Greg Lecoeur

Award-winning ocean and wildlife photographer

"I could feel the power of nature. I was also touched at the same time by a feeling of fulfilment. I had the chance to capture the spectacular moment within a split second."

When and why did you start diving?

I grew up by the Mediterranean Sea, and I first started free-diving when I was a child. Being underwater is the best place to be near marine wildlife, and biodiversity has always been a true passion. At 20 years old, I had my first scuba diving experience in the beautiful Reunion Island and I found myself completely in love with the activity. I then developed my diving skills over the years in the Mediterranean, exploring with eagerness and emotion the amazing world of silence.

What is your spirit fish or mammal?

I'm in love with marine wildlife, from the smallest to the biggest, and it is impossible to choose a favourite one. That said, I am completely amazed by sharks. They are incredible animals, apex predators, at the top of evolution. They are very photogenic, capturing the light in such a specific way. Also, Pilot Whales encounters, especially in the Mediterranean Sea, are always precious moments, as they are extremely social and intelligent animals. 

What do you enjoy most about diving?

In addition to the exceptional weightlessness sensation, diving offers a real proximity with marine life and allows us to witness animals’ behaviours and interactions between different species. It is very exciting to breath underwater, move with freedom and be able to explore. After the dive, your mind stays underwater and you have a feeling of fulfilment. 

How do you approach non-divers to get them excited about learning to dive?

Diving is accessible for everyone and requires no specific physical conditions. It is an outstanding and exciting activity that can quickly become addictive. It can also create great moments to share with friends and family.  

Most memorable dive experience?

My best memorable experience was in South Africa during the Sardine Run. The sardines migration along the Wild Coast attracts all marine predators who work together to hunt bait balls in unison. I had the chance to be in the right place at the right time, and to witness and document this moment when common dolphins and Cape gannet birds were hunting. For one of the photographs I took this day, I was awarded in 2016 as National Geographic Nature Photographer of the Year.

Another amazing experience I had was in Tonga, interacting with a young humpback whale. This mammal was very curious and playful. It came to investigate and adopted the spy hopping posture in front of my mask. Although weighing several tens of tons, the whale showed incredible agility and power in holding itself vertically in the water.

Finally, I'd say my most beautiful but also most challenging expedition has been in Antarctica: the exploration of the hidden face of icebergs, in freezing waters, was a special kind of diving. My meeting with crab-eater seals led to some of my favourite pictures, for which I was awarded Underwater Photographer of the Year in 2020.

Favourite piece of Aqualung equipment?

In addition to the comfort provided by the wetsuits, especially the AquaFlex and its beautiful design, the Rogue BCD gives me a freedom of movement, easy for transport during travel thanks to the optimum and minimal design. Of course, the famous Legend regulator assures me a calm and safe breathing.

What steps are you taking to improve the health of our oceans? Any advice for others who want to help?

Through my photographic work, I share stories of the seas and the oceans and try to raise public awareness, our beautiful, amazing marine ecosystems are also very fragile. We have to preserve our natural heritage, we have to protect biodiversity.

I strongly believe that the experience of nature can move us, bring us some emotions that can be a shift point in our environmental awareness. 

I encourage everyone to take action. We all have a part to play, even small. The solution is also in our hands, by carrying out little, daily actions.

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