Dave and Merry Jo Binkley

D MJ Binkley

Dave and Merry Jo Binkley

Photographers, divers, writers, foodies, chefs and music enthusiasts.

Travelers' Century Club Members: 02/2023. MJ 104 and Dave 102..

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We live on North Hutchinson Island, Florida. If you are in Florida please send us a private message as we would love to meet you.

Two retired nurses who are passionate about traveling the world.
Our love of travel, meeting new people and experiencing new cultures will hopefully take us to wonderful places and allow us the chance to get to know friendly people from other countries. Come join us as we explore "the big blue marble" and its inhabitants!

Travel quotes to enjoy.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
- Mark Twain

Life is very short, try everything you've dreamed about (within the perimeters of sanity and the law) and regret nothing. Oh, and don't forget the sunscreen." ~Amber Benson

We don't want to confuse anyone.... we returned from Panama about two months ago and are behind on publishing this missive. In the beginning, we really did not intend to go to Panama, and we bet that sounds funny. After all, when you are planning your trip, you are busy gathering all the information about where you are going and what you hope to do while you are there. When we were booking our flights to South America on Copa Airlines (which is not a great airline), we discovered Panama City was a hub and they would allow you to stop for up to a week (in Panama, not the airport) without additional cost. Kind of the same deal when you fly Icelandic Air and can stay in Iceland for a while before proceeding to Europe ... read more
Old Town Panama City
Wonderful fresh fish
Monkey Island

It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most receptive to change. Charles Darwin After visiting the Galapagos one imagines Darwin was thinking about the iguinas when he made the above quote. The marine iguanas are interesting creatures to observe. We read the beauty of the Galapagos can’t be explained it must be experienced and we found that to be true. These marvelously blackish reptiles are a quintessential example of adaptation. This final post from the Galapagos will finish up our time on the yacht and the two days we spent at a resort. After all, when you've spent some time working hard at observing some fantastic wildlife, you just might need a night or two of luxury at a resort. If you missed our first two ... read more
Flamingo pair
Papallacta Hot Spring
Babies in the Sanctuary

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Isabela Island February 27th 2023

Traveling - it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller. Ibn Battuta On the oft chance you missed our previous blog...here's the link. Join us for part two of the Galapagos adventure. Life on a Galápagos cruise offers a great deal of variety. Most of our week was spent taking zodiacs to rather desserted islands for hiking or wandering while observing, enjoying and stalking animals or doing a zodiac coastal exploration of rock formations where the birds, iguanas, and other wildlife enjoyed congregating. It never ceased to amaze us how the animals didn't seem to mind if we came up close. They weren't posing or anything, but there was a sense they had no fear from these weird beings dressed somewhat oddly and so eager to take their photo. Perhaps they simply decided we ... read more
Blue Footed Boobie
Land based iguana
Grapsus grapsus....crab of the Galápagos

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos » Santa Cruz Island February 25th 2023

Wow! ….the Journey begins…. The big blue marble we live on contains a plethora of incredible and unique places to visit. Whether it is the topography, the natural wonders, the flora or the fauna, our earth never seems to disappoint. Scientists love to research and speculate how our planet became the way it is in the present day. Of the many places to visit, the Galápagos Islands is an absolute must for those searching for a truly mesmerizing look at species not seen elsewhere. The mention of the Galápagos also brings forward one of the more interesting scientists of the last few centuries…a chap named Darwin. His five-year journey on the HMS Beagle resulted in basically throwing the scientific world on its ear a few decades later when he published the famous “On the Origin of ... read more
Wandering North Seymour Island
Follow the Trail
Brilliant Reflections

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito February 24th 2023

We were excited to arrive in Quito, Ecuador as this is the location where our friend and travel companion would join us. Serious excitement as we were getting the band back together! Past exploits placed us in Jordan, Egypt, Portugal, California, and Florida. We travel very well together and had been planning this one for nearly a year. And now the time had arrived…. On the evening we arrived we noticed the streets were crowded and lots of celebrations were going on. We hadn’t realized we were in the middle of Carnival when we arrived. After dinner we took a short walk to observe some of the parades, dancing and celebrations. All of the locals were having a great time. During Carnival they used to throw water on one another. Over time they realized this was ... read more
Middle of the World
Shrimp Ceviche
Brendan, MJ & Dave

