You may know that Chris and I have sold everything and are permanent travellers. We are mixing in working as volunteers on various conservation projects, with travelling and staying in interesting places, and living as much as possible with the locals. We’ve just spent Christmas in England with family, after a wonderful three months in South Africa, and we’re off again in a couple of days’ time!
We’ll be taking a one-way cruise from Southampton to Fort Lauderdale, on the beautiful Cunard ship Queen Elizabeth.
We’ll be relaxing, and no doubt eating too much!
After we land in Florida, we’ll be flying down to Punta Gorda, in southern Belize, where we’ll do some scuba-diving with ReefCI. We love this place! We’ve already been diving with ReefCI a couple of times, and this is where we get to enjoy some fabulous diving, and also be useful and help out in their reef conservation work. ReefCI is constantly spearing to remove the invasive, non-native lionfish, and helping to create a demand for the delicious fish in the local markets and restaurants. We also help with transect line counts of coral species, fish and invertebrates. Depending on the season, we might be tagging conch, or counting lobsters. We’ll stay on tiny Tom Owens Caye in the southern Sapodilla Cayes.
After our dive week, we’re renting an apartment for a month in Punta Gorda, and plan to catch up with some of the lovely locals we’ve met over the past few years, and enjoy shopping for local fruit and veggies in the market. We’ll probably also take a few trips to see local Mayan ruins, and cool off in the rivers. There’s a small chocolate factory I want to go back to… yummy samples! 🙂
From Belize, we’ll move on to Costa Rica. We first visited Costa Rica about 20 years ago, and fell in love with the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle. In March we’re spending two weeks with The Pacuare Nature Reserve, volunteering on their leatherback turtle project. Although it’s just the beginning of the season, we do hope to be able to see some female turtles coming onshore and laying their eggs.
We’re also delighted to have learned that the Reserve has just started to work with Panthera on a jaguar research project. We worked with Panthera in South Africa on a leopard project, so we’re really excited to see what’s happening with jaguars in Costa Rica. After our time with Pacuare, we’re going to spend a few weeks travelling round Costa Rica, seeing some of the different areas: cloud forest, volcano and coasts, and hopefully, as much wildlife as possible!
From Costa Rica, we move on to the iconic Galapagos Islands, on a program with Lead Adventures. I’m excited to have the opportunity to visit this really special place, and particularly to travel and work with a locally based organization. I’m so looking forward to seeing these islands as Darwin did. I expect to take so many photos, you’ll be sick of them! We’re really pleased we found this organization that has a low environmental impact, and creates jobs within the local community. We’ll be helping out with local conservation efforts, as well as hiking, snorkelling and diving, and seeing as much of the local wildlife as we can. Here’s their blog: Lead Adventures blog.
From the Galapagos, we’ll move on to Cuba, and spend some time wandering Havana, hoping to check out the local music scene. After that we’re going to stay on one of the small off islands, and plan to do some scuba-diving. I’m so glad we decided to go to Cuba just before the US and Cuba started talking again – inevitably, Cuba will become Americanized, and we have a chance to see its faded glories before that happens!
By then it’ll be May, and the northern snow will have started to melt, days will be longer, and we’ll head up to Yellowstone National Park in the northern USA. After that, we plan to spend the summer in California, catching up with old friends. Nothing further is booked yet, but our plans are New Zealand, Australia and as much of SE Asia as we can, starting around September/October 2015.
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