Less Is More - Sold our home, sold our stuff.... Going on an adventure

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by Moose_DK, Dec 5, 2016.

  1. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    WOW, this is great. Thanks for taking the time to share with us.
  2. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Hiking on volcán Sierra Negra and Tsunami warning (Isabela)
    November 19, 2017
    Last minute we decided that we wanted to hike volcán Sierra Negra the day before leaving Isabela. Sierra Negra is a large shield volcano at the South eastern end of Isabela Island that rises to an altitude of 1124 meters.

    Sierra Negra means the black mountain

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    We only had three full days on Isabela and our program was packed, so we decided to go on a organized tour, which included transport to the volcano, a lunch box and a English speaking guide. You can DIY (do it yourself, but a lot of agencies will tell you, that you have to go on a tour with a guide), but then you have to find a way to get to the volcano and back (about 45 minutes each way). We used the same agency PAHOEHOE, but this time there was to many tourists, or at least the guide had a hard time handling all the tourists. We had all day, but a lot of the other tourist had to catch a boat in the afternoon back to Santa Cruz. Everything takes longer with a big group, and the guide was stressed out.

    So we pretty much walked in a big line of people

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    We tried to get the best out of the trip anyway, while the guide was trying to keep an eye out for everybody and telling us what to do and what not to do – it was tiring. At the top we were free to walk around, so we tried to get a few good photos. We did love the volcanic landscape, and the view was amazing.

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    On the top we walked on lava pumice (hardened lava), which was at first! It is almost like walking in very loose and light gravel. The Lava pumice is very light, due to all the air pockets created from the gases during the eruption.

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    p align=”center”>Have a look… can you see the face of a grumpy old man in the lava stone in the left picture?

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    The walk to volcán Sierra Negra is 8 km, but you only climb 200 meters in elevation, which makes it an easy walk. On the way to the top we walked a long the crater ridge. The volcano has the largest crater of all of the Galapagos volcanoes, with dimensions of 7.2 x 9.3 km, with the long axis being south west to north east. The crater is also the shallowest of the Isabela volcanoes at only 100 meters.

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    Panoramic pictures of the crater

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    The last eruption was in October 2005. In the picture the darkest path of lava in the crater are from the latest eruption

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    It was time to leave Isabela. Transportation between the islands is mainly by boat (or smaller airplanes). The boats leave in the morning and in the afternoon. The distance between the islands is 80-90 km and the trip takes about 2 hours this time of the year, because the sea is rough. We arrived on Isabela from Santa Cruz by boat. “YES” the boat ride was rough, and I as loaded up on one of my seasickness pills. When we finally came to our hotel on Isabela, we could check in early and slept for two hours. To go by boat from Isabela to San Christobal we would have to take one boat in the morning from Isabela to Santa Cruz, and in the afternoon you take a second boat from Santa Cruz to San Christobal. Because of my seasickness a day like that on the ocean, would make me sick all day. Even when I take the seasickness pills I feel sick, it just prevents me from throwing up.

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    Instead we decided to take a small airplane from Isabela to San Christobal. The night before flying to San Christobal, there was a Tsunami warning. Everybody had to leave their hotels and homes. Everybody met at a meeting point, and all the vehicles in town started to drive people to higher lands away from the cost.

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    We were a wake for 3 hours during the night. In was a huge earthquake in Mexico, north of Galapagos, that caused the Tsunami warning. The Tsunami that hit Baltra Island was 0,5 meters high, but you never know how big the wave will be, and when you can se the wave it is to late. We never made it away from the evacuation point to the highlands, and the warning was called of at 4 am. The next morning we were tired, we got up had breakfast, had a nap, checked out, had lunch and walked to Isabela Airport.

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    Not the busiest airport in the world – at least we didn’t have to stand in line [​IMG]

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    It was a great decision! The plane ride was only 30-40 minutes and smooth. I didn’t even had to take a pill, and I felt great all day. In total we just had a lot more energy when we arrived to San Christobal. We didn’t have clear sky, but enjoyed the flight anyway [​IMG].

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    Arriving at San Christobal island

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  3. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    DIY! Tarzan’s house is on the Galapagos (San Christobal)
    November 22, 2017
    Did you know that Tarzan’s house is on San Christobal Island?

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    This house is built up in a huge Ceibo tree, that is estimated to be more the 300 years old. It is also called “Casa Ceibo” and you can visit or rent the house. It sleeps two persons.

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    Don’t be afraid of heights! But where is Tarzan?

