USEA Amassadors are selected by USEA Masters and Instructors. They are free-lance guides and allowed to provide USEA lectures, to guide outside USEA Academies or Centers.
Valérie VALTON is a behaviorist and a specialist in respectful Human - Marine mammals’ interactions
She explores the possible relationships between wild life & humans, wishing to discover to which extent we can approach, interact, bond and communicate with wild animals. Specialized in sea mammals for 10 years now, she has travelled around the world to observe and interact with all types of sea giants (dolphins, orcas, whales, sperm whales etc). Her behaviorist approach and sensitivity enabled her to slowly enter these giants’ world, to develop or adapt for each, a respectful approach, and various ways of communicating with them, taking her far beyond what she thought could be possible.
Wishing to contribute to restore a more respectful and harmonious cohabitation between wild life and humans, she tries to change the actual vision we have about wild life and animals in generals. She wishes humanity to discover that aside being preys or predators (as humans are), they are also intelligent and sentient beings with sensitivity and emotions, just like us.
Encountering these giants is usually a life changing experience, reconnecting us to what we truly are and to the essence of life. And by reminding us that life is both a mystery and a miracle, such encounters also reconnect us with our ability to marvel and wonder. And in that respect, a few times per year, she takes on with her a few small groups to encounter wild dolphins, whales or other wild sea mammals in the most beautiful spots she knows.
Now wishing to contribute in a larger extent to raise consciousness and change our vision of animals, she is preparing a TV Series named “The Ambassadors” to share with the public the extraordinary that is lived in such intimate encounters with wild sea giants.
Because “We care for what we love, and love only that we know” as used to say Cousteau.
Alessandro De Maddalena (Milan, 1970) is one of the major shark experts in the world. He is the curator of the Italian Great White Shark Data Bank, a founding member of the Mediterranean Shark Research Group, a Regional Investigator of the Global Shark Attack File, and a collaborator of Apex Shark Expeditions. His research findings have been published in numerous scientific publications including Annales Series historia naturalis, Museologia Scientifica, Annali del Museo Civico di Storia Naturale di Genova, Bollettino del Museo civico di Storia naturale di Venezia, Thalassia Salentina, Biljeske – Notes, Journal of the National Museum of Prague, South African Journal of Science, Marine Life, and the Latin American Journal of Aquatic Mammals.
Vanessa MIGNON got her first SLR camera at the end of 2009 and a few months later bought an underwater housing. Since then she has been very fortunate to travel to remote locations and witness amazing wildlife spectacles, such as Manta rays feeding vortex, humpbacks courting behavior or sperm whales socialization.
During those trips she met passionate people committed to protect those creatures and their environments. Their devotion was inspiring. Vanessa became very keen and focused on sharing the beauty of the world around us and hopefully playing a part in protecting it.
She is a member of the Ocean Artists Society and hopes that her photography and experience sharing can inspire others and increase people awareness of how diverse and beautiful nature is, and how essential it is to protect it. She runs wildlife tours, including trips to swim with humpbacks whales, sperm whales, sharks and dolphins. In her experience, a respectful and peaceful approach of animals is essential to ensure their wellbeing, but also key to great encounters".
"I am a photographer based in England, and have been putting my heart and soul into my passion for nature for seven years. The journey has taken me from my local nature reserves, to the likes of Africa and India in search of the very best of nature. What I have discovered is that we do not always need to travel to the ends of the Earth to have amazing wildlife encounters. We have amazing wildlife right on our doorstep, from flying dolphins in Wales to seals giving birth to pups on our shores. I hope that through my photography, I can make a difference to the survival of species on the edge."
Join us for snorkelling with orcas, dolphins, whales and seals
Géraldine PAHAUT est photographe naturaliste. La magie a opéré dès sa première rencontre avec des dauphins. Elle consacre une partie de sa vie à étudier leur structure sociale, leur comportement et interpréter leur langage. Pensant que la préservation passe par une meilleure connaissance et l’observation, elle organise des voyages naturalistes à la rencontre des mammifères marins (dauphins, cachalots, baleines) sur différentes destinations, associant la photo identification des cétacés et le partage de ses connaissances. Les séjours éthiques qu’elle propose visent à soutenir et promouvoir les institutions locales œuvrant, par l’éducation, à la conservation de la biodiversité de leur patrimoine naturel. Engagée, elle s’investie dans la protection des mammifères marins en collaborant avec des associations et ONG par des actions de sensibilisations, des articles et des reportages dans la presse.
Bartosz STROZYNSKI is an underwater and nature photographer, composer, lyricist, author of music videos and multimedia projects, graphic artist, sculptor. Awarded in many international photographic competitions, including the prestigious International Photography Awards, Asferico, European Wildlife Photographer of the Year & National Geographic Great Photographic Competition, presents his photographs in many international publications, including "Wonderful Water Planet" Photo Album. Participated in numerous photographic expeditions, including the prestigious Elysium Epic Shackleton's Antarctic Visual Epic Project. Fascinated by the Arctic and Antarctica, specializing in underwater photography, winter photography, photography of aquatic mammals and underwater photography in rivers. Bartosz has a unic relatioship with the great leopard seal. Author of articles on diving and underwater photography published in many countries.
AURORE ASSO expresses her passion for the underwater world through her sport, freediving, and her job, making documentaries. For instance, in December 2013, she made in Yucatan a Guinness World Record in a cenote, -120 m, the longest horizontal distance on one breath in an underwater cave - to raise awareness for the preservation of this unique aquifer threatened by the exponential growth of urbanism and tourism. And she accentuated this awareness process by making a documentary on this adventure co-directed with Cédric Balaguier. Explorer in her heart, she multiplies travels (Japan, Mexico, Hawaii, New Zealand, etc.) and outdoor activities such as cave diving, mountaineering, climbing. Yet, it is in freediving she finds her most obvious link with the vastness of Nature.
Motivated since childhood by the idea of getting closer to marine mammals by swimming with a monofin, her passion of freediving has also drived her to push back her limits in depth with several freediving national records whose, -76 meters in constant weight in Nice 2012 where she became with my teammates vice world champion, 72 meters in free immersion in Kalamata in 2013 , -72 meters in constant weight in the world championships of Okinawa in 2010. But her most beautiful dive was in the Dean's blue hole of Bahamas, where she broke a new national record with - 82 meters in december 2014. In this dive she finally felt close to marine mammals after years of efforts to improve her technique with the monofin. Orcas have accompanied her mental throughout the dive and gave her the strength to swim in the darkness of the blue hole and the serenity to retreat in her soul. it is probably her master degree in agronomy that gave her the willingness to help the protection of Nature in her films. She wants to continue to make films in that direction and why not make a documentary with USEA on the possible interaction between freedivers and orcas free to campaign against their captivity.
Grethe HILLERSØY studied marine biology and natural resource management in Australia and Norway. After having worked several years as research assistant, wildlife guide and a nature interpreter she decided to go full-time with wildlife film making and nature interpretation through film and photo. She loves to combine biology and creativity in this way!
Underwater wildlife photographer
Owner of Whale Watching Russia Expeditions Company (whale-expeditions.com).
Winner of this international photo wildlife contests: Nature Photographer of the Year 2018, Underwater Photographer of the Year 2017, National Geographic Russia, GDT, Sony Awards, SIENA photo contest, Golden Turtle.
Main goal: stoped catching orcas in Russia.