Archive for the 'Fish' Category
It’s not easy being an adventurous spirit but living confined to the city, so today, October 8th, 2021, I am starting my 3 days snorkelling-intensive trip in the Galapagos Islands with a tailored-made itinerary.
I visit the islands as much as I can, but each new occasion makes me feel like I’m a privileged alien who is on a mission to discover an entirely new world, not ruled under the normal laws of biology.
This time, I have coordinated my hotel stays, meals, and snorkelling tours with Andean Travel Company. The rest of the adventure is up to me, so here we go!
Yesterday I arrived and took the afternoon at leisure to explore Santa Cruz island’s amazing white coral beaches where flocks of iguanas defiantly stare at you and block the way. The world’s only marine iguana is endemic to these islands.
I’m staying in a hostel in the middle of the bustling, colourful town of Puerto Ayora, one of the three urban centres of the archipelago. I would very much prefer this whole place to be inhabited, but people have been driven to these islands by the promise of economic success for decades now.
I was picked up by my guide and we walked a couple of blocks towards the dock. We embarked on a speedboat to Seymour Island.
I was provided all the necessary equipment and went directly to business (after listening to the guide’s directions). My very first sight was a group of whitetip reef sharks cruising between the low basaltic cliffs below me. I did not expect that my first animal observation would be this quick and thrilling!.
Colourful fish such as the king angelfish, boxfish, and parrotfish swam around, and I got lost in thought admiring them. A strange sound brought me back to reality. It was as if small missiles were being shot… It was the sound of blue-footed boobies and pelicans plunge-diving at enormous speeds to catch fish!
These daily snorkelling tours provide lunch, and I’m grateful for that, as it is a very energy-intensive activity.
In my second swim of the day, I spotted one of my favourite marine animals, the black-botched ray. It looked so elegant with its perfectly aerodynamic platform and majestic in its cyclic underwater flight. I also hoped to see a scalloped hammerhead shark, but they are difficult to find, so let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Today, October 9th, 2021, I’m heading to one of Galapagos’ most iconic landmarks. Pinnacle Rock on Bartolomé Island. Located northeast of Santa Cruz island, 2 hours away in a boat, this is an immense spearheaded obelisk rising from the ocean. We disembarked on the appropriately named Golden Beach, and from there I started swimming into a shallow cove full of precious coral formations and reef fish.
During my time inside the cove, however, my mind was obsessed with swimming around the massive Pinnacle Rock itself. We got there in due time, along with the rest of the group and the guide. (No matter how good of a swimmer you are, when snorkelling always stay close to your group!)
At the underwater intersection where the sea bottom becomes a cliff, I found spectacular lava formations, where reef and Tiger sharks were accommodated inside natural galleries. Swimming ahead, I found medium-sized sea lions who adventured so close to my face that I actually got a bit scared. I tried to make as much eye contact as possible with them, and it’s a tender sensation that I will never forget.
To finish off this day perfectly, we spotted the endangered Galapagos penguin standing on some rocks above the water. An Antarctic bird in these warm waters is certainly an unexpected sight, but they are one of the best examples of the unique animal adaptations happening on these islands.
Day 3! I cannot believe that today is the last of my snorkelling trip. We navigated northwest to Santa Fé Island. The area destined for snorkelling was well-protected from open sea currents, so my first thought was that this might be a smart choice for beginners. These calm, shallower waters, however, delivered generously.
Fluorescent blue chin parrotfishes, yellowtail surgeonfishes, and pufferfishes swam around the turquoise waters, and sea lions made me close company again. I really felt as if these boys knew that I was on a mission, and decided to escort me to the right place. To the open waters where the scalloped hammerhead sharks finally decided to reveal themselves. What an amazing creature, a perfect example of the ambitious effects of evolution. Its distinctive, enormous head works as a sensor that has yet to be explained by science. I couldn’t have asked for a better ending to this trip.
Thank you, Galapagos! May we be able to do enough to preserve your treasures!
When most people think of Michigan, they think of Detroit,city of cars and now, urban wasteland. The Upper Peninsula is a very different land that most Michiganders have never been to, and very reminiscent of nearby Canada. People even add ” eh” to the end of every sentence.
On Wednesday, July 15 I departed Whitehall and drove through the only major rainstorm I encountered in 3 months and spent the night in in Sault Ste. Marie, normally a bustling border town, now a ghost town because of the almost total border shutdown.In July instead of 2500 cars per hour crossing, it was 50 trucks, as commercial traffic was permitted.