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    There he is… or at least he is my Tarzan

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    The place is worth a visit, and you can climb down underneath the tree – really cool. It reminded me about a Danish fairytale called “Fyrtårnet” written by the famous author Hans Christian Andersen. In English the fairytale is called “Tinderbox” – you should read it [​IMG]

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    Can’t tell you what is downstairs, but you can visit and find out yourself [​IMG]. The place is also known to serve banana cake. We bought just one piece to share, but it was quite dry, so we bought an ice cream with passion fruit (In Spanish “Maracuya”) flavor, that was really good. Back on the bicycles Esben was really glad, that is as going downhill all the way back, because the way to Tarzan’s house was tough (left picture). Esben really was my Tarzan this day, and picked fresh oranges.

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    On San Christobal we cooked all our meals. Buying fresh fruit, vegetables, plantains, cheese and a lot of fresh tuna. I cut of skin and bones, and I could cut 4 tuna steaks out of the piece of tuna, that you see in the right picture. It is the best tuna we have ever had!

    Love tuna – love Galapagos – eat local [​IMG]

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    The house dog loved to eat the leftovers

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    On San Christobal we didn’t go on any tours, but we did DIY (do it yourself) activities. So in the morning we read for our PADI diving course, and in the afternoon we went exploring: (1) Tarzan’s house, (2) the Galapagos dogs at Playa Mann, (3) snorkeling at the beaches north of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno and (4) visiting the Interpretative Center.

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    p align=”center”>Puerto Baquerizo Moreno

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    Punta Carola

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    Muella Tijeretas – here the water was really cold but clear. We spotted a sea turtle and a few sea lions

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    Just the walk to the beach is amazing

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    We passed by this huge statue of Charles Darwin

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    Every night we enjoyed the sunset

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  4. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

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    Tres Bien, I wonder why the ocean is so cold near the equator?
  5. everready

    everready Stuck in Ohio....Ugh!!!

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    Darwin must have had some BIG hands!
  6. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    More great pictures and information. :super
  7. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Hi.. It has to do with ocean currents. in the fall the Humboldt current from the antarctic flows north along the chile, peru and equador cooling the ocean and coast.
    It brings lots of nutrients for the animals. So more fish to see when diving but colder.
    Around December the current changes and the Panama current from north will be dominant and bring warmer water and more clear weather. The is why tourist season is from December :-)
    deep down in the ocean is a third current. the Cromwell current comes from west and brings cold water and nutrients. Especially to the western islands in Galapagos.
    Especially the flightless cormorant and the Galapagos penguin lives in these areas..

    I hope this little explanation helps..
  8. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    The famous Galapagos dogs (San Christobal)
    November 24, 2017
    You can’t miss them! The sea lions are everywhere, just like wild dogs in Central and South America

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    We do like the sea lions better than the dogs, because they don’t bark and are more friendly [​IMG]. Most of our pictures are from Playa Mann on San Christobal.

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    The Galapagos sea lion is a species that primarily breeds in the Galapagos Islands, although some breeding colonies also occur on Isla de la Plata just off of mainland Ecuador. The Galapagos sea lions are slightly smaller than their Californian relatives, Galápagos sea lions range from 150 to 250 cm (59 to 98 in) in length and weigh between 50 to 250 kg (110 to 550 lb), with the males averaging larger than females. There is a large degree of sexual dimorphism, with males weighing up to four times that of females (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galápagos_sea_lion).

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    p align=”center”>Here on San Christobal they are everywhere – we love it, and it make Galapagos so special to us [​IMG]

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    They are not ‘true’ seals, as they are able to rotate their hind flipper under their pelvic girdle and lack the characteristic long, finger-like claws of true seals. The configuration of their pelvic girdle allows them to ‘gallop’ across land, reaching speeds exceeding that of a running person on rocky terrain (Source: http://galapagosconservation.org.uk/wildlife/galapagos-sea-lion/). Looks funny but are actually pretty fast.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]They can dive to depths of up to 350 meters and can stay underwater for 10 minutes. They spend a lot of their time resting on beaches or playing, and are generally inquisitive.

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    It is amazing how they just blend in with the locals

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    There is a rule in the Galapagos National Park to keep a distance of 2 meters to all animals, but it can be ready difficult when the sea lions gets curious. First the baby sea lion just looked at Esben, but it just had to get a little bit closer. It was amazing of us just to sit on the beach together with the sea lions, and one of the sea lions got so close that it walk across my feet in the sand. It is also important to respect the animals, especially the males, that will let you know if you get to close or if they want you to move (they can bite).

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    We visited in the mating season, that usually occurs between July and December, but can differ from island to island. The mothers will take the young pups with them into the water while nursing until around the 11th month, when the pups are weaned from their mother’s milk and become dependent on their own hunting skill.

