dreadhawk

ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 3: plaza, santa fe, punta pitt, quito, los angeles, seattle

Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 7 - June 17: Islas Plaza/Isla Santa Fe
South Plaza
Visit South Plaza, one of the smallest islands in the Galápagos, which has one of the largest populations of land iguanas. Walk along a path through a cactus forest and view a combination of dry and coastal vegetation on this lively island, home to a wide range of fauna, including incredible birdlife. Spot red-billed tropicbirds and indigenous swallow-tailed gulls resting on the cliffs, and sea lions playing in the waters.

Isla Santa Fe
Lace up your hiking boats to explore the island's flora and fauna. Trek toward the cliffs along the island's northern shore to see a forest of giant prickly pear cacti (Opuntia). See endemic land iguanas lounging in their favourite forest, and feasting on Opuntia pads and fruit.


i rolled out of bed at 7am for breakfast (cranberry-watermelon juice again, a favorite), then at 8 we disembarked for a dry landing at south plaza island. it looked like the noobs made us have our first rainy morning, but it dried up before we left the boat.

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dreadhawk

ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 2: chinese hat, rábida, egas, santiago, seymour, baltra

Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 4 - June 14: Chinese Hat/Isla Rábida
In the morning, the boat arrives at a small uniquely shaped island off the southern tip of Santiago called Chinese Hat. Here it is often possible to see Galápagos penguins, and the marine life is fantastic for snorkelling. There is also a large sea lion colony as well as many marine iguanas that can be seen while walking amongst the volcanic scenery. Trek to see good views of the island's volcano.

Isla Rábida
Arrive at a red sand beach at Rábida to explore its trails. A short trail leads to a saltwater lagoon; another trail goes past the lagoon to the interior, where the revered palo santo trees grow. (When burned, the branches of this tree give off a pleasing aroma and ward off mosquitoes.) Head back to the beach to see prehistoric-looking pelicans nesting among low-lying bushes - it's a rare treat to watch parent pelicans return with gullets full of fish for the squawking youngsters.


breakfast was scheduled for 7am & the first excursion at 8, but neither janet nor i needed an hour to eat, so we didn't roll out of bed until 7, which was great. we set off after eating to a little cove where birds were all over the place, diving for the huge swirling masses of sardines near the water's edge. i saw pelicans, great herons, several blue footed boobies, & tons of frigatebirds, plus sea lions eating big red fish (perhaps soldierfish), & blacktip sharks circling & driving the sardines inland. the zodiac then took us to chinese hat island. we made our way over the fine white sand to the lava rocks & tubes everywhere, & i made my favorite discovery - a tiny racer snake, also called the galápagos snake, who slipped out of view just after i finally got one clear photo of him. i only spotted him because i saw his tiny tail sliding under a rock, & recognized it as longer than a lava lizard's tail would be. so happy!

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dreadhawk

ecuador & the galápagos trip 2016 - part 1: seattle, quito, mosquera, isabela, puerto villamil

Galápagos - West, Central and East Islands
part 1 | part 2 | part 3



Day 0 - June 10: SEA to LAX to PTY
since my flight out wasn't until 6:30pm, i took my luggage to work with me & bossed until 3pm. aj was kind enough to truck my suitcase uphill to the light rail, & i made it to seatac without incident. that was the last smooth travel i'd experience getting to ecuador, though - the flight out of seattle was delayed an hour thanks to LAX air traffic; LAX was slammed & i had to stand forty minutes waiting for a boarding pass (which i then had to bully out of some highly incompetent woman at copa air) (& don't miss that they were filming a fucking reality show at my gate, so i had to deal with about thirty particularly gross-smelling backpackers with huge cameras & obnoxious attitudes); once i finally got on the copa flight to panama, we had to deboard thanks to a position light that needed maintenance; we boarded again an hour after THAT, which i knew would cause me to miss my connection to quito. yay!

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dreadhawk

i'm alone forever, but i can buy toys

my old phone, a galaxy s4 mini, was taking forever to load anything, ran really hot & had to be recharged twice a day, & a bunch of apps i liked were starting to break down without proper support... so i bought an s7. this is the first time i've been at the cutting edge of cell technology, & it's weird. the first week was all about disabling the oddest notifications:

- "hey there's wifi here! *text message sound*"
- "hey it's 2am & your battery is fully charged! *text message sound*"
- "hey you have one minute until your alarm goes off! *text message sound*"
- "hey you opened your shopping list app! *text message sound*"
- "hey you opened the SETTINGS for your shopping list app! *text message sound*"
- plus one that i haven't sussed yet because it's not giving a notification with the tone, just "*text message sound*" out of nowhere. THANKS? (actually, i think i got it; it did not *text message sound* me at the end of the block today.)

