A Man, a Plan, a Canal: Panama, Thursday 28th February 2019

Having seen an orange sunset into a haze last night, I came on deck to see it a similarly orange orb rising from an indistinct horizon this morning. Panama (officially Panamá but, like Peru, normally accentless for international purposes) was already visible on the horizon. By half past seven, we were anchored at our pilot … Continue reading A Man, a Plan, a Canal: Panama, Thursday 28th February 2019

Unremarkable Numbers for the Watchers in Those Quiet Seas: at sea, Wednesday 27th February 2019

It is clear that we have left the Humboldt Current behind us, as today was a very quiet day. The highlight came at mid-day, when the ship was overtaken by an adult male Peregrine Falcon. It appeared alongside the ship, thought about landing on the masts, but stayed there for just a few seconds, and … Continue reading Unremarkable Numbers for the Watchers in Those Quiet Seas: at sea, Wednesday 27th February 2019

A Muddy Forest near the Tuna Capital: Manta, Ecuador, Tuesday 26th February 2019

It rained heavily overnight and it was still misty and drizzly at breakfast at eight. Out of the flat calm sea, Pantropical Spotted Dolphins frolicked alongside the ship as I munched my customary pineapple and pastries. We seemed to be a long way from any port, so it was no surprise when it was announced … Continue reading A Muddy Forest near the Tuna Capital: Manta, Ecuador, Tuesday 26th February 2019

Mangroves and Mosquitoes: Guayaquil, Ecuador, Sunday 24th February 2019

The word ‘steamy’ appears to be the travel-writer’s adjective of choice for Guayaquil (pronounced, approximately, ‘wire-kill’, although without a rolling Scottish ‘r’), Ecuador’s second city, its most populous and its main port. We arrived in light drizzle, which occasionally got a little heavier, so it was fresher than we may have expected although, once the … Continue reading Mangroves and Mosquitoes: Guayaquil, Ecuador, Sunday 24th February 2019

A Blizzard of Birds, a Tumult of Traffic: Lima, Peru, Thursday 21st February 2019

Peru (officially Perú, but the accent is usually omitted in international references) is a country we have wanted to visit for many years. It was Machu Picchu that was the original attraction, aside from the incredibly diverse avifauna, but there were also the attractions of Lake Titicaca, the Nazca Plains, Colca Canyon, Peruvian Amazonia, the … Continue reading A Blizzard of Birds, a Tumult of Traffic: Lima, Peru, Thursday 21st February 2019

The Humboldt Current: at sea, Wednesday 20th February 2019

The seas of the Humboldt Current provide a famous example of a simple ecological feedback loop disrupted by human activity. The current brings cold water and nutrients from the Southern Oceans into tropical seas, which allowed huge numbers of fish, especially anchovies, to thrive in the coastal waters of Peru. These, in turn, were preyed … Continue reading The Humboldt Current: at sea, Wednesday 20th February 2019

A Bloom of Salt: Arica, Chile, Tuesday 19th February 2019

The Atacama Desert is famous for being one the driest places in the world. There are said to be places where it has not rained for two hundred years or more. Large parts of the desert are almost entirely devoid of life, and plants are almost completely absent from vast tracts. Just over a week before … Continue reading A Bloom of Salt: Arica, Chile, Tuesday 19th February 2019

Back Into the Tropics: at sea, 17th-18th February 2019

On both days, the Pacific was living up to its name, especially on the morning of Sunday 17th February when it was absolutely glass-calm. We cruised north off the Chilean coast during the two days, from Coquimbo Region through the Atacama Region to Tarapaca Region, coming within 20 km of the shore on occasions, and … Continue reading Back Into the Tropics: at sea, 17th-18th February 2019