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Galapagos ‘Add-On’ Tour to Napo Wildlife Center
I’m excited to be able to offer this trip five-day/four-night trip which will begin right after we return to Quito from the Galapagos. I wanted to share this wonderful place that has so many photographic (or just plain viewing & enjoying) opportunities that are totally opposite from the flora & fauna of the Galapagos Islands. My thinking is that we are already in the area, which saves on airfare, we are already packed with all our equipment, which saves on general ‘wear and tear’ of the stress of traveling, and it is a fabulous destination. This will be limited to eight people.
The Napo Wildlife Center Reserve is located in the Yasuni National Park. “Getting there” is part of the adventure. After a short 20 minute jet-hop to the town of Coca from Quito and a brief van ride to the dock located on the Napo River, we board a large, motorized, canopy-covered canoe… I’m having fun just thinking about it!!! We sit back and enjoy a wonderful, scenic two-hour trip down the Napo River until we come to the entrance of the NWC Reserve. Now get this… it’s the best part… we switch to smaller, dugout canoes and are paddled up the blackwater creek to the lake and lodge. (I am now playing my favorite roll in my fantasy world--- a lounging Cleopatra being paddled by her sherpas! Only difference is I’m holding a camera viewing & photographing the fabulous rainforest’s scenics, beautiful blackwater reflections and critters along the way!! Well, maybe that’s not the only difference, but you get my point).
There are all sorts of great things to see along the way: Potoos, jacamars, kingfishers, lizards, snakes, frogs & toads, are just a few samples of our entertainment. Soon you round a bend in the creek and float out onto a gorgeous little lake and behold the thatched roofs of the Napo Wildlife Center Lodge! This is a Five-Star lodge regarding its accommodations for guests, but more than that it is truly, a legitimate part of the conservation efforts for this area (and should be considered a ‘flagship’ for Ecuador’s conservation efforts by its example). Logging, market hunting, and oil extraction are all actively destroying local forests. The local community of Anangu Indians decided years ago that it was not going to succumb to the local pressures to destroy their forest. (Not everyone is greedy!) This is an oversimplification of what is a complex setup, but the bottom line is thatALL the proceeds from this lodge go directly to pay for the conservation of the 82 square miles of this pristine lowland rainforest!!! Knowing all this only enhances my desire to encourage tours (with or without me as your photo-tour guide) to this beautiful part of the world!!
A favorite spot of mine is the 12-story canopy tower built into the crown of the huge Ceiba tree where you’ll experience views usually experienced only by birds and monkeys. Spider monkeys or Howler monkeys may swing by your head in search of fruit, two species of large toucans call this area home, flocks of tanagers, or blue-and-yellow macaws may fly past your camera lens. During my last visit to Napo, I had fun trying to get a really great shot of the marching leaf ants right near my cabana---I didn’t get the great shot hoped for, but I had fun trying… after all… ‘It’s all in the journey!’
The canoe adventures are a photographic challenge as well as incredibly rewarding when such surprises as the giant otter suddenly springs up out of the lake inches from your nose & scolds you for treading near his territory. You frantically grab your camera, quickly compose and click… “got it”, you think, and maybe you did and maybe you didn’t, but it was still fun trying! ‘It’s all in the journey.’ There are terrific photo (or just plain viewing) “opps” out on the lake and creek near the lodge. A trip or two to the clay lick blinds is a must for my groups. At certain times of the day (which is like clockwork) various species of parrots (mealy, yellow-crowned, orange-winged, blue-headed parrots, & dusky-headed parakeets) & scarlet and/or red-and-green macaw flock to these areas to eat the clay. This entails some walking, but our guides will help us with our equipment, including our tripods. Boots are provided by the lodge as it can be muddy along the way. Boot tip to follow later.
The Cost is:
$2,300.00 per person (double occupancy)
Single Supplement is an additional $500.00
Accommodations & meals
Roundtrip Airfare Quito/Coca/Quito
Hotel in Quito upon return (1 night)
Park entrance fees
Trip Does Not Include:
Sodas (coke, ginger ale, etc.)
$500.00 DUE NOW “to hold your spot”
$500.00 due July 15, 2008
Bal. Due Nov. 1, 2008 including Single Supplement
It’s not everyday that I come across an item I feel strongly enough about to endorse and/or share with you, but this is a good one. As nature & wildlife photographers or birders and nature trekkers, we often have to ‘slop’ around in muck, mud, water, rain or snow, but we also need to be sure-footed with plenty of s upport, especially carrying the heavy equipment that I have to carry! Good boots with all the necessary attributes are usually very heavy and cumbersome to pack, and also add weight to our already-overweight luggage. (Anything less doesn’t give us the support & skid-free security we need….Until now!! ) They fold up around their sturdy soles making for easy packing, are waterproof, & slip on easily over your existing boot, sneaker, sandal, ballet shoe, or high-heel (just kidding) etc. To view and read details GO TO: www.overshoe.com/recreational/products/stabilicer.php
To order & get good stock & good service, I recommend calling and talking to MaryAnn Miller at Prairie Bilt Industries: www.prairiebiltsleds.com in Luverne, North Dakota at 701-769-2620 for that “good ol’boy/ol’girl” service we just don’t get too much of anymore!!
I purchased the Adventurer Overshoe-style boot, which covers just about all my needs in the boot department. By that I mean, they slip on easily over any of my shoes, sneakers, boots or spike heels that I am wearing in the field and come up high enough to keep my pant legs dry. By the way, don’t bother mentioning my name, Joanne Williams, expecting a discount, and/or even any recognition as I doubt that she or anyone at Prairie Bilt Industries would even have a clue… they are just good people, served me well, and I appreciate it. Hope you enjoy the boots and please do touch base about any of your experiences… Happy Trekking!!
“KEEP YOUR APERTURE YOUR PRIORITY”!!!
Photo Researchers, Editors, and Publishers:
As stated in previous newsletters, at no obligation to you, send me a “want list” of images you are looking for that may coincide with a trip I’m about to take, or have recently taken, and I’ll do my very best to seek out that subject and shoot it with your request in mind. This may save you some expense, give me a specific mission and possibly a sale of that image. It’s a ‘win, win situation’!
A quick reminder that my library of 35mm original slides houses approximately 75,000 images, and my digital library presently holds over 41,000 (and growing-hourly)!