Archive for Beauty Posts

published in Animals, Beauty, Dreams/Goals, Inspiration, Photos, Travel by Maryanne | August 15, 2019 | 2 Comments

Great Galapagos…is That a Giant Tortoise or What?! – Ecuador Photo Blog #4

 

Iguana pals on rock, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”

– Charles Darwin, 1800 – 1882

Wow, wow, wow…

From sea lions, sharks and dolphins to iguanas (land and marine), Blue Footed Boobies, Darwin’s famous finches, flamingos and, of course, the giant tortoises, seeing the wildlife of the Galapagos was a dream come true.

Our five days there were jam-packed with seeing animals, swimming, snorkeling, eating, boating, hiking…and locking out my travel companion’s credit card. Oops 🙂

Let’s start with the giant tortoises…

The males can weigh up to 500 pounds. A giant tortoise can live up to 150 years.

Whoops…wrong end.

Tortoise love

Iguanas…

Iguana in the mangroves, Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island

Iguana crossing

“Each species is a masterpiece, a creation assembled with extreme care and genius.”

– Edward O. Wilson

Sassy Sea Lions…

Sea lion yoga on dock, Santa Cruz Island

 

Sea lions lounging on park bench, Isabella Island

Snorkeling Shenanigans (Homo Sapiens)…

MA & Lynne happy on boat (before the credit card incident)

Team Snorkel

 

A delightful lunch on board…

 

Back home again in Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island

Lovely Isabella Island…

White-tipped reef shark

 

Lone flamingo

And then we had crepes…

Right after this photo was taken, Lynne and I had a scrumptious feed of crepes and beer…possibly more beer than crepes, which might partly explain the credit card faux pas. When the time came for me to pay my bill, I cheerfully punched in my PIN. Wrong number. I punched it in again. Wrong number. I punched it in a third time, which is when I remembered that you only get three chances. Wrong number again.

“That’s odd,” I (finally) thought to myself then pulled my credit card out of the machine.

Except, of course, it was not my credit card. It was Lynne’s. No wonder my PIN didn’t work! So I casually handed Lynne her card back and said (rather softly), “Your card is probably locked out.”

“Pardon me?” she said.

“I’m pretty sure your card won’t work anymore,” I said sheepishly, then took another sip of beer (why stop now?).

It didn’t (which was confirmed after a rather panicky call to her credit card company). There ended Lynne’s access to her credit card.

Thankfully, she had a second card. So all’s well that’s end well. The moral of this story is be careful who you travel with. No wait…that’s not right. Always have a back-up credit card…yes, that’s the lesson here 🙂

Related Blogs by Maryanne

Surviving Inti Raymi – Ecuador Photo Blog #3

Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

About Experience International Study Tours

Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track.  Please click here for details. 

About Altropico

Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Beauty, Inspiration, Synchronicity, Travel by Maryanne | July 31, 2019 | No Comment

Magical Moran – Ecuador Photo Blog #2

 

Moran, Northern Ecuador

“I believe the world is incomprehensibly beautiful – an endless prospect of magic and wonder.”

– Ansel Adams

Funny how life comes full circle

In northern Ecuador, we had the option of having an overnight community stay in either Moran or Morochos…or neither, if that sort of thing wasn’t our cup of tea.

Lynne and I chose Moran, a small community of 11 families dedicated mostly to livestock and subsistence agriculture, as well as a few nature tourism activities. Moran used to be a destination for trekking tourism but this stopped a few years ago. Due to the remote location and tiny population, there’s a lack of government support even though the stunning natural landscape makes it a special and unique place.

With the support of the Altropico Foundation and other organizations, the community is working to bring tourism back as a sustainable activity to help with income generation in nature protected areas.

When Lynne first told me about Moran (and that our tour even had community stay opportunities), my ears perked up. Way back when (1992), after getting my BA in General Studies with a focus on Leisure & Tourism, I was accepted to Queen’s University to get my Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning. I was interested in tourism planning – working with local communities to develop socially and environmentally sustainable tourism.

That’s what the plan had been (at that point, I was still putting off my writing dream).

In the end, I decided not to get my Master’s. Instead, I chose love 🙂 and moved to British Columbia with my boyfriend, John (and had far more fun than actually getting any writing done). The rest, as they say, is history.

