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Archive for June, 2011

Pachamama

Quito, 21-Jun-2011

Pachamama or Mother Nature.

Ecuador like many other South American countries have much to offer. I took you to the Galapagos, the Pacific coast, the Andes,… but we’re still missing the jungle.

So here you go: 4 days on the outskirts of the Amazon with Piranhas, Pink dolphins, Spiders, Alligators,…

And let’s do a final visit to beautiful Colonial Quito, its cobblestone streets, historical buildings & churches many of whom are built on the foundation of Incas palaces and temples. And out of the many museums one can visit, a few pictures from Guayasamin museum, Ecuador (and probably South America’s) most famous aboriginal painters.

That’s it! hasta luego amigos. My South American trip comes to an end but (as you know) new challenges awaits.

Welcome to the Jungle

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Galapagos

Galapagos, 15-Jun-2011

Have you:

  • Swam with sharks? White tip, Hammerheads, Black tip, Galapagos sharks,…
  • Seen a Booby dance? (ok guys, stop nodding, it’s not that type of Booby ;))
  • Played with sea lions in the open ocean?
  • Walked inside lava tunnels or onto lava slops?

Then go to Galapagos; Wild animals (and many are big) have never been so indifferent to your presence making your close encounters a truly priceless moments.

In the meantime, you are just a click away to enjoy many videos and pictures and get a feel of what I am talking about.

Photo Album

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Note: To really visit Galapagos you must be ready to spend a good (at least?) 10 days there. I for one stayed 15 days: island hopping, scuba diving and an 8 days boat tour, visiting in total around a dozen islands. Each is a surprise on its own as you’ll see in the pics. As for the best time to go, well it’s a rather difficult question: each animal/bird has different biological and behavioral cycle. In my opinion (other will disagree), mid April to mid June is probably the best time offering a wide range of activities and sightings (May being “best”). I chose early June because prices are lower, it’s still good weather conditions, water is still not too cold and the seas relatively calm, sea lions are calving, Iguana’s eggs are hatching, Albatros, Boobys, Frigatebirds and many other birds are mating and incubating their eggs,….

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A short description of Galapagos Islands:

We all heard about the Galapagos Islands which inspired Darwin’s theory of evolution and where animals and birds adapted and evolved differently on each island, even if the distance between the main islands are less than a hundred nautical miles. 

First, a few facts: Darwin did not come up with his famous theory when setting foot on Galapagos. It was 3 years of sailing many oceans followed by 25 years of research. In fact, in Darwin’s book “On the Origin of Species”, only 10 or so pages are dedicated to Galapagos and he spent a total of 5 weeks on 4 islands there. Of course he was greatly influenced by the animal and bird species (especially finches) living in the archipelago; nowhere else on earth a difference in evolution within the same species is so obvious. The main factors are the 3 marine currents: the cold Humboldt Current coming from the southern hemisphere rich in krill and planktons, the warm Panama current descending from Central America and the underwater Cromwell current coming from the South-Asian continent. And they all meet around the Galapagos archipelago providing each island with a unique mix of current, nutrients, water temperature, weather & precipitation patterns,… and forced nature to adapt differently to each ecosystem.