Lesley Rochat Photography - Sardine runOh boy, but has it been a hectic while and a half! It began weeks ago and got worse before it got better when I arrived at the airport to leave for London to attend the Ocean Geographic ‘An Unforgettable Evening’ with Michael Aw, Leandro Blanc and David Doubilet at the London Zoo; to squeeze in a bunch of meetings thereafter, and to attend the UK Dive Show at which I was a guest speaker. Arriving at the airport feeling chuffed that I was travelling lightly for a change (minus all underwater dive and camera gear i.e. 70 kilograms lighter!), I was blown over when I was told that South African’s need a visa and turned away! OK, you might say, where have I been that I don’t know this? Clearly not in London since last February when no visa was required, nor all the other times I had been to London before.

Lesley Rochat Photography - DolphinsThe next 3 days saw my nails chewed down, not knowing if I was literally coming or going: I had requested – ok, begged – the unreachable, except via email, British Higher Commission, to please expedite my visa application (normal time frame is 5-10 working days, I needed mine in 3 if I was to make the show!). The Universe was on my side and I got my visa 2 hours before my departure, and with a huge stress headache subsiding and sigh of relief, headed for London.

Lesley Rochat Photography - Marine birdsThe show was impressive, the amount of exhibitors sporting fantastic dive gear, camera gear, amazing dive trips, non profit organisations, and so much more filled the massive hall, while up to 16 000 people milled around over the two days. As for my talks, well if the feedback is anything to go by then I guess they went well. I met awesome people, heard amazing talks, namely that of Paul Rose and Monty Halls, and wished there was more time to attend more, and I networked till business cards and brochures were bulging out my pockets.

A special thanks to all the people who made up my great audiences, for your support, in particular those that donated to AfriOceans and followed up with me after the talks and since I returned home. And a special thanks to Dorothy, Nigel, David and the rest of the Diver Magazine team for inviting me and giving me the opportunity to share my work and my message.

Lesley Rochat Photography - DolphinOk, my sardine run images have nothing to do with this blog, except that they formed part of a slide show I gave at the show, but my memory card with images of the Dive Show has evaporated. I therefore decided to share a bunch more of these with you and make a promise not to milk that incredible experience any further after this, except to remind you that I am running a Sardine Run Photographic Expedition in 2011, proceeds to go into AfriOceans to help fund our work. Find out more and take a look at more sardine run images.

Now there are books to write, movies to make, photos to take, fishery departments to lobby against, pseudo conservationists to deal with once and for all, and, and…

Watch my space!