I’ve just returned to mainland Ecuador after almost two weeks of pure enchantment in the Galápagos Islands, I almost can’t even begin to write about it, my head is spinning with all I’ve seen and experienced. And I certainly don’t know where to end, so apologies if this is a bit of a long read!
My Galápagos adventure began aboard the appropriately named Beagle. Owned by a family in Puerto Ayora, it’s a genteel twin-masted schooner with polished wooden fittings, that certainly knows how to rock and roll when the swell gets up. Eating together al fresco around her family table, and watching the awe-inspiring southern star-studded nights from her deck were daily reminders of both the importance of our common humanity, also our minuscule significance in the universal order of things.
One of the great mysteries of Peru, the Nasca lines, these enormous patterns and designs in the desert were created by removing all the dark stones and exposing the lighter sand below. They’re fascinating to see, and sure to have you asking, but why? Continue reading →
To get to my sister’s home town in Golden Bay, you have to climb over Takaka Hill. And when you reach there, people routinely talk about “going over the hill” in the same way others would talk about going overseas, as in “oh, I don’t think I’ll be going over the hill this week/month/any time before Easter”! To be fair, although it only takes just under an hour in good weather, the journey between Motueka and Takaka in Golden Bay is pretty spectacular, not unlike the hairpin-heavy mountain passes leading to Alpine ski resorts, and features as one of the world’s most exciting and dangerous roads to drive.
But the journey is totally worth it, the scenery all around is spectacular, the weather its own Mediterranean microclimate and the atmosphere is as laid back as a Greek olive grove in the late afternoon sun. Takaka itself is like entering into a hippy time warp, where shopkeepers are open to bartering, swapping and “lay-by” purchase-in-instalment arrangements, hand-painted signs and murals everywhere you look (even the corrugated iron walls of the Freshchoice supermarket sport a mural) whilst barefoot travellers laze around, playing music and making art and jewellery. Continue reading →
I have seen so many wonderful birds in New Zealand in my first few days here: Australasian harriers, kingfishers, three different species of shearwater, storm petrels walking on the water, a couple of blue penguins out at sea, and yesterday my first fantail. I haven’t managed to capture all of them on camera (harriers and kingfisher seen whilst driving!) but here are a few of those that I have.