Page 4 of JohnBroomhall Travel Blog Posts

North America » Canada » Alberta » Edmonton June 11th 2008

I can't believe how fast the summer is passing. After returning from Alexis Lake I've spent a couple of weeks at the airport mostly instructing, and rode my motorcycle to Vancouver for a week. The trip down (May 10/11) was some of the coldest weather riding I have done. I was glad I had purchased an electric-heat jacket and gloves that plugs into the bike battery. There was still a lot of snow on the ground around Edson and Hinton, and I had to bypass the Coquilhalla Highway as it was snowing up there. The weather in Vancouver was unsettled, but I managed a trip up to Whistler and Pemberton with nice weather. Fortunately the weather turned nice on the Victoria Day weekend for my ride back, which I did in a group with my sisters ... read more

North America » Canada » British Columbia May 7th 2008

Our family has had a cabin on this lake for 35 years, and I had never seen the lake with ice on it. I decided this year I’d go up early. With the late spring, I got a real taste of winter. Back in the 1970’s I was a ski patroller at Marmot Basin ski area in Jasper for about 6 years. This was a volunteer ski patrol, we dispensed first aid on the ski hill, and engaged in various forms of rescue from the ski area. There were two groups of patrollers who alternated weekends all winter; the “Roadrunners” and the “Camelherders”. I was a Camelherder. In mid-April, there was a 40th year anniversary party for the Camelherder group in Jasper, and it worked out for me to attend this celebration on my way to ... read more
Ski Patrol Reunion
Trees Down on Road
Road in to Cabin

South America » Ecuador » North » Quito March 20th 2008

Quito - March 8-10 First, just an update on me: I am now at home in Edmonton, I arrived here on March 14th after spending 3 nights in Calgary. This will be my last blog entry for my Ecuador trip. I will resurrect the blog in June when I venture off to Alaska on a motorcycle trip. I flew from Cuenca to Quito on the morning of March 8, starting my trip home. I decided that I would spend three nights in Quito before my flight home on the 11th. I was undecided up until the last week on whether I would visit Quito. Cuenca was such a nice city, and the thought of Quito with over a million people wasn’t that attractive to me. In the end, I was glad I took the time. Quito ... read more
View from Hostel
Paisaje desde Hostel
View from Hostel

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 26th 2008

February 21 2008 We anchored for the night by Rabida Island, the same spot we had been earlier in the tour. At 5 AM, the anchor was raised, and we were underway. I woke up as the engine was started. I decided that I wasn’t going to miss any of the final day, so I got dressed, and took my camera up onto the deck to watch the scenery and wait for sunrise. Our plan for the day was to get back to Baltra and the airport by about 10 AM. I took a few pictures of the sunrise as it happened, but it was not particularly spectacular. I was up to watch the sunrise most days of our tour. We had breakfast while we were under way, and then circumnavigated a couple of small islands ... read more

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 26th 2008

February 19 After our morning on Fernandina Island, we crossed the straight to Isabela Island and Tagus Cove. Tagus Cove is an old crater that acts as a nice harbour away from the open ocean. It was obvious that it was a stopping point for boats for a long time as there was a lot of graffiti painted on the rocks around the steep banks of the cove. Most of it was the names of people and boats that had visited there. The park takes an interesting view of this - the older stuff is seen as being a historical record of past adventurers. Apparently the oldest markings go back to shortly after Darwin made his famous journey. The newer stuff is simply vandalism. The dividing line seems to be about the time that the area ... read more
Tagus Cove
Darwin Crater
East coast of Isabela

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 25th 2008

February 18, Puerto Villamil, Isabela Island Isabela is the largest Island in the Galapagos, somewhere in the range of 100 kms long. It is the conglomeration of about 6 volcanoes that have arisen from the depths. The equator bisects the most northern volcano on the island. There has been recent volcanic activity, the most recent eruption was on Sierra Negra, the closest volcano to Puerto Villamil, in 2005. Outside of Puerto Villamil, most of the visitor sites are on the western shore, which is a long cruise from the main island of Santa Cruz. This limits the number of tour boats that get there (we did!). Puerto Villamil is a small town on the south end of Isabela Island. It is mostly a fishing village, with some farming of coffee and fruit. There is not much ... read more
Feeding Frenzy
Land Tortoise
Cactus Flowers

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 25th 2008

February 17 2008 We arrived at Rabida Island before breakfast after a 2 hour cruise from Sullivan Bay. Rabida is a small island just south of Santiago. It is characterized by red sand beaches. We had a wet landing on the beach, and saw lots of female sea lions lazing about, including one nursing a pup. A male sea lion swam back and forth along the beach barking at us, probably warning us away from his harem. We walked down the beach and saw marine iguanas, pelicans, and blue-footed boobies. Afterwards, we took a trail around a salt-water lagoon that occasionally hosts flamingos. The flamingo population has mostly been driven away by black rats (carelessly introduced by man). The rats eat the eggs and young. The trail led us up to a few viewpoints of ... read more
Mother sea lion nursing pup
Lava Lizard
Female Sea Lion

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 23rd 2008

February 16 2008 Our overnight return from Genovesa Island put us on the northeast coast of Santiago Island, in Sullivan Bay. Sullivan Bay (named after an officer on Darwin’s ship “Beagle”) sits between Santiago Island and Bartolome Island. Santiago Island is interesting because it has had a relatively recent eruption, only 110 years ago. In fact, the eruption happened after Darwin visited the island, so his observations pre-date a very large change to the island’s geography and animal inhabitation. The recent lava flows were on top of a much more ancient volcanic base, and are visibly different by being near-black on top of the reddish-brown base. This island was most interesting for the geography of the lava flows, the intricate squiggles, cracks, and designs of the liquid lava as it solidified. After 110 years, life is ... read more
Galapagos Penguin
Going Ashore
Lava flow

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 22nd 2008

On February 14, I flew from Cuenca to Guayaquil (about 30 minutes) and then from Guayaquil to Baltra Island in the Galapagos (about 1 hour 45 minutes). The Floreana (my boat) was waiting in a bay off of Baltra, about a 5 minute drive in a bus from the airport. With the contingent from this flight, all the guests were on board, and we were under way shortly afterward towards the island of Santa Cruz. After about an hour, we arrived at Santa Cruz where a bus was waiting to take us to the “highlands” about 30 minutes away. It was quite interesting to see the difference in vegetation from sea level, which was mostly desert, to the highlands, which were more of a rain forest (Scalecia trees) . The highlands are perhaps 600 meters above ... read more
Lava Tube
Lava Sink Hole
Tidal Pond, Darwin Bay

South America » Ecuador » Galápagos February 22nd 2008

I decided that if I was staying in Ecuador for a couple of months, it would be a shame to miss the Galapagos Islands. While not an inexpensive venture, I rationalized it as being one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences. Before I started with this idea, I really didn’t know much about the islands or how one goes about seeing them. The travel agency I was dealing with in Cuenca operates out of the same building as the Spanish Language School I have been attending. While I was arranging my course schedule, I had them send me some information on Galapagos tours. As it turned out, I was very lucky in the boat and tour that I chose. There are about 70 boats licensed to give tours of the islands, and prices range from hundreds to thousands ... read more
Covered Deck on top
Daily Briefing
The Galley

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