Anthony on the Gringo Trail 2005 travel blog

My room, or at least my outside hammock

Steph and Gemma feeling unwell on the way to Isla de La...

One end of a humpback whale

The other end of a humpback whale

Pair of comedy blue-footed boobies

Pelicans and fisherman

Posh end of Puerto Lopez, note car and brick building

The little monkey's are called marmosets and look cute from a distance, but up close you can see the evil and madness in their eyes.

For some reason I can't get any kind of mobile reception in Ecuador.

The bus journey here was 6.5 hours (not 3.5), and our little group has now expanded to include a German couple called Jascha and Nina. I am really in my stride on the travelling buzz, and having a really great time most of the time, as new stuff unfolds.

Anyway, I was getting extremely desperate for a piss after about five hours into this 3.5 hour journey, but didn't want to be the woossey gringo who stopped the bus, but then luckily (sort of) it broke down. After much fannying around and rescue by another bus we made it into Puerto Lopez several hours later.

Puerto Lopez is a very nice sandy and undeveloped-for-now-but-not-for-long bay on the Pacific, and still in the throes of travelling I booked my ticket out before I realised how nice it was, I would have liked to chill here a few days, it is so nice. It is well chilled, but lacks the stoners normally associated with anywhere chilled, though I guess its only a matter of time. In a very nice beach hostel place and all booked up to go whale-watching tomorrow.

6th Sep: Got my ticket changed this morning, out early watching the trucks driving around the pigs lying in the dirt-packed streets. Then off we all go whale-watching. All in all two russians (?) four english, two germans, a scandinavian of some kind and two ecuadorians. We paddle out to our boat, and then roar off out to sea. After a while we find a group of about six or so humpback whales and then spend a fair bit of time following them around. This was fab. They were like enormous dolphins and even went under the boat, but generally just swam around. Best of all though was when they breach, which means jump out of the water. They do this with sort of a half twist and then land on their back with a big thumpy splash, and it is awesome to see. What it also is is very hard to photo, as you can see from the lack of pics of breaching whales, but Gemma got a great shot of one breaching, so when she mails me it, I will add it.

Then we continue on to this island sixty miles out at sea, paddle ashore and then go for a walk around it. What was great about this was how tame the wildlife was. Our small group of four english and two germans had a naturalist guide who only spoke Spanish, so I did my best to translate...I think we generally got the gist of it. All the birds on the island just sat there and we could go right up to them, no fear. Best of all were the extremely comedic blue-footed boobies, who are unwittingly very amusing. I can't post video here, so you will have to come round my house to see the booby comedy walk.

Then back to the island beach and the hardier amongst us go swimming. We may be only two degrees south of the equator here, but the water is cooled by the Humboldt current all the way from Antarctica. I felt right at home, and therefore did not go in. Then we roared off back to Ecuador again, and the best bit of the whole trip. There were a couple of humpbacks, breaching again and again (though still no pics from me!). Just great.

Gemma and Steph left for Quito, much the worse for what I believe is dysentery, not at all helped by the long sea trips and walks. Jascha, Nina and I had a nice meal (great sea food here) and another exhausted early night.

Sep 7th: Got up slowly, repacked - which I find has to be done at least once a week when travelling - and spent a great morning chilling out on one end of the bay, picking up nice blue stones and watching flocks of pelicans fish, which is fun. A lot of time spent updating this, unsuccesfully trying to get my e-mails, and succesfully booking somewhere to stay in Quito for tomorrow night, where amongst other things I hope to climb 5,900 metre Cotopaxi Volcano. Bye for now!

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