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    p align=”center”>This pup had just been born

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    The pups immediately start to consume milk from their mother’s body. This milk contains more than 50% of nutrients which helps them to grow at a very fast rate. This is also responsible for helping the young Sea Lions to develop the layers of fat called blubber that they need to stay warm (Source: http://www.sealion-world.com/sea-lion-reproduction/).

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    Can you stand more pictures of the sea lions? We enjoyed them everyday on San Christobal [​IMG]

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  9. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Scuba diving on Galapagos
    November 26, 2017
    Our new friends Sally and Collins Smith, who we actually met in the Quito airport. We checked in, but they had some trouble… after several tries they found out, that they had showed up in the airport one day early. So they had to wait until the next day to fly to Galapagos. After spending some time with them, Collins told us that he had been a professional diver for 20 years and has seen and done everything there is to do under water. We talked about talking a scuba diving course, so we could experience the wildlife underneath the surface. Collins told us, that the Galapagos is the best place to dive in the world. After a long, but amazing conversation we decided that we would take the PADI Open Water and Advanced course while on Galapagos.

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    Our first dive was in a pool, were we trained the basic skills and got more used to the gear – but first we had to get use to putting the wetsuit on and it was tight!

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    I did get into it, and I also manage to fit a short wetsuit underneath, because the water temperature was 18-20 Celsius – we agreed that is felt colder than that [​IMG]. After the training dive, we were ready to have our first open water dive.

    Ready – set – GO!

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    On the diving course we went to recognized diving locations around Santa Cruz island. All our dives started at Canal de Itabaca and off we went in the boat. This is the world we met underwater!

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    p align=”center”>A huge school of fish!

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    A lot of marble rays in different sizes (left picture) and the Galapagos shark with can grow to a length of 3 meters (right picture)

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    The whitetip reef shark. A small shark usually not exceeding 1.6 m (5.2 ft) in length

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    To the left: spotted eagle rays. To the right: golden cownose rays that has a venomous stinger located on the tail

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    Our favorite, the sea turtles, going after a jellyfish and eating the jellyfish

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    We had our deep dive (30 meters) at “Gordon Rocks” which is a great place for spotting hammerhead sharks and sea turtles. We didn’t see any hammerhead sharks, it most be some other time in the future, but instead there was sea turtles everywhere. It was just amazing, to be able to swim right next to it.

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    Beside all the diving we also had a few classes in the evening. Meet our instructor Israel, that together with his college Freddy took us safely throw the courses, and giving us all the great experiences underwater. We did our PADI course at Eagleray Tours (http://www.eagleraytours.com.ec/). We were really satisfied with the diving, gear and instructors. You can read our review “Scuba diving course” on TripAdvisor: https://www.tripadvisor.dk/ShowUser...ora_Santa_Cruz_Galapagos_Islands.html#REVIEWS

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    We also did a navigation dive, and at 30 meters (were a lot of divers experience nitrogen narcosis) we had to make calculations and solve other tasks. Yes, we did it! Now we are certified PADI Open Water and Open Water Advanced divers. New adventures a just waiting for us underneath the surface. This is also Esben favorite sport now, because he doesn’t have to move lot and he can go explore and take pictures at the same time. On his wishlist is a waterproof box for his camera (Olympus TG-5).

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  10. adventurebound9517

    adventurebound9517 Been here awhile

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    You guys are living the dream. I'm so glad that you get everything on your bucket list done. Also truly happy that your taking us along. Fantastic pictures and reporting. :deal
  11. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile

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    Ok, that is an awesome trip.
  12. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Goodbye Glorious Galapagos
    November 29, 2017
    It was just such a strange feeling to leave Galapagos. We don’t know if we will ever come back, but we hope that we will. Things are also changing a lot on the Galapagos, and what effect will that have on nature and wildlife in the long run? Only time can tell.

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    p align=”center”>The hardest part was to say goodbye to the wildlife

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    Big or small, underwater or in the sky – being so close with the wildlife was the number 1. thing for us on our trip to Galapagos

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    We are both grateful for all the pictures we have taking – but a special thanks to Esben, my photographer [​IMG] [​IMG]

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    Esben bought a souvenir – a new cap, and left the old one on Galapagos

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    The airplane is waiting! It is time to go back to our motorcycles in Quito. Goodbye Glorious Galapagos [​IMG]

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  13. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    I was surprised that I could fit into my gear after all that food. We have not eaten so much meat for a LONG time – wauw it was great. With our (over)filled stomachs we were back on the motorcycles taking in the amazing views as we got closer to Laguna Quilotoa. The area has great hiking, which we could use after eating all that food.

