Monday, March 19, 2007

Trips and Travels

We keep thinking of additional places. How could I have forgotten diving with the whale sharks in Belize?!?

I was talking with my mama today about our dream destinations. Chris and I decided that we were going to treat ourselves to a trip to Africa following his graduation from business school. This is a fantastic time because we don't have many things tying us down right now (mortgage, children, infirm parent etc). But there are so many places that I'd like to see that it's hard to make decisions. Of course, little things like time and money also play an important part. Here are a couple of my top destinations. What are yours?

Tour the Amazon-South AmericaDespite my fear of extremely large snakes (anacondas), I would love to travel through parts of the amazon by boat. The biodiversity in this part of the world is unmatched, except perhaps in Papua New Guinea.
Charter a Sailboat - Somewhere..Croatia? Turkey? Galapagos?I'm counting on my papa's sailing experience to help us out with this little adventure. I've heard great things about Croatia and I know my mom is dying to go to Turkey. We'd have to find a sailboat that had enough headroom for Chris to at least get around...and we'd have to work on that whole 'seasickness' thing. Hmm. Perhaps we should hold off on this one for a bit.

Follow the Herd and Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro - Tanzania
From Wikipedia, on Mt. Kilimanjaro:
While the volcano appears to be dormant on the inside, events on top of the mountain have been drawing global attention recently. The glaciers that have covered the top of the mountain for the past 11,700 years are rapidly disappearing. Over the past century, the ice cap volume has dropped by more than 80%[1]. In 2002, a study led by Ohio State University ice core paleoclimatologist Lonnie Thompson [2] predicted that ice on top of Africa's tallest peak would be gone between 2015 and 2020 [3] [4]. In March 2005, it was reported that the peak was now almost bare for the first time in 11,000 years [5]. A comparison of ice core records from Kilimanjaro suggests that conditions similar to those of today have not existed since then. Though the cause of the reduction in ice volume is in dispute, the loss of the Kilimanjaro ice fields will carry significant climatological and hydrological implications for local populations who depend on water from the ice fields during the dry seasons and monsoon failures.
The Serengeti is a 60,000 square kilometer savanna stretching over Tanzania and Kenya.[1] The biannual migration that occurs there is considered one of the seven tourist travel wonders of the world. The region contains several national parks and game reserves. Its name is derived from the Maasai language and means "Endless Plains".
The Serengeti has more than 2 million herbivores and thousands of predators. Blue Wildebeests, gazelles, zebras and buffalos are the animals most commonly found in the region.
The Serengeti hosts the largest and longest overland migration in the world,[2] a biannual occurrence. Around October, nearly 2 million herbivores travel from the northern hills toward the southern plains, crossing the Mara River, in pursuit of the rains. In April, they then return to the north through the west, once again crossing the Mara river. This phenomenon is sometimes called the Circular Migration. Over 250,000 wildebeest alone will die along the journey from Tanzania to Maasai Mara reserves in upper Kenya, a total of 500 miles. Death is often caused by injury, exhaustion, or falling prey to predators such as the big cats of the region.[2]

Tap Dance with the Emperors-Antarctica

Dive the Great Barrier Reef - Australia Coral reefs around the world are rapidly disappearing due to a variety of reasons, mostly having to do with global warming or pollution. I hope we can dive the most famous reef system in the world before it is drastically diminished. The Map of the Great Barrier Reef can be found here.

Elephant Expedition - India, Indonesia, Vietnam or Laos I think it would be really cool to see Asia from the back of an elephant. I can't say that the large cities in China (or the rest of Asia) really appeal to me at this point but I would really like to see the temples, wildlife sanctuaries, and villages of the countryside.
A Map of Asia can be found here.

Swimming with the Great White Sharks - Dyer Island, South Africa
I have a friend at work who has always wanted to going diving in South Africa with great white sharks. I'm so glad I'm not the only one! Great whites are probably one of the most feared animals on earth yet so little is really known about them. So the plan is to head down to Dyer Island and check out some sharks. From the safety of a cage, of course!And to hopefully not end up like this:A Map of South Africa can be found here.
From Wikipedia:
The great white shark, Carcharodon carcharias, also known as white pointer, white shark, or white death, is an exceptionally large lamniforme shark found in coastal surface waters in all major oceans. Reaching lengths of about 6 metres (20 ft) and weighing almost 2,000 kilograms (4,400 lb), the great white shark is the world's largest known predatory fish. It is the only known surviving species of its genus, Carcharodon. They are also regarded as an apex predator with its only real threats from humans and occasionally orcas, which have been known to feed on great whites. Great white sharks live in almost all coastal and offshore waters which have a water temperature of between 12 and 30° C (54° to 75° F), with greater concentrations off the southern coasts of Australia, off South Africa, California, Mexico's Isla Guadalupe and to a degree in the Central Mediterranean and Adriatic Seas. The densest known population is found around Dyer Island, South Africa where up to 31 different great white sharks have been documented by Michael Scholl of the White Shark Trust in a single day. It can be also found in tropical waters like those of the Caribbean and has been recorded off Mauritius.It is a pelagic fish, but recorded or observed mostly in coastal waters in the presence of rich game like fur seals, sealions, cetaceans, other sharks and large bony fish species. It is considered an open-ocean dweller and is recorded from the surface down to depths of 1,280 metres (4,200 ft), but is most often found close to the surface.

Yikes! I forgot to cite my sources! All the text is from Wikipedia and all of the pictures can be found in the first couple pages of a google search. For example: "Map of the Amazon" is the ninth image that appears when you do a search.