South America » Chile » Santiago Region » Santiago February 19th 2023

Being February, summer has arrived in South America. It is hot, dry and the wildfires are burning rampantly in the southern part of Chile. A haze of smoke fills the air and as we fly in from Rapa Nui. The views are masked… few mountain tops can be seen. Sad because this normally would quite scenic. But, it’s summer…. We spent a couple of days in Santiago before and after our trip to Rapa Nui and a couple of days in Valparaíso before our visit to the desert. Both cities are worth a visit, but each can easily be explored in two days. Santiago is the grand jumping off point in this part of the world. The airport is modern and flights from all places land here. Almost all destinations in Chile reached by air depart ... read more
Piano Stairs
Scenic Valparaíso
Music in local Restaurants

South America » Chile » Atacama February 17th 2023

As said in Firesign Theatre.... it's the stinking desert! There are those of us who prefer the verdant greens, the lush vegetation, abundant colorful flowers, and a plethora of animal life. While we have come to enjoy these types of venues, we also love to admire the desolate, bleak, stark and wind-swept environs of the desert. This seemingly inhospitable environment possesses its own beauty but displays it differently. Sunrise and sunset are particularly enjoyable. Now, this is one dry desert. Wait….what does that mean? Well, technically by definition a desert is an area of land that receives less than 10 inches (25cm) of rain per year. Pretty dry, yeah? Well, the Atacama is the second driest desert in the world, bested only by a patch of land in Antarctica. The Atacama Desert is the result of ... read more
We love Flamingos!
Atacama Desert Beauty
A Geologist's Happy Place

South America » Chile » Easter Island » Hanga Roa February 9th 2023

A note from Merry Jo: As children we see things that leave an impact on us for life. Our imaginations can run wild after seeing a photograph or hearing a story. How we process that information depends on our creative side and the imagery created with our minds. I remember very distinctly sitting on the floor of the den in my childhood home five decades ago looking at multiple National Geographic magazines. One that stood out featured photos of the carved stones on Rapa Nui often referred to as Easter Island. I knew someday I would arrive in this mysterious land that is isolated from the world. To get there you fly to Santiago, Chile and then fly 2200 miles (5 hours) over the ocean to this remote island. As I walked down the airplane staircase ... read more
Standing Tall
Amazing Maoi statues
15 Moai Statues

South America » Colombia » Cartagena December 7th 2022

A relatively short flight took us to Santa Marta, the first Spanish settlement in Columbia and the second oldest in South America, where we were met by our guide for the hour plus drive to our next stop, a lodge just outside Tayrona National Park. Colombia has some 59 national parks, which makes up about 14% of the total area in this diverse country, which is impressive. Of course, you are going to need a fair amount of space to support all the flora and fauna this country has to offer. We arrived after dark and after checking in, made our way across a small pedestrian suspension bridge to our room. Luckily, we had someone take our luggage as the first time you traverse the swinging bridge, it can challenge your sense of balance. The lodge ... read more
View of Tayrona National Park
Vibrant birds all around
Locals wanting tips for posing

South America » Colombia » Medellin November 10th 2022

Plans often change as many of us have realized throughout our travels. The plan looks good and appeared to be manageable….but then….the universe strikes. For us it was our route to Medellín. As we were driving from the airport in Pereira on our way to coffee country, our guide mentioned that the route to Medellín could take up to 20 hours.What?.... how can that be? We were to be driven there in a few days. It would normally take about six hours, but apparently some truck drivers are quite upset about increases in fuel costs by the government and have taken to blocking the main highway to Medellín. The thought of spending 20 hours in a car wasn’t a pleasant one, so we contacted our fixer and they put us on a one-hour flight from Pereira ... read more
Guatupé, Colombia
Botero Statues
So much death and chaos

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