BLUE  CHAMELEON  VENTURES'  Past Tour  Members'  Experiences ,  Pics  &  Comments    

( You may contact many of these people to inquire about BCV tours --- see note at the bottom of this page. )

 

A giant leaftail gecko demonstrates its clinging ability to Christine and Cassie Roscher - a habit that terrifies some Malagasy people.  If restrained in one's hand, this gecko will squirm to escape and may break its tail.  If free to roam, it will typically launch itself off toward the nearest foliage as this one did a split-second after the pic was taken.

"Our trip to Madagascar was an adventure of a lifetime.  It was everything I had hoped for, and certainly not short of natural wonders galore.  The group was great, and Bill was a sharp and entertaining guide, I might add.  Our trip to Cape Sada was unforgettable ---  seeing all 4 species of tortoise in the wild was my goal, and Bill made that happen."

Chris Roscher, Los Angeles, California, USA

January 2006

 

"There is marvelous adventure in just stopping by the roadside and buying delicious cashews for pennies, especially when the vendors become delirious with excitement over the photos you take of them with a digital camera.  These girls almost fell down laughing at their images on the camera's monitor screen."   - - -   Greg Dimijian, Dallas, Texas, USA

A snack stop for locally grown, dry-roasted cashew nuts was one of many happy encounters with local people on the drive from Diego to Ambanja in the north.  Greg & Mary Beth Dimijian recorded the entire trip with digital cameras during the October - November 2003 tour.

This adult radiated tortoise was out seeking a drink after an early rain fell during October - November 2003.  It proved an easy photo subject for Tom Barrett as it ambled along near Itampolo, a remote fishing village on the southwest coast of Madagascar.

This was Tom's second tour with Blue Chameleon Ventures; please click HERE for his longer summary of the trip.

Eric and Chris Anderson enjoyed the merriest Christmas 2001 - New Year 2002 season as they explored Madagascar from end to end.  In this scene, they had just uncovered a sleeping Dumeril's boa from under a fallen tree in the southern forest.  Chris' dream trip involved seeing the widest assortment of 'herps' , especially his favorite group, the chameleons.  Click HERE  to read their full summary letter to me after the trip, and to see more pics of the rest of their family's adventures in paradise.
The Louis family enjoying the special graduation present --- a Christmas holiday season tour of Madagascar --- to one of their twin boys.   Here we've just given a grasshopper to a male panther chameleon found on a creekside branch as we were boating along a river near Maroantsetra.  Our local Malagasy guide, Hamba, is sitting in front offering the bug from his fingertip. 

December  2000

" Bringing our family to Madagascar was truly a trip of a lifetime !  The entire
trip was better than any book can describe."  
---  Clif, Rosella, Nick, Dan, Molly and Susan Louis, Denver, Colorado, USA

" Herping and photographing in Madagascar is the ultimate experience for those interested in the world's most unique wildlife.  Bill kept the sightings coming fast and furious...  just be sure to bring enough film ! " ---  Paul Freed, Houston, Texas, USA Zeroing in on a large treefrog perched on the leaning vine at left:  Finding many of the rarer and more elusive herps was the goal of veteran photographers Terry Christopher and Paul Freed during a special January rain forest reconnaissance of Mantadia Reserve. 

January  2001

" Non  Non !   Pas de passager clandestin !  Je ne ramerai de ce voyage que de superbes photos d'animaux que je n'aurai jamais imaginé approcher."   ---  Nathalie Fradet, France One of the longest geckos in the world resides on the heavily forested slopes of Montagne d'Ambre (Amber Mountain) in northern Madagascar.  The giant leaftail gecko Uroplatus fimbriatus grows unusually large and bulky there.  Nathalie Fradet might have mistaken it for some kind of huge alien attaching itself to her if she hadn't come there with BCV to specifically find such creatures. 

  November 2000

The best way to "hold" chameleons is by snapping off the branch they're perched upon and letting them remain on it.  They feel much more secure clasping a piece of their natural habitat instead of being held in hand.   Paula Skoog and Matjaz Rojc can attest to this after 'shooting' this green female Oustalet's chameleon on the branch in Paula's grip.  

1995

''I first met Bill Love in Australia in 1994 where we spent a couple of weeks in the field together.  That was one of the reasons I decided to go with him on his first Madagascar ecotour in 1995, and I will never regret my decision!  Bill is not only a very good friend, he's also a great tour leader and excellent photographer.  I learned all my field photography techniques from him.  He handles every situation professionally, and he really cares about Madagascar!  My greatest wish is to visit the Red Island with him once again someday''  ---  Matjaz  Rojc, Slovenia
At a small zoological park, some of the residents had free roam of the place.  Claire Hirschkind was trying to capture this bamboo lemur's picture as it bounced along a railing.  The problem was that it would always leap onto her back whenever she got close enough to focus, as it sits here.  It was an extremely friendly little creature that befriended us all at the Ivoloina Zoo north of Tamatave. 

1997

Sometimes we take to the water in native pirogues to explore more remote spots.  This was as we left a beachfront village on the island of Nosy Be to reach an even smaller village with no road access.  Tour members Mike Francis and Mark Silver helped with the paddling between snapping scenic shots.  The trip back at dusk was especially memorable for the abundant bioluminescent microorganisms glowing in the water by moonlight. 

1995

Don & Robbie Hamper wanted to see the beautiful radiated tortoises of the south in the wild as one of their main goals of the trip.  Far out in the interior away from villages at a place I know, we quickly rounded up eight specimens of assorted sizes by looking for them hiding in the shade of thorny vegetation. 

