment. What a way to end an amazing trip to Madagascar, my clients went the following day and were also able to see this pair and take some lovely images but the female never jumped so I count myself very lucky that day, as I witnessed something that will stay with me forever.

I would like to thank my clients who came from as far afield as the USA and Australia to join me on my photo tour. We had a great time, brilliant images, fantastic accommodation and a real laugh along the way. Thanks to Shaun Stanley from World Primates Safaris for helping me with the logistics on the ground, guides, hotels and transport as it’s the small things that make the big things happen. And lastly I would like to thank my guide, Rija whose knowledge of the amazing wildlife in Madagascar helped us all in capturing some wonderful images with our cameras.

I will be returning to this breathtaking island of Madagascar in October 2013. Visiting a lot of the places you’ve seen on this blog. So if you’d like to join me on this amazing photo tour next year then please click here to be taken to the link and all the information you will need, many thanks.

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Wildlife Master-Photo Training4U

Filed in Events, Photography Tips, Workshops on Jan.10, 2012

I have officially joined PhotoTraining4U today as one of their masters, covering my passion of wildlife photography. The films I’ll be shooting over the next 12 months with the team will follow me as I work the land, from dawn to dusk. I will be showing members how I work, photographing wild animals within their habitat, showing their different behaviours and characters within photography. Going through the camera settings and what skills I employ myself in order to try and work with the wildlife I encounter out in the field.

Their website offers quality training for all photographers at an affordable price. The site is based on streaming video that capture photographers at work. PhotoTraining4U is aimed at both professional and amateur photographers alike and is structured into bite size learning films, over 800 at present, each around 20 minutes.

I have always loved helping people throughout my life and when I first started in wildlife photography this carried through. I know how hard it is to get help or advice when you are first beginning to take photos of wildlife – What works? What bag to buy? Is this lens any good? What camera settings? the list goes on. I like to show others the techniques that I have taught myself, what works and what doesn’t while on the ground, in the theatre of wildlife.

In this first film we go through where and how my love of wildlife, nature and photography began, forming the great passion I have for the natural world today which is the foundation to my work and images. The beauty of photographing wildlife is that it is always changing and evolving, encountering the unexpected and in this environment the photographer must learn to work with these changing environmental conditions and behaviours. The result cannot always be predicted, which makes fieldcraft one of the most important skills you have to learn to be fully connected to wildlife.

I always try where possible to ‘work the land’ as I put it, and stay away from staged or set up shots preferring the more natural image, as seen or shot when I encountered the subject, not changing an animal’s behaviour to obtain an image is so important to my work. You just never know what will turn up working in this manner, so being ready to capture what you see is key through composition, fieldcraft and the correct and simple camera settings.

I am not from the techie camera settings background, glued to the histogram strangled with numerous settings and different buttons and functions.  I show simply and real techniques in camera that work.  I know they work because they are what I use within my own work. An image should come from the heart via the human eye, the camera only captures what the person behind it sees most of the time. This interview in February’s Practical Photography illustrates perfectly how I work and where my true love and passion comes from for wildlife, in this case waders and spring tides in Norfolk. Click here to see the interview in PDF format or you can buy the magazine which is out now.

It’s important to me that in every image I take it represents an event that occurred in the wild, something that I witnessed and recorded with my camera. My skill lies in interpreting and presenting this in a way that invokes the beauty, mood and emotion of that special moment I captured.

The first interview on their site can be viewed here. If you’d like to join this site and see the amazing advice, videos, and help from many different masters not just myself then there is £100 pounds off the marked price of £229 per year.  Please quote JONES which is the discount code. This then will give full access to the site and all the help and advice. I will be filming several short films in the wild over the next 12 months, going through different advice and help that will offer you the best chances to capture those beautiful images of wildlife you want, at the same time learning more about the habitats and behaviours of the subjects your watching.

I really do hope the films and advice I will be offering here will be helpful, twinned with the help I have always given on my blog, facebook and twitter pages, which all form a strong base in which to show the beauty of wildlife and help and inspire you all into seeing just how beautiful wildlife is. Its been a great start to the year for myself, with a full page image in the BBC Wildlife magazine, a 6 page interview and images in Practical Photography, click here to see the article.

Thanks to all the people who have booked onto my 2012 photo tours and workshops. My India trip is now full, this will be the third year in a row now I’ve visited this magical place in search of one of the most beautiful animals on the planet, the Tiger. My Magical Mull June trip is full with a few places left for my October trip. I do have places left for my Madagascar trip which you can view here, Masia Mara trip, view the itinerary here and a few others. I’m really looking forward to 2012 and all the trips, plans and filming I have got in store. I hope you all make the best of your time within nature and capture those wonderful moments you witness yourselves, good luck.

