Ocean Friendly Tours
Involved in whale and dolphin field research programs in Bahia de Banderas since 1994, Oceanologist and Nature Photographer Oscar Frey founded Ocean Friendly Tours as a new concept in responsible tour operation in Puerto Vallarta, México with a unique visual and acoustic approach to the marine world of Bahia de Banderas and Puerto Vallarta, México. Oscar also serves as Vice-President & Chief Researcher for Deep Blue Conservancy.
At Ocean Friendly Tours we provide a specialized and personalized service that blends professional knowledge of the marine environment and safety with our passion, love and care for nature.
You will be guided by a specialized bilingual crew that is highly qualified in responsible whale watching techniques, diving, marine biology, oceanography and safe nautical operations. Ocean Friendly Tours have become a respectful and sophisticated way to approach the marine life and landscapes of Bahia de Banderas (Banderas Bay) off Puerto Vallarta, México.
Oscar Frey, Oceanologist
Born in México City, his parents encouraged him in developing his interests and abilities, therefore he has experienced interaction with the marine environment since childhood. Oscar started whale watching at the age of 7 when he saw his first whales during a summer camp outing in the San Juan Islands. Later, he discovered the love of photography when he was gifted with a simple reflex camera at age 10.
Oscar completed his educational training and degree in the field of Oceanology at the Faculty of Marine Sciences of the University of Baja California in Ensenada in 1994. After graduation, Frey began his research studies related to Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) on Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta, México in that same year.
As an Oceanologist and nature photographer, Frey founded Ocean Friendly Tours as a new concept in responsible tour operation in Puerto Vallarta. His ongoing research and tourism development has culminated into a unique visual and acoustical approach to the marine world of Banderas Bay and the breeding and birthing grounds of the Humpback whale. Frey continues to conduct fluke identification studies and capture acoustical recordings of the Humpback whales’ songs that grace the water of the bay annually.
In 2003, Oscar began his kite aerial photography work with The Drachen Foundation. The project focused on developing the methodology to use this technique as a nonintrusive way to document Humpback whales (Megaptera novaeangliae) and Gray whales (Eschrichtius robustus) as well as the tourist activities around them in their breeding and birthing grounds of Banderas Bay and San Ignacio Lagoon, México.
Oscar works in the integration of three perspectives to document and understand the behaviors of the Humpback whales that breed and calf in Banderas Bay. These are aerial, sea level and underwater perspectives. His research focuses of how the whales’ relate to the marine environment as they continue to adapt to the ongoing human activities and the oceanographical changes of their environment.
His scientific philosophy continually aims to create and apply new technologies, new ways of thinking and to share all data with researchers worldwide to ensure the protection and conservation of the gentle giants of our planet’s oceans.
Oscar participated in the Paleontological Research Program of the University of Baja California sponsored by the National Geographic Society in 1992 and 1993 and completed specialization courses in adventure travel and ecotourism. He was certified by SECTUR (Mexican Tourism Bureau) in La Paz, Baja California Sur in 1994.
In 1994, he also assisted in creating a privately and co-founded Humpback Whale Research Program and whale watching tour operations in Bahia de Banderas. This program which became part of the Banderas Bay Whale Identification Catalog containing now over 1,400 unique whale identifications and a photographic record of the behavior of Humpback whales and other marine mammals of this region.
In addition, analogue and digital recordings of the songs of Humpback whales have been obtained providing acoustic data that has proved helpful in determining the abundance of mating activity and the acoustic disturbance of boats as it relates to whale behavior and their distribution inside the bay.
In 2010, Frey was asked to serve as the Vice-President and Chief Researcher for the U.S. non-profit research foundation called Deep Blue Conservancy. In the summer of 2014, Deep Blue Conservancy expanded toward a new line of research into the feeding grounds of the Humpback whales located in Monterey Bay, California.
Oscar’s most recent research involves the use of Kite Aerial Photography (KAP) to document whales of coastal habitats in their breeding grounds in México.
Ocean Friendly Tours and Deep Blue Conservancy aim to pass valuable data and new technologies to the next generation of researchers. At the same time, they aim to continue educating the public through tours and lectures so that they might have a better understanding of the effects that humans have on the whales’ around the world.
You can visit www.OceanFriendly.com and www.DeepBlueConservancy.org or email Oscar at ofrey@OceanFriendly.com to learn more about their mission and to make your own tax-deductible contribution to assist in the continuation of their work.
“My passion for photography and science helps me to share with others the magical experience of interacting with nature and its amazing creatures. Whale watching is not only an interactive way to approach the world of whales and dolphins, it also brings out a greater understanding about the perfection of nature.”
~ Oscar Frey, Oceanologist