When Lynne and I (and about a third of the tour group) first arrived in Moran, the beauty and serenity of the landscape was striking:

Perhaps even a little magical. Moran is where the Sadie look-alike wandered out of the forest to say hello. This happened less than a week after Sadie’s death and, for some reason, seeing this dog helped my heart heal. I just got the sense (yet again) that everything is connected and weird little coincidences like this could be a sign of sorts that I am right where I need to be…and all is unfolding as it should.

MA & the Sadie look-alike…the ONLY senior red-coated Golden Retriever I saw during my 3 weeks in Equador (in Canada, they are a dime a dozen)

After this, we went on a hilly hike to a gorgeous waterfall, with many laughs (and selfies) along the way:

Lynne, MA & our Altropico guide, Sante

 

MA & Linda triumphant

Love this shot of the group wandering back from the hike through the mist:

This is the home some of us stayed in (and where other travelers will stay):

Lynne & MA outside our Moran home

 

Some of the family we stayed with…the community leader, Carlos, is in the red hat

Adorable kids (who were rather fascinated with us):

 

We spent a morning helping fill potholes in the road:

If you are heading to Ecuador and are interested in having a unique cultural experience within the tranquil setting of this delightful community, please contact the Altropico Foundation.

Although I certainly couldn’t offer the community much in the way of sage advice in terms of tourism planning (not that they need it…with Carlos at the helm and Altropico involved, I have no doubt Moran will achieve it’s sustainability goals), what I can do is write a travel blog about this lovely community. Full circle indeed 🙂

More cool cacti on the road back from Moran

About Experience International Study Tours

Experience International (EI) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational organization based in Bellingham, Washington. Incorporated in 1988, their mission is to embrace and create opportunities for international understanding and human resource development through technical and cultural exchange in a wide spectrum of disciplines including but not limited to agriculture and natural resources. EI also works with community and choral groups of all ages that travel and often sing to celebrate human diversity, peace, and social justice; to exchange and share with local groups and communities off the beaten track.  Please click here for details. 

About Altropico

Altropico is an organization committed to social and environmental causes in the binational region of Ecuador and Colombia. They collaborate with indigenous, afro-descendant and mestizo organizations, with programs and projects oriented to the good living of their populations. Please click here for further info.

Related blogs by Maryanne

Walking the Line – Ecuador Photo Blog #1

Celebrate Good Times – Saying Goodbye to Sadie Pope

Questioning Coincidence – Can Grief Awaken Our Capacity to Notice Connections Between Seemingly Unrelated Events

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here.

published in Beauty, Inspiration, Travel by Maryanne | June 13, 2019 | No Comment

Tofino Gem – Slack Tide Inn

 

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”

– Mark Black

If you’re heading to Tofino and are looking for a place to stay…

I found a real gem a few weeks ago: Slack Tide Inn. Relaxing, welcoming, peaceful…my friend’s daughter, Harleigh, and I absolutely loved it.

We stayed in the large upstairs suite, which had 2 bedrooms and a full kitchen…and an amazing deck for morning coffee:

 

The Inn opened in 2015 and is a cozy, family-run enterprise situated across from Cox Bay on the outskirts of Tofino, BC (on the west coast of Vancouver Island). Nestled in the rainforest bordering the UNESCO biosphere, about 20 minutes from the mudflats, this south-facing property is home to hummingbirds, bluejays, eagles and ravens. Slack Tide Inn provides easy foot-access to surfing, hiking, walking and beach time. This small, 6-person Inn, is animal, baby and child-friendly. It is extremely quiet (very important!), clean, cozy & comfortable.

There were magical touches throughout our suite…books, photos, artwork and quotes all placed in a way that made the Inn feel like a home away from home:

 

And then, of course, there was the natural beauty just across the way…

 

 

If you haven’t been to the rugged and stunningly beautiful West Coast of Vancouver Island before, it might be time to make the trek! And if you have been, now you know of another great place to stay when you go back.

For further information about the Slack Tide Inn, please visit their website. Or you can e-mail the owner, Rachel, at: slacktidepixie@gmail.com

If you go, please say hi from Harleigh and me 🙂

“The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach.”

– Henry Beston

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here