    The amazing landscape and amazing ride

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    Laguna Quilotoa

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    Quilotoa is a water-filled creater and the most western volcano in the Ecuadorian Andes. The 3-kilometer (2 miles) wide crater was formed by the collapse of this volcano following a catastrophic eruption about 800 years ago, which produced pyroclastic flows and lahars that reached the Pacific Ocean, and spread an airborne deposit of volcanic ash throughout the northern Andes. The crater has since accumulated a 250 m (820 ft) deep crater lake, which has a greenish color as a result of dissolved minerals (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quilotoa). The highest point on the rim is 3,915 meters, which makes it possible for the frailejones to grow here.

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    It was getting late and the sun had started to set. Sunrise and sunset is at 6 am and 6 pm – we are still on the equator. We had a “rent a dog” for the night after feeding it with some old bread.

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    The dog laid next to the tent all night keeping other dogs and people away – the next morning we had Danish Rye bread with some kind of ham and ketchup. So how was the Rye bread – well compared to the ones you buy in the supermarket this was still pretty dry, but it still tasted like Rye bread. We have not had Rye bread for more than 7 months so we really enjoyed it.

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    Back on the motorcycles we had a long day a head to Montanita driving down through the mountains towards the ocean

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    Passing trucks to keep up the speed – and the big corn, I love corn [​IMG]

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    Getting closer to the beach we passed by a dessert like area with ceibo trees

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    The Ceibo is the national tree of Argentina, and its flower the national flower of Argentina and Uruguay. Yes, I know that we are only in Ecuador. It is a flowering tree in the family Fabaceae, native to Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil and Paraguay. The tree flowers in the summer, from October to April in their native South America (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erythrina_crista-galli). So no flowers yet, because we are only in the beginning of October.

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    p align=”center”>Getting closer to the beach, where everything turned into a green wilderness!

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    Before we reached Montanita it was already dark, the last 30-45 minutes we drove in the dark – which we usually would never do. It is just to dangerous to drive when it is dark. This time Esben almost hit a horse, that was trying to cross the road without any light turned on. Stupid horse! Let our daily life begin in Montanita.
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  14. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile

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    Awesome!
  15. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    Dead or alive? Life in Montanita
    December 7, 2017
    Was very lucky to find this green sea turtle nesting on the beach, but other sea turtles have not been that lucky!

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    Montanita is a small village with the best surf in Ecuador! The locals surf, but they also play a lot of soccer (futball) on the beach [​IMG]

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    Yes, we suck at surfing… but decided to spend 2 weeks here in the off season, where we would replace the adventure with a more normal daily life. The plan was healthy food, exercise and long walks on the beach.

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    p align=”center”>I don’t know if we felt more dead or live after our first visit in the local gym

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    The normal unhealthy hotdog was replaced by the Ecuadorian hotdog, a grilled plantain with fresh cheese. Come on Esben – give me a smile [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]!

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    We bought local produce! For breakfast our favorite was fried plantains with fresh cheese (in Spanish: “queso fresco”) and a local grown tomato called “tomate de arbol” – don’t eat the peel (in the left picture). Yes, I still love corn and found the local corn called “choclo”. Our source of protein was primarily eggs and chicken, but was lucky to buy fresh tuna one day.

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    We had rented a room on Airbnb 4 km south of Montanita in a local neighborhood. We loved to walk on the beach [​IMG], and our host, Tannia allowed us to take her dog, Shadow with us.

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    The dog loved the beach!

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    More walking from the beach – trying to act like an angel

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    Just enjoying the simple life, the comfortable temperature of 23-24 Celsius and no other tourists

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    Todays deaths on the the beach… we also saw more than just one dead sea turtle. There is a lot of fishing in the area north and south of Montanita, which can be the course of all the dead sea turtles. They get court in the fishing net, and die of suffocation.

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    Its been a while since we have seen so many dead animals on the beach – this is a blue footed booby

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    Are you looking at me?

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    Dead and alive

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    During low tide it was possible to take some amazing close ups of the natural life in the small pools

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    In the low season the sky is overcast and everybody is just hanging out. The guys selling sunglasses to the few tourist were having a really hard time due to the cloudy weather, still they passed us about five time trying to sell us new sunglasses.

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    Everything and everybody is just really “Tranquillo” here

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    You probably know us to well… we can’t spend two weeks without any adventure – where there is water, there is an adventure!
    scudo and Photowriter like this.
  16. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

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    The adventure above and underneath the surface (whales and manta rays, Puerto Lopez)
    December 10, 2017
    Jumping humpbacks and a giant manta ray – what an adventure!

