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Dreams of the World: Jose Fuster (Jaimanitas)

 This post is the latest in the series Dreams of the World, which profiles interesting people we meet during our travels. My dream is… to create a piece of art that will be admired like the ones created by Antonio Gaudí or Pablo Picasso, such as the ¨Guernica¨. José Fuster, 67, is a Cuban artist that…

Waves over Havana

An Unexpected Visitor in the Volcano

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Genovesa Tower, Home to a Million Birds

Genovesa was for me the most enchanting of all the islands we saw, not only because we got to walk along the rim of the caldera, but because of the birds in tremendous profusion. And what birds they were: boobies of every kind, frigate birds, gulls, owls, mockingbirds, finches. They were mating, nesting, roosting, sleeping, hunting, fighting. The sky was full of them arriving and departing from their feeding grounds. The noise they made, especially at sunset, was cacophonous.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Turtles and Penguins of Bartolome and the Chinese Hat

Green turtles were mating in the water in front of us when our Zodiac pulled up to Bartolome, a mound of lava less than half the size of New York’s Central Park, just off Santiago Island in the Galapagos. Bartolome is a breeding and nesting ground for the turtles. It’s also favorite stop for visitors to the Galapagos because of its fantastic geology, an energetic climb up 376 wooden steps to a commanding view from the summit of the islet’s biggest volcanic cone, and spectacular snorkeling with sharks and rays in the clear water around postcard-famous Pinnacle Rock.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: In Search of Giant Iguanas on Dragon Hill

Day five of our expedition to the Galapagos islands took us to the northwest slope of Santa Cruz for a walk up Cerro Dragon, “Dragon Hill.” This place was once home to a thriving colony of the massive Galapagos land iguana, Conolophus subcristatus. The lizard is making a comeback here after being nearly wiped out by cats, rats, and dogs introduced to the Galapagos by humans.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Underwater Exploration with a Prize-Winning Photographer

In this post I interview Terry Goss, who was on our expedition as the 2011 winner of the Ocean in Focus Photo Contest, a competition that focuses on the human impacts on marine environments and species, positive and negative, in an attempt to advance ocean conservation through the power of imagery. Terry shares his impressions of the Galapagos beneath the waves, and some advice for how to get the best underwater photographs.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: On Board National Geographic Endeavour

On the night we sailed across the Equator the sun set fire to the sea and sky, creating a dramatic setting for the shadowy dormant volcanoes lining the horizon around us. It was a memorable moment celebrated over a glass of champagne on the bridge deck of National Geographic Endeavour. We were roughly midway through…

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Face to Face with Giant Tortoises

Some 250,000 giant tortoises once roamed the Galapagos islands. But taken for meat by pirates and whalers, their populations collapsed to near extinction. We visit the Charles Darwin Research Research Center to see how the giant tortoise has been restored, and we visit scores of wild tortoises in their natural habitat in the highlands of Santa Cruz Island.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: In the Footsteps of Charles Darwin

In 1835 Charles Darwin arrived on Floreana Island in the Galapagos, noting in his journal that it had long been frequented, first by buccaneers, latterly by whalers–and then political dissidents exiled from mainland South America. The giant tortoises Darwin saw on Floreana have since been extirpated from the island and the prisoners and pirates exist only in history. But the scenery he described remains much the same, and a tradition of leaving mail in a “post office barrel” for collection and delivery by passing ships has endured for two centuries.

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Swimming with Sea Lions

This is the second post in my account of a ten-day exploration of the Galapagos, on board the National Geographic Endeavour. In the first post, I described our arrival on the island of San Cristobal and our first visit to a Galapagos beach.     We awoke on the first full day of our expedition to…

Galapagos Expedition Journal: Arrival on the Enchanted Islands

Bewitched, enchanted, beguiling. Those are just some of the terms explorers across five centuries have used to describe the Galapagos, an unmatched archipelago of islands drifting in the vastness of the open ocean, in the middle of nowhere.

Top 25 Wild Bird Photographs of the Week

Advances in digital photography have given us the opportunity to capture the beauty and freedom of birds in the wild like never before. In January 2011, the Wild Bird Trust set up a Facebook page with the intention of celebrating free flight and birds in the wild from around the world. Here are the “Top 25 Wild…

Witnessing Change and Searching for Wilderness: Circumnavigating the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Circle

In August 2008, I was fortunate enough to join an expedition ship on a circumnavigation of the Svalbard Archipelago in the Arctic Circle, going as far north as 81⁰N. I was on a personal mission to experience and celebrate this Arctic wilderness. Life on a grand scale in this far away place of rock and ice.…

Photography Workshop: Dupont Circle

I might not score a photo of the week in Nat Geo Traveler’s World in Focus Contest, but (as I mentioned I’d be doing in my last post) I spent Friday and the weekend in a National Geographic Photography Workshop with students from across the U.S., Canada, and as far away as Brazil. The experience?…