It was about 4 hours to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. I parked and took a 4 mile hike through the woods ( each way) to Lake Superior.
For Full Effect, Watch The Video Above.!
For lunch and dinner I dined on delicious lake fish ,fresh smoked. Much healthier than burgers and not a slave to the early Midwestern clock.
Saturday morning, July 18th I departed Marquette and drove the rest of the vast Peninsula. Crossed into Central Daylight Time The iPhone changed instantly, but the X2 had to be set manually.
Around Noon,I entered Wisconsin, my 45th State – the first of 2 new states that day. Mostly I stuck to the Lake Superior shoreline. Though it was a beautiful summer day, outdoor eating is not a thing in Wisconsin ,so I had my only McDonald’s meal of the trip. And then – it was on to Minnesota.
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Last January TotalAdventure flew across the Pacific from Portland,Oregon to Tokyo. TotalAdventure had only 8 days in Japan, so we decided to split it between Tokyo, one of the most urban places on Earth, and Hokkaido, one of the widest ,snowiest islands on Earth.
We Only Had Four Days, So We Stuck To The Sapporo Region. At Two Million People,Sapporo Is One Of Japan’s Smallest Cities.
Shinto Temples Abound Everywhere.
Year Round Outdoor Cafe. Coffee Is Overtaking Tea In Japan.
A Woodcut of Otaru Port In The 1600s.
Winter Festival In Sapporo. TotalAdventure Watched The Sculpting.
Global Warming Is Not Yet Affecting Hokkaido. When It Does, More Snow Will Fall.
From September 14th to September 17th, TotalAdventure travelled on the Alaska Railroad from Anchorage north to Talkeetna, back to Anchorage and South to Seward as well as whistle stops in glacier areas. The video shows a compilation of the entire trip, along with the the incredible adventure experiences offered in each area.
On the morning of the 14th, we left Anchorage on the Denali Star Train at 7:50 AM for the 3 hour ,150 mile ride North to Talkeetna. As Gold Star passengers we were seated in a glassed roofed upper deck, with an outdoor balcony for photography and viewing.Upon arrival at the tiny frontier town we passed Nagley’s Store. The Denali Star Train goes all the way to Fairbanks – an 8 hour journey. Fairbanks is Alaska’s second largest city and serves as a Gateway to the Arctic.
After lunch we walked to the security – free , private, Talkeetna Airport for our incredible flight on K2 Aviation to the Denali Base camp, where climbers for Mt.McKinley begin their 2 week climb to the Summit. Experience the flight in the blog posts below.
Afterwards we were invited for cocktails at the incredibly beautiful Talkeetna Alaskan Lodge – 5 Star Luxury Rooms with ample views of Mt.Denali on a clear day. A simple, but hearty dinner was enjoyed at Mountain High Pizza Pie – real Italian style from the owner who hailed from Pittsburgh.
After a long day we returned to our rustic inn, the Talkeetna Roadhouse , for a good night’s sleep. TotalAdventure stayed up a few hours editing the incredible aviation footage for the video featured on the Mt.Denali post below.
The next morning, Thursday the 15th, our group split in to two. The bravest of us, including TotalAdventure went Ziplining with Denali Zipline Tour.
The rest went on a jetboat adventure with Mahay’s Jet Boat Adventures. The rivers run fast and cold, fed by Mt.Denali’s glaciers. Interesting fact – the snow that falls today on Mt. McKinley will flow into the river 1500 years from now. The boat stops at a remote dock for a wilderness hike, observing old trapper and miner cabins. The guides are armed with shotguns in case of bear attacks – which thankfully have not happened.
After lunch we were treated to a tour of the Denali Brewing Company by founder Sassan Mossanen. Denali Brewing products accompanied many of our meals on the trip. Alaskans drink almost the entire production – so unfortunately none is yet exported to the Lower 48.
Early the next morning, Friday, September 16th at 6:45 Am we boarded the Coastal Classic Train for the 5 hour journey to Seward . It was a short walk from the depot to the town docks, where we boarded a Kenai Fjords Tour Boat for an incredible North Pacific Adventure- see below.
At the end of the day, chilled to the bone, we checked into our toasty warm cabins at the Seward Windsong Lodge. That night , we feasted at the hotel’s restaurant – the Resurrection Roadhouse – on local seafood delicacies of halibut and cod – fresh, not frozen.
