National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry describes a magical experience photographing an enormous right whale off the coast of New Zealand. What does this extraordinary encounter have in common with other stories shared on eyes4earth.org?
Despite being privileged to have just an amazingly unique encounter, Brian’s story contains quite a few commonalities with what has been learnt through the research supporting eyes4earth.org. Many of the reported peak and profound wildlife encounters are with large charismatic animals where close proximity, extended periods of eye-contact are a key part of what makes the process meaningful. There is a sense of reciprocity in that the animal may also appear to be curious about us, possibly approaching unexpectedly and displaying what would normally be considered unusual behaviour. We may interpret this as some kind intelligence or desire for interaction – or even communication – on behalf of the animal… and that deeply moves us. We can feel diminished and humbled in its presence. In Brian’s case, he eventually got to share the experience with a colleague – and that can make the whole event even more special.
Numerous people who submitted their most meaningful nature experiences to eyes4earth.org have actually had their encounters whilst feeling vulnerable or even fearful in a vast ocean. Brian Skerry tells another story about his scary night dives with giant squid…
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