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Belinda Braithwaite filming in Baja California


Custom Discovery works with both land and ocean projects, researching marine mammals and the ocean environment.

The unique appeal of this two-man team, is their quiet, non-invasive approach. 

Their work ranges from National Geographic to Ocean Alliance, from Rwanda to the Pacific.


Orsinus Orca. Killer whales are the top predator in the world’s ocean but these magnificent animals are actually not whales at all; they belong to the dolphin family. Male Orcas average 27 feet in length and weigh 8 tons with dorsal fins growing as high as 6 feet. Females are smaller, growing to an average 23 feet and weighing six tons. We had an unexpected encounter when a pod of Orcas decided to take a closer look at us and spent almost two hours swimming alongside our boat in Baja California, Mexico.

A joint partnership between Pangaea Exploration, 5 Gyres and Algalita resulted in this 7,500 mile expedition across the Pacific Ocean from the Marshall Islands to Japan to Hawaii. 14 crew from all walks of life looking at plastic debris in the Western Pacific Gyre. Built for round the world racing, 'Sea Dragon' is an ideal platform for this type of research.

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This harrowing assignment was to help my friend David Chaplin who set up Rwanda Aid , helping countless Rwandan families to re-build their shattered lives.


The Vaka Project is an International effort to restore the ancient art of Traditional Navigation in the island people of the South Pacific.


Every year, humpback whales (megaptera novaeangliae) migrate from the icy waters of the Antarctic where they feed to the warm waters of French Polynesia to breed. After a long wait we were lucky enough to spend several hours in the water with this young adult. Adults measure between 40ft-60ft (15m-18m) and calves measure about 15ft (4.50m) at birth, putting on up to 220 lbs. (100 kg) of weight per day during the first week of life; whale’s milk contains the highest fat content of the animal kingdom.

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Out of the 350 shark species, 19 of them can be observed in the waters of French Polynesia where the ancient ma’ohi lived with them in harmony, with sharks representing a protective icon in which the spirit of a family ancestor was reincarnated.

Thought to have evolved about 400 million years ago, sharks play an essential role in regulation and balance of the marine eco-systems. 


Rays (himantura fai) are close cousins to sharks. They appeared about 150 million years ago, and like the sharks they have a cartilaginous skeleton. However unlike sharks their branchial slits are located on the belly and their oversized pectoral fins are attached to their head to form 'wings'. The Tahitian name for the sting ray is 'fai i’u'.


Baja California, whose deep, steep and rugged coasts contain the Sea of Cortez, originally called the Roxo Sea or Bermejo Sea... A little known sea, not to say almost forgotten... with the richest waters of the planet for the diversity of its fauna and flora. The sea that Jaques Costeau defined as "the largest aquarium in the world". 

Later in this series, we trek high into the sierras on mules, in search of 10,000 year old rock paintings and petroglyphs made by the original inhabitants of Baja; the Cochimi Indians.


A joint partnership between Ensenada University and Algalita resulted in the first study of plastics in Todo Santo Bay, Ensenada, Baja California. Five Mexican scientists joined us aboard Captain Charles Moore's R/V Alguita to study the plastic debris in the Bahia de Todo Santo. Purpose-built for ocean research, 'Alguita' is an ideal platform for this type of research.

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