for some reason it insists on using my default messaging tone as the default SYSTEM tone, instead of using the system tone i set... so each of those stupid notifications made me think someone was texting me. BUT NOPE, NO ONE LOVES ME. my favorite was the battery full notification, which for some utterly unknown reason was set as a PRIORITY notification, which meant it disobeyed the 'do not disturb' setting i use overnight... but wasn't even in the list of apps that 'do not disturb' allowed me to set as priority or not, so i had to wait for it to notify me & then long-press on the notification to THEN have the ability to shut it down. OKAY WHY

but on the upside, it's fast as fuck, i like being able to unlock it with a fingerprint, it charges quickly, discharges less quickly than the s4 (the battery still only lasts about a day, or only most of a day depending on usage, but i can work with that), can do slow-mo video (oh there will be a slow-mo montage of my snakes striking f/t prey - the s4 didn't support this), has functional apps (i can snapchat on mobile data now; no clue why it only worked on wifi before), & i've extended it with a 64gb micro SD card which will be delightful when i travel (in the past i've put extra movies on my netbook or 16gb pendrive, but i won't have to do any pendrive-to-netbook-to-phone jockeying mid-flight anymore).

no boy, next toy?!?! i'm considering an oculus rift or gear vr or whatever. why not immerse myself further in my absolute solitary confinement? anything that distracts me from my starving isolation in this world for a minute right?!?!?! YAY

!!!!!!!!!

yay
dreadhawk

argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 4: antarctica to argentina to seattle

Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



Day 7 - March 10
first thing this morning, i found this amazing low cloud hanging outside the starboard windows. the thing was basically a stripe of cloud, practically eye-level. i rushed through a breakfast including waffles & scrambled eggs with very garlicky tomatoes (s'ok, i wouldn't be kissing anyone for another six days) so i could photograph it before it dissipated... but it hung around gloriously for the majority of our second continental landing, at brown station in paradise bay.

i was in the first two zodiacs - nice & dry, no snow today - so i went to the station first while everyone else took a zodiac cruise. brown is an old argentine station, & one of the biologists told us about a doctor who came here, had some "love issues", & ended up burning down one of the buildings. okay! we wandered about, & there was an uphill climb to a place where we were allowed to go sliding on our butts if we liked. as i'd done that the previous day, i sat in the snow & watched scenery & penguins for a while. Sit Down, Grandma came over & chatted with me. we talked about the costs of the trip, & though i thought she was giving me the "you got ripped off" side-eye, it turned out she paid nearly double my cost. granted she had a twin room instead of my triple, which would've been more expensive, but not even half again as much. apparently her travel agent in germany wasn't as great as mine in the states; sorry, SDG! it was a bit dicey walking back down, but as my ship-stock boots were several sizes too big, they actually helped me to stay upright.

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dreadhawk

argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 3: antarctica

Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



Day 4 to 8 - March 7-11: Exploring the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands
The South Shetland Islands are a haven for wildlife. Vast penguin rookeries, beaches ruled by Antarctic fur seals and Southern elephant seals make every day spent in this amazing island group unforgettable. Sailing through the narrow passage into the flooded caldera of Deception Island is truly amazing.

King George Island, the largest of the South Shetland Islands, features colonies of nesting Adélie and Chinstrap Penguins, Kelp Gulls, Blue-eyed Cormorants, Antarctic Terns and Southern Giant Petrels and is home to scientific bases of many different countries. Macaroni, Chinstrap and Gentoo Penguins as well as elephant seals await you at Livingston Island.

The Antarctic Peninsula’s remarkable history will provide you with a type of excitement often only associated with the early explorers. You will have plenty of time to explore its amazing scenery, a pristine wilderness of snow, ice, mountains and waterways, and an incredible wide variety of wildlife. Apart from penguins and seabirds you are very likely to see Weddell, crabeater and leopard seals as well as Minke, killer (orca) and humpback whales at close range.


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dreadhawk

argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 2: argentina to antarctica

Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



Day 1 - March 4: Depart from Ushuaia
Embark the USHUAIA in the afternoon and meet your expedition and lecture staff. After you have settled into your cabins we sail along the famous Beagle Channel and the scenic Mackinlay Pass.

finally my trip caught up with my itinerary. i had a lot of fun in the tiny bit of argentina i got to see, but the serious shit began today.

my window seat yielded some insane views of the martial mountains as we flew into ushuaia, & i tried to capture them with my phone. the airport's pretty small - one baggage claim, & it only took a minute or so to reach it. my bag was out quickly & i didn't have to go through customs since i was on a domestic flight.

i gleefully discovered that despite what i'd found online, the ushuaia malvinas airport DID have wifi. this was especially important because my ship didn't leave until 4pm, giving me about six hours to schlep my luggage around or buy a hotel room for an afternoon... & i had no desire to do either, especially the former on my horse-sore everything. i managed to find the one quiet, out-of-the-way spot that had wifi, a power outlet (with only a type I plug, making me happy i brought both adapters), *&* wasn't catching the breeze from outside. so i literally sat under a stairway for most of the day, heh. as time passed, i was joined somehow by three other women sitting around with camping gear. the only thing i camped was my power outlet. SORRY BITCHES, MY OUTLET MINE. XD