And just before I go wanted to say there were some great winning images in the WWT photo comp for autumn, I had two category’s to judge which was nice with a very good standard all round so well done to all that entered. I have been asked back to judge the remaining 3 rounds where the overall winner will be announced later in the year, so good luck to all those that enter.

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Madagascar Lemurs and Whales Photo Tour

Filed in Photography Tips, Places Of Interest, Wildlife, Workshops on Jul.05, 2011

Photograph some of the most unique and endangered wildlife in the world as we explore the amazing country of Madagascar. There can be few places on this earth that offer us such unique, diverse and extremely beautiful wildlife as on the island of Madagascar. From the beginning of time nature has evolved, shaped itself and adapted to the different and changeling environments it lives and breeds in, carrying on the circle of life.

The island of Madagascar is one on its own, so many different and unusually wildlife, most of which are only found on this one island and nowhere else throughout the world. Next year I will be leading my own photographic tour to this amazing island, working with the best guides, through a trusted and results proven specialist travel company; World Primate Safaris. The trip can be viewed here

The trip is for 6 clients maxim, 2 clients minimum, where you will get the very best advice, and help from myself as we travel together as a group witnessing the marvelous wildlife this island has to offer.

Trips of this magnitude could not be undertaken without real help, as with all the photo trips I run myself, I work with the best guys on the ground offering the very best service, where the logistics are all taken care of.  With the planning of the trip organised from a wildlife photographers eye for wildlife photographers maximising the best light condition’s, offering the best chances of capturing outstanding images. So I’m pleased to announce that for this trip I will be working together with World Primate Safaris to deliver this amazing photo trip which I have had planned from early 2011.

The fourth largest and one of the most diverse islands of the world, Madagascar is unique because of its diversity of species. It is known as the “8th continent”. Brimming with endemic fauna and flora and with a diverse culture, geography and climate, you will never be disappointed when travelling around this amazing country. One moment you can be driving through pristine rainforest filled with lemurs and chameleons and the next you can be out on the savannah plains or white sandy beaches.

The Worlds wild population of Humpback whales migrate to the waters of Madagascar to give birth and nurture their young between June and September, so this is a great time for whale watching off the east coast. A major factor to the timing of our photo tour as we spend time watching and photographing this unique event in nature’s calendar.

Madagascar is encircled by a variety of beautiful beaches and islands from the south west coastline of Ifaty to luxury islands, giving the traveler the perfect opportunity to break up their itinerary with some days of relaxation on the beach and with our trip some amazing whale watching! The perfect end to your Madagascar photo trip.

The BBC series this year was an amazing programme showing the beauty of this island at the same time letting us see the truly amazing animals that have adapted to living on this island and nowhere else on earth.  The following short clip from this programme gives you an idea whats waiting, where the photography opportunities will be everywhere.


World Primate Safaris are specialists in Madagascar travel and this photo trip is fully ATOL protected for your complete peace of mind. Working with the very best local guides in Madagascar, all the key ingredients for an amazing trip.

Highlights of This Amazing Trip;

Visit the best places in Madagascar to see and photograph the island’s exotic and endangered wildlife, including ring-tailed lemurs, Verreaux’s (dancing) sifaka, indri, mouse lemurs, and a colourful array of bird species, chameleons, geckos, frogs, and much more.

As a tour designed for keen photographers (of all skill levels) and serious wildlife enthusiasts,we’ve carefully selected only the very best places for wildlife photography. Many of the animals we’ll see are remarkably tame and approachable, allowing for up-close photos and an incredible wildlife experience.

Travel as a small group and receive one-to-one instruction from professional wildlife photographer Craig Jones. Our accommodation throughout the journey will be hotels/bungalows and eco-lodges. All will have electricity for charging batteries ,en-suite bathrooms with hot water, and a daily laundry services.

For more information on this photo tour to Madagascar then please contact myself here or Shaun Stanley, World Primate Safaris. All flights can be booked through Shaun also depending on where in the world you’ll be joining us, a group flight from the UK is what we plan on doing for clients here.

To keep upto date with all the photo trips, shows, talks, exhibitions and my charity work I’m doing over the next 12 months subscribe to my monthly newsletter which can be found on the front page of my website in the bottom right hand corner. To those that book on this trip I can promise you a wonderful experience with some amazing photographs, I look forward to showing you this island many thanks.

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