Pristine habitats are rare says yacht-based photographer

Jody MacDonald adventure sport photographer

Adventure sport photographer Jody MacDonald

The office commute for adventure sport photographer, Jody MacDonald, is to the most remote places on earth.

The Canadian-native talks to Sports Liberated about her fears for the environment after spending a decade at sea running a charter business.

For five years Jody and then-boyfriend Gavin McClurg ran a yacht charter for surfers, freedivers and kiteboarders.

After selling the boat they came up with the idea of the Odyssey, “a seafaring expedition to seek out the world’s most remote and dynamic kitesurfing and surfing locations”.

The business venture turned out to be the germination of Jody’s photography career as she spent much of her time in some of the most exotic locations in the world alongside elite watersports athletes.

Kristin Boese jumps locals in Madagascar by Jody MacDonald

Kristin Boese jumps locals in Madagascar by Jody MacDonald

Dream seafaring experiences
As you’d expect the highlights of a decade at sea are spectacular. “Any time you get to swim with whales is a completely magical experience,” Jody says.

“Just being able to kiteboard in some of these remote locations, areas where there’s no other people and kiteboarding and surfing and having the whole place to yourself with really good friends or people you like to spend time with is always really incredible.

“Being in places that hardly anyone gets to see or get to are always incredible.”

Clarissa Hempel Kiteboarding in French Polynesia by Jody MacDonald

Clarissa Hempel Kiteboarding in French Polynesia by Jody MacDonald

Not finding Nemo
Conversely, seeing first-hand the damage being done to the environment is hard to bear.

Seeing the plastic in the ocean and the degradation of the reefs has been horrific.

You know how people envision these pristine reefs full of life and fish like something out of Finding Nemo? They don’t really exist any more. I mean they do but in very, very few places.

“To come upon a place that is really intact and pristine I could count maybe a handful of times in 10 years. And then to see the plastics on the beaches and in the oceans is unbelievable, so seeing that is tough.

Travel bug
Jody’s insatiable desire to travel started in childhood. Born in Canada, the family then moved to Saudi Arabia when Jody was two and lived there for 13 years.

“I grew up in Saudi Arabia and they give you a lot of benefits for living in the Middle East and one of them was they paid our family to go on vacation. So my parents took a lot of advantage of that – they had never been anywhere up until that point.

“So as a child I ended up travelling the world and I think the more you travel, the more there is to see and I think that was really bred into me when I was younger.”

Sadly for future travellers, places where Nemo can be found are becoming few and far between.

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Author: Jo Gunston

Roving blogging superfan shares behind the scenes stories of her sports life and the best of those from like-minded souls.

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