Posts in Ecuador

GalleryUp on high

This afternoon we set out to see the lookout tower - a 30m high steel jobbie with platforms every 10m and a ladder to climb up. We hoped it wouldn't be too bootleg or rickety. When we arrived, it was more impressive than we'd imagined but that didn't do much to quell my height fright.

Matt's mental image of the tower had apparently involved an open "cage" constructed like dinosaur ribs around the ladder, with a rib every 4 feet. Which is exactly what this tower looked like. My mental picture was really more of a bouncy castle-looking thing, with one of those huge air-filled streamers to break my fall. The real thing did not instill much confidence. While those cages may be built to prevent you from falling out horizontally, their only practical purpose for me was stirring up visions of braining yourself or breaking limbs. So naturally I made it about 15 feet up the steel rungs before my arms and legs went all jelly-like and I climbed down. Matt, on the other hand, gallantly climbed the whole way to document it for your and my enjoyment.  View Gallery »

GalleryA wall of green

The infamous wall.

At first it's an utterly overwhelming, continuous wall of green. But as your eyes grow accustomed to this pattern of vines and leaves you begin to uncover the world just under the veil... mostly comprised of bugs and fungi and other awesome stuff. Here's a bit of what we've been seeing on our walks through the Yasuní trails.  View Gallery »

GalleryReports from the jungle

We've been keeping ourselves busy getting sweaty and stung and stumbling around in the woods with our newfound friends of biology. Unfortunately, we are equipped with neither a close nor far lens. So what you'll see is largely the perspective we've been viewing everything from - a healthy arms length. Hope you enjoy a glimpse into our life in the jungle! View Gallery »

StoryLions and tigers and bears...

Some of the students here roam the jungle by day (specifically those on plant duty) and some roam at night (most critters are more active at night). Over the breakfast table today we learned of the night's events for those studying a species of frog. There are actually three groups here studying the same species of frog. While they have different aims, this particular frog is easy to catch and therefore popular for study. It seems if they could just get the damn things to survive in a lab - they've tried, but they generally don't even make it alive to Quito - no one would need to even venture out into the rainforest to study them. 

We're going to start tagging along in the evening with one of the groups, but Matt is waiting until I've… errr… acclimatized myself to the idea of woolly ... View Story »

Welcome to the jungle

After we waited for our cabbie to show this morning, he took us 1 1/2 hours from Coca, east across a well-kept paved private oil road to Pompeya, a small village on the north side of Rio Napo. We waited an hour for our canoe to show and when it didn't we hitched a ride with one of the motor boats schlepping people across the river. After making our way through the RepSol checkpoint, and putting our luggage and persons through the X-rays, one of the administrators, Carlos, picked us up in his truck. We took the oil road, rocks and dirt this time, another 1 1/2 hours to Yasuní.

We passed a few small villages and school children on our way, including a group of Huaorani in helmets and vests working for the Company (this company being RepSol). We questioned Carlos about the station, ... View Post »

Yasuni, here we come

The world's largest (and possibly ugliest) rodent, the capybara, is staying in our hotel in Coca, Ecuador. We've also been visited by a couple of squirrel monkeys. We're staying overnight in this overgrown oil town to wait for our contact at the station to sort out the right paperwork - i.e. make sure the oil mongers who control the road know we've got legit passports and yellow fever shots. So we'll be getting picked up tomorrow around 9am, taking a 1 1/2 hour ride to a canoe, cross the river for 10 minutes and then it's another 1 1/2 hours to the station. Rainforest, huzzah. 

Come with us to Ecuador

Track us on our 26 hour bus ride from Lima, Peru to Guayaquil, Ecuador. Hopefully our GPS will work!

We just put up a bunch of photos from our travels in Peru. Check 'em out -

We're on the bus now en route to Ecuador. It's going to be about 47 hours of bus time, but we're taking the safest and cushiest route with Cruz del Sur. Yasuni, we'll be there in 4 buses, one cab and a canoe.

We had our final nightmare with the post in Peru and are feeling lighter without the extra stuff and will be thankful to never have to enter a Peru post office again.

More soon!