Saturday, March 23, 2013

Onto the Amazon

Sorry about the lack of pictures. The internet at my residence in Quito has been lacking since I've been back from the Galapagos. Here's a lovely picture of a damselfy that I took at USFQ because blogs without pictures are boring and not worth reading.


I will be leaving early this upcoming Monday morning and then little to no internet for an entire month (28 days[OH THE HORROR!]). I'll be staying at the Tiputini Biodiversity Station right on the Tiputini River, a tributary of the Amazon, just outside of Yasuni National Park and within the larger Yasuni Biosphere Reserve.

The rainforest is way too big of a topic for me to explain. Something along the lines of the "ultimate biological setting on Earth" and "the pinnacle of life as we know it" is not unwarranted. Read "Tropical Nature" by Adrian Forsyth & Ken Miyata for a pretty good intro. I'll hope to do my best by taking lots of pictures and videos to upload when I return.

More about Yasuni; this area was recently highlighted by National Geographic for their 125th anniversary. Pretty special, I guess.

This is the most biodiverse area on the planet. Naturally, people are trying to drill here for the oil that lies beneath.

"If we can't justify saving a place that has more species per square inch than anywhere else on the planet, then what hope is there for anything? What then do we keep? What then can we save?"
-Kelly Swing (My professor this entire semester!)

Kelly recently shot a news segment on Yasuni with Ann Curry that will supposedly air on Friday April 5th on "Rock Center with Brian Williams" on NBC. Check it out.  

See you in a month. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Galapagos Summary

Welcome back.

I see a grand total increase of 25 views since I last checked last week, surpassing the coveted 1000 mark. Good job people! Or person! Who knows how many people actually read this shit?

Anyways, my internet is currently sub-par at best so I can't upload a great picture of me smiling next to a giant tortoise or any pictures for that matter. Instead, here is a checklist of all the cool stuff I saw:

  • turtles 
  • giant manta ray
  • iguanas
  • lizards
  • birds
  • islands
  • volcanoes
  • rocks
  • plants
  • a cactus or two 
All in all, a good trip!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Galàpagos A' Go Go

For whatever reason, I'm excited for the Galàpagos now. The reptiles there are not my favorite, but I've never really lived on a boat so I think that's why my outlook changed.

Leaving early tomorrow morning and will not have internet access for a week. I'm planning on taking a lot of videos to document this once in a lifetime experience. Look forward to some crisp 1080 youtube gold with some hopefully witty and entertaining narration by your favorite blog artist.

The schedule of all the islands we are visiting:
Dìa 1                     Puerto Baquerizo Moreno (Land here) - Isla Lobos (Galàpagos wolves here)
Dìa 2                     Santa Fè (New Mexico) - Plazas (Strip malls galore)
Dìa 3                     Pto. Ayora - Estaciòn Charles Darwin (Charles Darwin's grave)- highlands
Dìa 4                     Pto. Villamil - Humedales (the humid island) - Centro Arnaldo Tupiza
Dìa 5                     Punta Moreno - Bahìa Elizabeth
Dìa 6                     Caleta Tagus - Punta Espinoza
Dìa 7                     Puerto Egas - Ràbida (Why we needed rabies vaccinations)
Dìa 8                     Seymour Norte - Baltra (Fly home)

You are only allowed on the marked trails with a guide at all times. Once darkness hits you have to run back to your boat or else the extremely territorial nocturnal land iguanas will get you. We're going to snorkel almost everyday because the boats lack showers and this is the closest we can get to bathing.

See you in a week!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Pre-departure thoughts: I'm not that excited.

I say that now and I'm sure once I get there I will eat those words and the tortoises, but for now I am not enthused or hungry.

Here are the reasons for my lackluster attitude:
  1. We're not allowed to touch anything. 
    • Nature is meant to be grabbed.
  2. We get to snorkel
    • This happens in the ocean. I hate the ocean. 
  3. Marine iguanas are ugly.
  4. Land iguanas are ugly. 
That's all I can think of now. The one saving grace I can think of is the lava lizards, which are alright as far as lizards go. They don't look as stupid* as the iguanas and are pretty colorful.

Take a look:

Microlophus occipitalus
This is actually the supposed ancestor of the lava lizards on Galapagos that I captured on the mainland while at the coast. 
Microlophus occipitalus

Will Jon stop hating the ocean? Will he get arrested on the Galapagos for catching all the lizards he sees? How will he blog from Ecuadorian jail?

The answers to these questions and more, next time. When I get back from the Galapago on March 17th and maybe before I leave on the 10th. 

*Darwin himself wrote that these lizards exuded stupidity so this is not opinion, it is scientific fact.

Monday, March 4, 2013


We are very close to approaching our 1000th view! This blog couldn't have been possible without all of your support. I know this is exciting news, judging by the whopping 2 views from today, so I'm heartfelt my no holds barred approach to blogging has reached such a wide audience.


Here is a symbolic picture of my appreciation of a robber fly eating another fly.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Back from Mindo

So I'm gonna talk about sharks.


Yeah, so while I have a few things from this past weekend to blog about (SNAKES!) I figured I'd wrap up the last thing from the coast.

Saturday is the big day at Puerto Lopez fish market. The catches are much larger both in number of species and size of fish. I guess all the fish are drunk enough Friday night to bite onto the long lines of the fisherman or something.

Unfortunately, this isn't very pretty. It's pretty sad to see a shark butchered because of the demand for shark fin soup in Asia. Not too sustainable. I wish I knew more, but I don't so here's a really gruesome video for you to watch for awareness or something. It should also be noted that the future of marlin (and swordfish and sailfish) is not too good either.