Images of Colombia - Navy (Armada)

 Special Forces Malaga PSP1428

Malaga Dockyard Welder PSP8024

Marines Special Forces Sniper & Spotter PSP1515

Naval Gunners on Frigate Valle del Cauca PSP5161

River Patrol Vessel 'Nodriza Perez' PSP4482

Helicopter Landing on Airstrip PSP1077

ARC Gloria Tower Bridge London DSC4471
Frigate 'Valle del Cauca'  en route to Malpelo PSP5765

Female Officer Taking Photo at Ceremony PSP3911

Naval Helicopter in Flight PSP3062

 Coastguards High Speed Launch Buenaventura PSP8812

Rainbow at Naval Base Malaga PSP6426

Flag of ARC Valle del Cauca Awarded Medal                 for  capturing Narco Terrorists PSP9895

Five months in Malaga with the Colombian Navy

I have been a professional photographer for about 35 years  and have always used Nikon equipment, mainly working for publishers of gardening books and magazines in the U.K, U.S and Poland. In 1972 I won a bronze medal for the U.K in a Nikon International Photo Competition from around 27,000 entries worldwide.

My wife Kelly is Colombian and we and our youngest daughter Grace had let our house in the U.K to friends for a six month period and we were spending this period in various parts of this fascinating country. We had been in Colombia since January 2009 and were looking forward to a relaxing time with our daughter and son in law  and two boys in Malaga. Our son in law is a captain in the Armada, the Colombian Navy.

One day about a week after we arrived at the naval base, I was out walking with my camera when a large four wheel drive station wagon pulled up alongside and the admiral (no less) of the Pacific fleet leaned out and asked what I was doing here. I explained that I was a professional photographer visiting my wife's family here. His face lit up with a broad smile and he exclaimed.  " You are just the person I have been looking for, would you be interested in doing the photography for a forthcoming project?" "I am planning to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the base with a series of photographs which will be part of a traveling exhibition and put to other uses." When I said yes he seemed delighted as was I. This was a classic case of 'being in the right place at the right time'!.

When I got back, I informed my wife Kelly (who was also getting really interested in photography since I had given her a Nikon D70 digital camera). She was as excited as I was, as this would be something totally new to us both.

From that day until we left Malaga on the 28th of August, we were involved in a wide range of photographic activities that included taking pictures of Hump Backed Whales from a helicopter and launch, Indian communities in the jungle to whom the navy provides free medicines provisions and clothing.   We photographed full dress ceremonies, one of which included a visit by Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe. Other highlights included a five day trip which I took on a frigate to the volcanic Malpelo island. This stark, dramatic and totally treeless rocky island is not only one of Colombia's protected wildlife sanctuaries, it has world heritage status! Inhabited by sea birds, two species of lizard, and one specie of land crab, together with a handful of marines and a national park ranger.

Another trip, this time with my wife Kelly was to Gorgona, another precious gem in Colombia's treasure chest of beautiful nature reserves. Here we managed to photograph various snakes, lizards, pelicans and other seabirds, butterflies and one specie of monkey.

I did a half day's flight in one of the navy's light aircraft to photograph Colombia's Pacific coastline almost up to Panama. This trip produced some beautiful shots of estuaries, rocky cliffs and sandy beaches, wave patterns and sunset shots of the sea through broken cloud formations. These can be seen on the page titled:- Images of Colombia - Aerial Photography.

The majority of wildlife and plant pictures that I took were taken around the base here in Malaga where there seem to be endless varieties of insects, spiders and the bizarre long armed tree dwelling Sloth called  'Perez Oso' locally. These together with diverse species of birds make this place a wildlife photographers dream come true! In total we took around 10,000 photos for the Naval archives.

One of the greatest things about being at Malaga was the navy personnel as we have made some wonderful friendships here. It reminds me of England 50 years ago where you did not need to lock your doors and were not afraid to leave your children to play in the street. Every day walking from the base to out daughter's bungalow we are greeted with a "Good morning, Good afternoon or good night", by every person passing by. It is a fact that the vast majority of Colombians are among the friendliest people on earth and the tourist department slogan "The only danger of coming here is that you won't want to go back" is especially true of this part of Colombia!