Jack Watson

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Jack Watson

A casual jaunt through South America from the far side of the Beagle Channel. Planning to overland it as far as possible to the Panama Canal, with a couple of sailboats thrown in for good measure.

From the success of Lusting Wander (it sold 4 copies) there are rumours of a much awaited sequel. Watch this space.



Oceans and Seas » Caribbean March 20th 2016

Sailing Home We left the great landmass of South America the way we entered it, by sailboat. It had been over three months since we hitched a lift on Hughes (Eugg) and Caroline's boat to Ushuaia and started this overland odyssey. It seemed right that it was another french Capitan whose job it was to sail us and a dozen or so other backpackers on El Gitano del Mar to Panama. His name was Jepe and he is a pirate. Both his ears sported a large gold hooped earring and his arms were covered in tattoos including at least one stereotypical anchor tatt. Dark tanned skin and fishermans pants completed the look, but far from being a cliche he exuded cool. The sort of cool I'd try to make small talk with about the weather (surely ... read more

South America » Colombia » Medellin July 8th 2014

Ecuador and Colombia The Galapagos were out of this world. The one down side was that they had lapped up the majority of our Ecuador time. It meant that we now only had a week to see the delights that the mainland had to offer. We were busy trying to plan this out and decide what we wanted to do when the Capitan put on the fasten seat-belts sign for landing. Becky's movements were a lot brisker and she spoke curtly as she stowed her table tray and returned her seat to the upright position. She checked and then double checked her seatbelt to make sure it was securely fastened. I had picked up on her palpable tension when we were taking off and thought some tough love may finally get her over her fear of ... read more
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South America » Ecuador » Gal√°pagos » Puerto Ayora July 2nd 2014

The plane touched down on Isla Baltra and we were offloaded onto the hot tarmac. A warm sea breeze hit us as we crossed to the newly renovated airport, and I nearly lost my latest hat acquired on this trip. It is made exclusively from coconut husk and wood glue and is unique enough to cut a dash (in my humble opinion) without looking like a wannabe Texas cowboy. The airport boasted at great length about its green stamp of approval for renewable energy technology, with wind turbines, manual conveyor belts and careful alignment with the prevailing winds to negate the need for air conditioning. It was nice and cool, but the wind turbines were stationary despite the strong breeze and the lack of baggage carousel caused a scramble for the bags as everyone wanted to ... read more

South America » Peru » Trujillo June 23rd 2014

It is a truth universally acknowledged that the journey to a destination is often an adventure in itself. It is probably for that reason that it's called travelling, as opposed to holidaying or vacationing. Sometimes its tough, sometimes you're not evening enjoying it, but you just dig deep, grin and bare made easier by keeping a sense of humour. The odd bit of our subsequent trip deep into the Amazon and then on through Peru and into Ecuador was like that, but I was pleased we came out seeing the bright side of it all. So after a last minute scramble, Becky and I bundled ourselves into the minibus that had come to collect us on behalf of Deep Rainforest Adventures, the only company that floats foolhardy travellers 250 kilometres for 6 days into the biggest ... read more
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Back in Bolivia. I was last here on the cusp of 20, almost 7 years ago. It marked the start of my twenties and a decade defined by travel. Peru and Bolivia in the summer of 2007 was my first big trip away from home. It was chiefly meant to be volunteering in orphanages and adolescent prisons in Peru with a few others from university, but I was forever restless. I became disenchanted about the good we were actually doing and spent every free minute pouring over maps and guidebooks working out where we could explore in our time off. With two friends, I visited Lake Titikaka, the death road, the salt flats, the pampas and had some fun times in La Paz. It was however, during the final week of my trip travelling back to ... read more
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South America » Argentina » Jujuy » Purmamarca May 20th 2014

I knew I had done a bad thing. I should have known, after we crossed into Chile the first time, that you can't get anything past them. A border guard scrutinising our passports on the bus had already gruffly told me in angry Spanish to put my boots back on. They were only three day old socks so I didn't get what his problem was. And now this. The customs official triumphantly pranced back from his inspection of the bus with his golden retriever in tow. He gathered all the passengers together opposite the immobilised luggage conveyor belt where he carefully placed an orange plastic bag. My orange plastic bag. In seconds the dog was on it, leaping onto the conveyor belt and with its front paws stamping repeatedly on the bag whilst looking up intently ... read more
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South America » Chile » Magallanes » Puerto Natales April 29th 2014

Our transit across the Beagle to Argentina had been arranged for 2pm. It was going to involve a 50km drive East along the road until reaching the other town called Puerto Navarino. From there it would be a small speedboat across the 20 minute stretch direct to Ushuaia. Unfortunately, the backwaters of the world things rarely go to plan or schedule. The hostal owner pulled up at the arranged pick up point and explained the boat had been cancelled due to strong winds. It was blowing a gale sure enough, so we headed to the information shack again. Carina found out that they were not rescheduling the boat, they had stopped now for the season and the next scheduled departure to Ushuaia would be in October. We have to be back to work in August. Flying ... read more
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South America » Chile » Magallanes » Isla Navarino April 22nd 2014

We knew we were in for an adventure. We just didn't know what yet. The planning had been comprehensive and meticulous, but that was 6 months ago. The spreadsheet had been lost, the books were returned to the library and travelling spontaneity had extinguished all methodical organisation. One thing we had managed was to book a couple of seats on a plane heading to the deep south, to the land of fire. We had arrived into Santiago ten minutes before we left Auckland and had another day before Tierra del Fuego. We struggled out of our Plaza D'armas 5th floor hostel and forced ourselves to explore the city rather than succumb to our jet lag. We headed to Cerro Santa Lucia, a rocky hill summited via a messy labyrinth of spiral staircases and steps carved out ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island April 6th 2014

On our lift back to Queenstown after our last Great Walk, we went through Glenorchy, a small town (probably large by kiwi standards) in spectacular surroundings. The driver owned the shuttle service, but was most busy with Lord of the Ring and Hobbit fans wanting to see where the Olliphants paraded through and the mountains of Isengaard. It was interesting hearing about the film production and how he helped in a set where the footage was beamed through to Peter Jackson so he could direct several scenes simultaneously. In QT Becks and I had a celebratory feast and then hit the town. It always astonishes me how much fun we can have as a sole duo and we did a classic backpacker pubcrawl. Highlights were sipping cocktails in an ice bar out of ice glasses on ... read more
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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island April 5th 2014

Stewart Island. Its a place I have been wanting to visit since I last came to New Zealand. A compelling curiosity of this forgotten outpost was finally getting quelled on this self made challenge of doing all the Great Walks of NZ. That is if we make it their alive first! The whole boat seemed to buckle as we slammed violently into another wave of the Foveaux Strait. The captain had explained things might get "a wee bit choppy" in typical Kiwi fashion it was an outrageous understatement spray blasted the windows as we rose and ducked over the swell. Becks gripped my hand too tightly again as our stomachs reached our mouths before returning again. The Captains nonchalance being the only thing that prevented mass panic. We pulled into the safe waters of Oban and ... read more
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