Monday, September 17, 2007



I've got a bunch of stuff I want to write about, but before I get to that, you probably want to see my pictures from "the poor man's Galapagos"--Isla de la Plata, one-and-a-half hours and $50 off the coast of Ecuador. I took a long bus ride (which I'll tell you more about in another post) out to Puerto Lopez, a small fishing town, now full of motorcycle taxis, as it tries to figure out how to be a tourist town. (How about a little less motorcycle noise at night?) I spent one day hiking around the "Tropical Dry Forest" of Machililla National Park. Who knew there was such a thing! It's a now scarce ecosystem at low elevation along the ecuatorial coast. This time of year, the deciduous trees have lost all their leaves for the dry season, while the water off shore is coming up from Antarctica. Large tree-like cacti poke above the low trees overlooking the Pacific. In the wet season, when warm waters push down from Mexico, it turns green. But this time of year is when seabirds--and humpback whales--are here to breed. To see the whales, boobies, and frigate birds, I took a really bouncy hour-and-a-half boat ride out to Isla de la Plata to hike around its hills and cliffs with a guide. As you hear about the Galapagos Islands, the animals weren't afraid of people, meaning I got some really great photos. If a pair of boobies decided to build a nest in the path, the people had to walk around. We also got to snorkel for about 10 minutes before heading back, making me really think I need to learn to scuba dive. So, another really cool weekend!

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