1998

'' Bill was a dedicated tour leader who never gave up in our quest for finding all the rarest and most cryptic animals!   He knew where they hid by day or night, and was always eager, and very good at, seeking out whatever we most wanted to encounter in the field.''   ---  Robbie Hamper, Ohio, USA

Sampling local foods is great fun.  People here were offering it at the airport as we waited for our baggage to be unloaded.  Dan Rosenberg didn't have any Malagasy coins for the very inexpensive lychee nuts he wanted, so he offered a 5000 Malagasy Franc  note (= 75 cents +/-) for "whatever that would buy".  The vendor promptly accepted and started loading up his outstretched t-shirt. 

1999

"Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to visit Madagascar for its animals.   Unexpectedly, I fell in love with the people too.   They were so laid back, and I made many new friends.  The animal and plant life, the scenery, the smells, the music, everything was amazing and I'll never be the same.   I've traveled a lot, but this was by far the greatest adventure of my life."   ---  Dan Rosenberg, Hong Kong   

Ringtail lemurs are among the most playful and friendly of Madagascar's approximately thirty species.  At Berenty Reserve in the southeast, they typically greet us on forest trails in family groups; it doesn't hurt to have a tempting banana in your pocket as Adrian Hemens did here.  Note that two of these four adults have youngsters clinging on their backs. 

1997

"After reading David Attenborough's book Zoo Quest to Madagascar as a young bloke, I was infected with a desire to see for myself the strange lands and mysterious creatures he described.  With the benefit of Bill Love's flair for organization and uncanny ability to sniff out even the most elusive of creatures (ringtails not included), I'm sure even the great Sir David would discover a thing or two with him."  --- Adrian Hemens, Australia

Les Steele found this elephant ear chameleon a very willing subject for accepting live grasshoppers from his fingertips.  Several individuals live in the trees outside our lodges at Perinet Reserve, and can usually be located and persuaded to demonstrate their long, rapid-fire tongues.  This one is taking aim, ready to zap the bug in his hand. 

1997

Sometimes the wildlife is tiny and unobtrusive, like this newly hatched Oustalet's chameleon that Jamie Mintzer spotted in a path-side bush with incredible luck.  We typically find many kinds of chameleons on each trip, which we often catch, photograph, and play with momentarily. 

1999

On a night walk in the forest, it's common to come upon cryptic denizens blending with the foliage or ground.  They're not always easy to identify, even with my trusty field guide for reference.  Here my 1996 group is trying to key out a dwarf chameleon we found asleep on a low twig.  L-R: Mike Pierce, Tim Schuetze, Gigi de Vosjoli, Roger Klingenberg, our guide Bledd, Philippe de Vosjoli, and Coleman Sheehy.
"Siamo ancora a bocca aperta per gli animali insoliti, le persone amiche ed i paesaggi ed i modi di vivere  cosi' diversi che abbiamo incontrato in sole due settimane.  Non dimenticheremo mai questa esperienza e siamo "fali fali" (molto felici nella lingua locale) di non averla persa"." ---  John & Silvia Cole, Italy The Ankarana Massif is riddled with a labyrinth of caves, some of them huge in dimensions.  Recent tour members John & Silvia Cole found exploring the Andrafiabe Cave system, and the various bats and other wildlife inhabiting it intriguing.  Symbolically, the opening silhouetting them in this shot reminded us a little of the outline of Madagascar.  

November 2000

Not every minute is spent chasing animals; here we paused along a road in the south's spiny forest to look at some handcrafted artwork made by these rural families.  We loaded up, buying some very unique carvings they had made.  Roger Klingenberg and Mike Pierce were then treated to a rendition of the merchants'  favorite songs, accompanied by the simple wooden instruments they had also made themselves by hand. 

1996

I've developed an ongoing relationship with a small rural elementary school in northwestern Madagascar, and include a stop there whenever I come to that region with my groups.  The kids love our visits because they're anxious to show off their gorgeous local animals.  The young man in dark blue is my special pal Jaovola, who is adept at finding lizards in particular, like this colorful adult male panther chameleon that he brought over on a stick to show Shveta Sharma

1999

 The food is great and varied!  That's been the majority consensus of all past tour members who love to eat out.  Here we're enjoying a picnic-style lunch of seafood delights caught locally and grilled right on the beach.  This was my 1998 group - Gemma & Andy Major, Kim Geisler, Bob Maricic, and Don & Robbie Hamper.  That's Roland, our Malagasy guide, at right.
An evening exploration of the Kirindy Forest, about 50 kilometers north of Morondava on the central west coast, revealed this newborn Madagascar ground boa prowling on a slow, crepuscular foray.  It was barely two feet (61 cm), silky smooth and colorful, and completely calm like all specimens of this largest snake species have ever been when first encountered in the field.  Jennifer & Rick Girvin, and me.

November  2000

"One of the most unique places I have ever been!  The native folks and the critters were delightful.  Bill provided a most educational and diverse trip that had something for everyone.  Well thought out and very well orchestrated. Top notch job and I plan to do it again!   I should not have waited so long to see Madagascar.---  Rick Girvin, California, USA

Our lodgings vary from rustic wooden bungalows to luxurious hotels carved into the rocky cliffs, depending on what's available in the regions we travel.  All are comfortable and clean inside, and a genuine pleasure to return to after a long nature walk.

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I have a list with email and telephone numbers of B.C.V. tour veterans from many different past trips who have all agreed to be references that you may contact.   If you're seriously considering a trip with me, please email me to request this list.

 

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