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    It was not just one adventure but two. We drove an hour north of Montanita to Puerto Lopez after hearing, that it was season for humpback whales (the season starts in mid-June and ends in October). Puerto Lopez is a small fishing village with 16,000 inhabitants. The local fishermen attract sea birds as they load of the morning’s catch.

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    It was in the beginning of October and we were hoping to see some whales together with Mr. and Mrs. Smith

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    Our guide told us that we were guarantied to see whales and we didn’t sail for long before we saw the first one flipping its tale in the water.

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    We were getting closer and closer to the whales, and one was coming straight against the boat

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    The humpback whales are known for jumping, but at the same time is was the end of the season, so nothing was sure. BUT – the amazing thing happened, and a humpback whale jumped out of the water.

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    It happen again and again and again – it was just one of the most amazing things to see that close. Esben even got this great serious of photos of one of the whales jumping, and this whale is just a child. Click on the picture to get it in full size and quality [​IMG]

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    We were “whale-high”, but had to say goodbye to the whales

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    The whale-watching tour included snorkeling at a nearby reef. We haven’t been snorkeling after taking our PADI scuba diving course on Galapagos, and was surprised how our ability to see underwater life had improved. All the scuba diving on the Galapagos islands have improve our skills to find and see animals underwater. We had a blast snorkeling, and the water was not really cold – but chilly.

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    Some great photos and for the first time I spotted a moraine eel (right picture)

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    Like I said – one adventure just wasn’t enough, and once again we sailed out from Puerto Lopez – but this time we were hoping to scuba dive with giant manta rays.

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    BUT, the conditions were very rough with strong current at the dive site, and we didn’t even got under the surface the first time we tried. The dive master decided to set a buoy, which we could use for descent and finally we were under water.

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    But no luck – no manta rays in the first dive. I really suffered because of my seasickness, and had to take an extra pill for the seasickness before the second dive. I manage to complete the second dive, but felt really sick, so I didn’t wanted t move away from the anchor line. The other divers took of, but Esben and another dive instructor stayed with me. To our luck a giant manta ray came by and staed with us for 15 minutes or so.

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    The dive master estimated it to be 6-7 meters in wingspan – one of the largest ones she had ever seen

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    Incredible – despite of my condition I am really happy, that I manage to take some good photos of Esben and the giant manta ray

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    I barely made it to the surface before I threw up into the water – at this moment I was glad that the current was strong, so it quickly carried away my puke. I slept almost all the way back to shore – but it was worth all the trouble to see that giant manta ray. Will we do it again – yes, we will, though I still hate to throw up.
    ShimrMoon, Brick Top, scudo and 11 others like this.
  17. roadcapDen

    roadcapDen Ass, Grass or Gas, no free rides.

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2012
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    GTA, ON, CDA
    Living the adventure dream, thanks!
  18. bbanker

    bbanker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2011
    Oddometer:
    119
    Location:
    Beautiful NC
    WOW!
  19. TheNetworker

    TheNetworker Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2014
    Oddometer:
    198
    Location:
    Germany, Lower Saxony
    Great pictures - awesome!!!
  20. Moose_DK

    Moose_DK Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Nov 26, 2007
    Oddometer:
    761
    Location:
    Denmark
    Nightlife and chocolate croissants (Montanita)
    December 13, 2017
    High season is from December to April, where everybody comes to Montanita to party – and smoke weed.

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    Our friends from Galapagos Mr. and Mrs. Smith had also decided to come to Montanita, so we took a day of from the healthy lifestyle and went out for drinks! Of course we walked into town…

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    Started out with ceviche – it was not anything special, so I had to spice it up by myself. After visiting Mexico we learned that everything taste better with hot sauce!

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    The guys who made the ceviche was a lot more fun – and for desert we all had a choco-banana with roasted peanuts – how about those drinks?

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    Sat down at one of the small outdoor cocktail bars, where we had our own bartender. AND, if your drink wasn’t strong enough the bartender would just spice it up for free. I am pretty sure that his plan was to get us drunk from just one drink, and then trying to convince us to stay for more.

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    This is the best drinks we have had since we left Denmark, but it was so strong that I could only tolerate one without getting too drunk

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    Stopping for a late night snack before walking back home – and an extra drink [​IMG]

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    With all that exercise and healthy food, there was also room for a treat – and a bakery in Montanita had the best chocolate croissants we have ever tasted. We don’t know how they managed to put so much Nutella (pretty sure that it was Nutella and not real chocolate) in one croissant. They were delicious.

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    scudo, everready, Photowriter and 4 others like this.