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dreadhawk

argentina & antarctica trip 2016 - part 1: seattle to buenos aires

Classic Antarctica Cruise
part 1 | part 2 | part 3 | part 4



day -3 - february 29: SEA to JFK to GRU
so this trip was really about antarctica; however, flights to the meeting point in ushuaia, at the southern tip of argentina, were ass, plus i had to pay a $160 "reciprocity fee" to get into argentina in the first place, so i said fuck it & decided to spend a few days tooling around buenos aires before the antarctic bit began. the three separate legs PLUS three nights at a hotel in buenos aires PLUS an extra overnight in ushuaia STILL cost less than going from seattle to ushuaia, & gave me a nice break from flying. but this day was all about flying.

i had a lovely sendoff dinner the night before with james, packed my bag perfectly, took a nap, then caught a ride to the airport. the 4am ride was surreal - it felt very "favorite sitcom's mid-season break" as i was driven past homey seattle landmarks i wouldn't be seeing for three weeks. due to spending nearly all of leap day traveling, it was decided that i thus earned my time lord badge. the seattle to new york leg was pretty nominal; i was through security quickly & ended up falling back asleep even before takeoff. at JFK airport, i snagged a surprisingly good corned beef sandwich at the brooklyn deli & didn't even try to resist buying a boston kreme dunkin donut. ah, nostalgia. my arrival & departure gates were two doors apart.

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dreadhawk

before the big icy

so yeah i booked a trip to the galápagos. :D i probably won't get to see the PINK IGUANAS as they're only in one tiny place and it would've cost me $1000 more to even get NEAR their area and NOT make landfall, but i'll surely see the marine & land iguanas that live out there, plus a million other animals. i got a great deal on the package, & even found a fantastic studio in ecuador for the Grammy Memorial Tattoo addition. it'll be interesting getting on another boat so soon after my antarctic trip, but i couldn't resist.

speaking of, i picked up these boots for antarctica. worn with wool socks & the silk longjohns i bought at REI, they should do a much better job of keeping my hooves warm than my docs would. i snagged a down jacket at goodwill for all of $20 (really didn't want to spend $300+ for an REI triclimate) & i'm also considering bringing my heated throw as there'll be an outlet in the room, but that'll depend mostly on storage space since i'm hoping to avoid checking luggage. i found a good tattoo studio in argentina, too, but the antarctica addition will wait until i'm back home since there isn't a shop in ushuaia.

it was a little sad finishing that big stack of concert/event tickets on my table - stomp was particularly good, as was the mythbusters live show - but i had a rush of new events pop up! so now i'm seeing the blue man group at the paramount in march, billy joel at safeco field in may, modest mouse at key arena in july, & the monkees on their 50th anniversary tour in september. :D violent femmes were just announced too, & i have every intention to grab those tickets. i ended up getting in on an amex pre-order for billy, & thus spent three times what i normally would on tickets - i've never been closer than nosebleed, but i had the opportunity to sit in section E on this map, & i took it. (i think only robinhoodvandal is jealous, but i don't care, i still love billy joel.) it's my second time seeing the monkees - i saw them waaaay back on my birthday in 1996 in illinois on their 30th anniversary tour - & i've seen the femmes probably a dozen times by now. i am old.

there's also something cool happening in april - national geographic international contacted me about using the footage i shot of little penguins in australia for a documentary they're doing on ultra-cute animals. so i'll be credited in that & receive a copy of the show, which i think is pretty rad.

my next update will be the antarctic travelogue! omg!
dreadhawk

general update *salutes*

oh hi. i haven't posted a general update in a while since i wrote so much for costa rica, so here are things.

for halloween, i went as budget medusa. i'll turn you into cardboard & bits of rock. pic includes my little blonde bangs dreads. :)


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in non-snake news, my awesome VP bought my boss & i raspberry pis for xmas, & i turned mine into a retropie. i have literally over seven thousand roms that can now be played on my tv. also tech-related, my netbook had broken in costa rica, but one of my employees used to work for dell & was able to bring it back to life with a $15 replacement motherboard. life is good.

i finished the painting i've been working on to go over my bedroom door. it's my first time working with textured medium, & it was a lot of fun. the font is kingthings spikeless for those interested, & i freehanded it on.


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upcoming fun: i'm throwing a movie night to watch "2001: a space odyssey" & "sneakers", neither of which i've seen; another movie night i'm calling "immoral support" to watch either "salò" or "a serbian film" (which i feel i should see since i'm into films, but neither of which i want to watch alone, hence the support); seeing stomp; seeing wussy (haven't heard their music, but they're what's left of the ass ponys, so why not!); hosting snake party 2.0; & probably another movie night for "close encounters of the third kind" which i've ALSO not seen... though i'm not sure if those last two will make it onto the books before i leave for argentina & antarctica. & my second trip this year maaaaay be out to the galápagos, 'cause the company taking me to antarctica is offering me a pretty nice deal...

i think that's it for now. oh, also i tacked on a quick update to the end of my costa rica travellogue. be prepared to aww.