Our final day on the Alaska Railroad Adventure was on the Glacier Discovery Train. Our group rode to the Spencer Glacier Whistle Stop to kayak across an icy lake to the Spencer Glacier. We were guided by Ascending Path ( See Below). The Alaska Railroad is one of the last railroads in the world to use whistle stops. The railroad serves remote areas that don;t warrant a station. Rather, a passenger tells a conductor at what milepost he wants to stop and notifies the engineer with a whistle. When getting back on the train, days or weeks later – the passenger stands by the tracks and flags down the passing train.
Our final night was at the Alyeska Resort – Alaska’s ‘s most luxurious hotel, with beautiful ski slopes overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The season goes from mid November to almost May, with snow measured in feet,not inches. Our final dinner- at 10 PM – reached by cable car – was at the mountain top restaurant Seven Glaciers – amazing Alaskan seafood, Kobe beef – best of all Spencer Glacier ice in our whiskey glasses.
TotalAdventure has journeyed on many of the world’s railroads, as you can see throughout our blog .The Alaska Railroad is amongst the best run – and certainly one of the more luxurious trains one can take for a daytrip. Other US train lines do not even begin to compare. Now that winter is approaching the line scales back for one weekly trip – The Aurora Winter Train !
Please scroll below, for all the Alaska Adventures !
On July 2 at 7 AM we left our host’s house in Bodrum to board a catamaran ferry to the Greek island of Kos, only 20 km across the channel. We looked back at beautiful vibrant Turkey, hoping to return in the near future – to explore from Istanbul to the eastern provinces.
We arrived in port 20 minutes later. We spent nearly 40 minutes to get passports stamped, as we were re-entering the EU and Shengen. Afterwards a 50 km taxi ride to Kefalos .
In Kefalos , we found a beachside Taverna where we ate excellent grilled squid, stored our stuff and went snorkeling.
The water was as clear as an aquarium.
There were ruins right by the sea !
Soon it was time to leave for the airport. We took a turboprop to Athens, flying over hundreds of Aegean Islands. In Athens – once again passport control , as we were leaving Schengen. 4 hours later – another 1.5 hours in customs entering the UK.
Just before midnight we arrived at our hotel, after a long Tube ride. We were right by the Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
Our final day before returning Stateside was a whirlwind tour of some of the major sights.
Iconic, but we opted for Indian instead.
After 48 hours in the Vatnajökull region , ArcticTropic traversed Route 1 into Northeast Iceland – now less than 100 miles from the Arctic Circle. Though days are getting longer by over 7 minutes each day – the weather is very wintry.
Black Tower Beach
Sturdy Viking Horses. Direct descendants from the Year 900.
High atop the cliffs.
Snow 12 Months A Year.
Reindeer – It’s What’s For Dinner !
For adventures in Iceland, CLICK HERE
Deep in the Heart of Siberia, Lake Baikal is one of the most pristine regions in the world. The 636 km long lake holds 20% of the world’s fresh water that is not permanently frozen. ArcticTropic only got to explore a small portion ,as it was early in the season and the full boat network is not yet operational.
From Irkutsk we took a two hour hydrofoil ride down the Angara River into Lake Baikal to the tiny village of Bolshie Koty.
Bolshie Koty has no roads, except an Ice road for a few months in the winter. There are only two or three operational motor vehicles in the village.
On this early June day, heavy snow had fallen on the mountains across the lake ,which had iced out only two weeks before. Swimming would only be possible after a hot banya.
Naturalists from around the world are working to create a hiking trail going around the whole lake.
Bolshie Koty began as a gold rush town int he 1850s. There was not much gold and today it is a place to escape the cares of the world.
Unless you bring your own food , you will likely be eating Omul soup. Omul is a great tasting fish,related to salmon.
ArcticTropic searches far and wide for untouched spots on the globe and Lake Baikal is certainly one of them. The cold climate and remote Siberian location ensures there will never be casinos and fancy marinas here.
For adventures in Russia, CLICK HERE
The Philippines have a lot to offer beyond the beach resorts developed for Hong Kong tourists. Just 2 hours out of Hong Kong one can be in the most remote volcanic mountain jungles, with primitive tribesmen and unihabited islands with beaches accessible only by sailboat.
FOR ADVENTURES IN THE PHILINES, CLICK HERE
In the mid Atlantic the Azores are an almost untouched natural paradise, with some of the best wine and fish in the world. Volcanoes are viewable while surfing incredible waves.
FOR ADVENTURES IN PORTUGAL, CLICK HERE
Only two hours from Miami – an incredibly cheap, unspoiled volcanic paradise with the Caribbean on one side and the Pacific not far away on the Western side – with some of the best sport fishing and warm water surfing in the world.