Galapagos Colonists

The human history of the Islands is fascinating and uninvestigated. Thus, we would like to share with our readers part of the book ‘’Both Sides of the Coin’’ for the enjoyment of our story lovers! ‘’The first permanent residents in the Galapagos Islands settled on Floreana Island. Patrick Watkins, an Irishman, was probably the first settler in the islands. “Irish Pat” lived on Floreana, near Black Beach, where he grew vegetables that he bartered with whaling crews and where he, apparently, spent a good deal of time drinking rum. Watkins was marooned, or had requested to be left, on Floreana in 1805. He abruptly vacated Galapagos in 1809, leaving in his wake a flurry of stories about his voyage to the mainland aboard the Black Prince, as he left the islands accompanied, but arrived in Guayaquil alone.” Several writers have reconstructed the legend of Irish Pat from verbal and written tales and “Pat’s Landing” was a feature on Floreana for whalers.
By Peter Oxford, and Graham Watkins. Galapagos: Both Sides of the Coin, 2009.

Humboldt's Footsteps & The Avenue of The Volcanoes

Alexander von Humboldt was a German scientist. He was considered one of the greatest geophysicists, botanists, geologists, geographers, naturalists, volcanologists, humanists, and explorers. Humboldt arrived in Ecuador in 1802. During his six-month expedition he crossed the epic Andes, all the way to Quito. Humboldt’s time in Ecuador included multiple expeditions to the most important mountains such as Cotopaxi, Pichincha, Antisana, Chimborazo, along with others. Together with Aimé Bonpland, they were great adventurers and expeditionaries. They collected in the territory very important data that contributed to botany, science and ecology, and thousands of species that were new to science. The closest elevation to the sun from the Earth’s core, the Chimborazo volcano (6310m/20823f), caught the attention of this scientist who dedicated a complete study to this mountain, creating the first infographic document as an innovative source of investigation, where he detailed important data such as: temperature, elevation, vegetation, fauna, etc., comparing it with other vegetation zones and ecosystems in the world. Amazed by the magnificent beauty and the amount of volcanoes Humboldt named the to the entire Inter-Andean valley that forms the Andes mountain range “Avenue of the Volcanoes” His trip revealed to the world the scientific importance, diversity, and beauty of Ecuador in all senses, and caught the planet’s interest for other explorers to visit our country.
By Gentian Trails

The last Huaorani

According to the legend, the Huaorani are descended from a union between a jaguar and the Harpy eagle, both, the most powerful animals in the rainforest. The words of the Jesuit priest, Juan Santos Ortiz, in his book The Last Huaorani written in 1980, describe shortly what they really are and why we admire them so much, particularly because we had the opportunity to visit them.

‘’The Huaorani people represent the scream of freedom, bravery, and courage over the centuries. They are a tangible example of survival in the most hostile environment. In the jungle, they have vigorously preserved their race, their oral traditions, their knowledge of the environment, their respect for the laws that govern their communities, the prowess of men and the sweetness of women. The Huaorani have maintained the concept of community value, the free and conscientious education of children, respect for the rights of others, the heat of fire and total nakedness – physical and spiritual – of all emotional distress..’’

By Gentian Trails

The Giant Antpitta

This story is about some old friends, the Paz Family, who live in Mindo Cloud Forest, and mainly worked on different agricultural activities like breeding cattle to produce milk , or selling wood from the forest, but one day an amazing bird changed their lives!
While Angel Paz started his journey in the fields walking on a new path to prepare a terrain for agriculture, he saw a dark bird with patches of light brown on its chest, long legs and a wide beak eating worms, but as he approached the bird flew away. The bird called his attention and Angel came back to the same area many times and followed the bird into the woods, then, he started feeding her with worms. He was really determined and soon the forest became his new
home. As he spent day after day trying to be her friend, she finally accepted the worms and Angel as well.

This simple act of determination and love for nature defined Angel’s life. As he started to realize that protecting the forest and not preying on or hunting the local fauna, he could contribute and give back to nature. At the same time he discovered that sharing these moments with the outsiders and tourists, he could make a better living and be part of sustainable alliances with other farmers and conservation organizations to protect the forest.
The bird with long legs and a strong big beak called a Giant Antpitta is very common to see in the cloud forest, and since became Angel’s friend. He used to welcome everyone to The Paz Bird Refuge. Later on, more Antpittas became Angel’s best friends and are the joy of the ornithologist. Bird watching became their main activity at the refuge, as it is for most of the inhabitants of that region.
Approximately 25 years ago the inhabitants of Mindo Cloud Forest knew about the importance of protecting the existing biodiversity, and ventures like the bird refuge have received recognition among other projects for the defense and protection of natural resources at a national and international level.

By Gentian Trails

Afro Ecuadorian Sounds

The origin of the Afro Ecuadorian music is fascinating, let’s immerse into these African sounds from Esmeraldas province, where most of our Afro Ecuadorians live. Let’s revel into the origins of the unknown but captivating part of the culture from the northern-coastal area.
‘’Musical life in the province centered on the Currulao, the marimba dance, with strong roots in the black population’s Bantu and Mande heritage in Western Africa. The Currulao was a predominantly secular festive event that took place every weekend in local casas de la marimba, or “marimba houses.” These privately-owned dwellings were a focal point for Afro-Ecuadorian communities, used for civic meetings, recreation, and providing the performance space for the Currulao. Norman Whitten, Jr. has written extensively on the symbolic integration of the marimba dance as a secular ritual and its importance within Afro-Ecuadorian culture in Esmeraldas; where the interpretation of the Currulao indexed gender mores key to the maintenance of Afro-Ecuadorian society, ritually re-enacting and acting as a catharsis for male-female relationships in the community. In addition to the overt message of seduction and conquest in the dance choreography, the call-and-response musical tension and struggle for dominance between male soloists and the chorus of female singers represented these same relationships.’’

Articulating Blackness in Afro-Ecuadorian Marimba Performance by Jonathan Ritter.

The adventurer who found a treasure in the Andes mountains

“It was not the first time that the famous Ecuadorian photographer Jorge Juan Anhalzer had ventured into the cliffs and muddy slopes of the Llanganates in search of Atahualpa’s lost treasure. This time he had an aerial photograph he took some time before. Showing a hitherto unknown path; it might be the famous Valverde route, described in ancient documents from the time of Spanish colonisation, showing how to reach a valuable cargo of abandoned gold. Anhlazer had never accessed that specific area in the Andean mountains where the Incas are supposed to have abandoned tons of precious metal over 500 years ago. “The legend states that not even a thousand men could carry it all”.

“In this mixture of legend and history, you don’t know where the magic separates from the real. That’s the most beautiful part of the Llanganates,” says photographer Jorge Anhalzer with an exhilarating aura. But don’t be overconfident. The curse of the Incas is merciless. They would not be the first to lose their lives in the rugged terrain of these mountains, which rise rapidly from 1,200 to more than 4,000 metres above sea level and where there are days when you can barely go more than two kilometres.

Despite the cold and the rain, which only gave them rest for two of the fifteen days, the group found the longed-for Inca trail and reached the lagoon where the treasure rests. But with no time to search. With food stocks running low, survival dictated an immediate return: “You can’t eat gold for seven days”. And they left, empty-handed, just as they had arrived. The truth is that Anhalzer, an outdoorsman since he was a boy, discovered at the age of nine the thrill of chasing the truth of Inca legends in the Andes mountains, and since then, he says, that has been his greatest treasure.”

By El País America – News Paper

Follow Us

Scroll to Top