Currently the wrong side of 50, but getting younger by the day, so I keep telling myself. Passionate about the natural world from an early age, I was fortunate enough to have started traveling at the ripe old age of 16, when I found myself along with my dear friend from school David Smyth, in wonderful Peru as guests of a Peruvian diplomat whose children attended my school in London.
The adventures started straight away when I found myself flying just a few dozen mtrs over the Amazon jungle treetops, hanging out the back of a C 130 Hercules transport plane with the rear ramp down attached by a strop and harness, both of us wearing a grin wider than the Straits of Gibraltar.
Machu Picchu followed, and what a joy that was to have the whole Inca city to myself apart from a dozen other tourists, which when one considers the thousands that crawl over every inch of it these days, I am sometimes happy to be the wrong side of the big 50, as age does have it’s advantages.
Returning to London and school was no longer an option, I had caught a severe and dangerous bug in Peru called the TRAVELALOTBEFOREYOUDIEBUG ! so I kept traveling.
Many countries, jobs and adventures later, including taking part in the 1992/ 3 British Steel Challenge, the worlds 1st fully crewed round the world yacht race, sailing against the southern oceans prevailing winds and currents, I realized early on the travel bug was, like malaria, here to stay. I managed to scoop the award for the best wildlife image taken during the 29,000 race, which sadly did not not compensate for being whacked full on by a large wave while changing a sale on the foredeck and tearing the ACL ligament in my left knee in the process, this was made somewhat more uncomfortable by the fact we were still about 13 days sail from Cape Town. An ACL reconstruction mean’t the race was over for me, but I can honestly say it was the adventure of a lifetime.
Winning this only added to my already strong desire to attempt to photograph and film rare, elusive and endangered species in remote locations, and a wise property purchase in London gave me the funds to do exactly this, at least until the money ran out. Patagonia had long ago etched it’s way into my head, so armed with a Land Rover Defender 110 full of equipment, including my precious 600mm F4 Nikon lens, which felt like it weighed as much as a baby rhino, I set off for the awe inspiring Torres del Paine National Park, in the far south of Chile, in search of the elusive and rarely seen Patagonian Puma ( felis concolor patagonica ) or Mountain Lions or Cougars as our American cousins call them.