Cenote Ik Kil

Cenote Ik Kil, photo by Dmadeo via Creative Commons

The Triumph of Tenacity

& Our Next Eco Adventure

When I was a kid, my personality could have been adequately summarized with three “S” adjectives: Shy, sensitive and stubborn. It’s the latter trait to which I owe much of my subsequent success.

 

A youthful example of my iron will in action: Me and my five cast-mates from our high school’s One-Act Play were having a cast party at our drama teacher’s lake house. Out on the dock in the middle of the lake, shenanigans ensued, with various people pushing and throwing various other people into the water.

 

I decided I’d have no part of the tomfoolery, but their attention inevitably turned to me. So I wrapped one forearm around the base of the slide ladder, gripped it tightly with my other hand, and held on for dear life.

 

Three teenage boys and two girls tugged and pulled and yanked my legs this way and that with all of their might. But I didn’t budge, even as a huge strawberry-colored bruise was rubbed into my arm. Eventually they gave up. I quickly scrambled to my feet, grinned at them broadly and did a flip into the water.

 

Even at 16, with all of my myriad insecurities and fears, nobody could make me do anything I didn’t want to do. And, perhaps more importantly, I didn’t give up even when there were obstacles on the road to something I really wanted.

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Blue Footed Booby Mating Dance on Española Island

Blue Footed Booby Mating Dance on Española Island

Darwin’s Paradise

 Galapagos Islands Animals, Ecotourism & Adventure

 

My body is a sea cave.

 

With every crashing wave, every weebly-wobbly tilt of our ship, every rollercoaster-like moment of catching air before slamming down with an audible thump, it feels as if the cavern of my belly is filling with sloshing water, gradually rushing higher and higher in search of any crevice through which it might escape. With great effort, I manage to hold nausea at bay… but just barely.

 

We’re aboard the M/Y Eric, the 20-passenger flagship yacht of ecotourism operators Ecoventura, on a weeklong adventure through the Galapagos Islands. On our first night, we’re sailing north from San Cristobal to the island of Genovesa. And, although I’ve always loved the ocean, I’m coming to the realization that I’m not much of a seaman. It’s best out on the sundeck, where lounge chairs offer exceptional views of the sun setting on Kicker Rock, plus a refreshing wind that turns to a brisk chill as the evening sky provides the most brilliant star show you can imagine.

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Bret Love & Alex Love of Green Global Travel in Bermuda

Chilling in the Infinity Pool in Bermuda

Water Wonders

A Father-Daughter Story of Growth Through Adventure

 

My daughter was a water baby from the moment she was born. Though it’s been 11 years now, I can still  vividly recall her at the age of six months, sitting in her baby seat in the bathtub, splashing water everywhere and giggling with unbridled glee. But what was once a simple pleasure has gradually become a burgeoning passion for father and daughter alike.

 

She started learning to swim at the age of three, right around the time her mother and I went our separate ways. With 50% custody, I was determined to be a hands-on dad, so I’d pick her up from summer camp and take her to the pool, where we’d play Sharks & Minnows and Marco Polo for hours.

 

A shy, sweet child by nature, in the water my daughter became fearless, jumping off the diving board with a joyful sense of abandon and making new friends easily. Going to the pool together became prime father-daughter bonding time.

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Super Chikan in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Laughing It Up in Clarksdale, Mississippi

Super Chikan

Last of the Delta Blues Legends

 

Super Chikan is not yet super famous, but he deserves to be. With his killer Delta Blues tunes, a knack for riveting storytelling, and a mouth full of gold teeth offset by a rainbow assortment of diamonds, he’s an incredibly colorful character just waiting to become a talk show celebrity.

 

Raised in/around Clarksdale, Mississippi, the artist formerly known as James Johnson grew up the nephew of Delta Blues legend Big Jack Johnson. He spent a lot of time with his grandfather, a high-level Mason who deputized guys like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, and Sonny Boy Williamson to help poor blacks escape the Delta via the Underground Railroad. He tells incredible tales of informal jams on his granddad’s front porch that would give any serious Blues fan goosebumps.

 

Chikan first made a name for himself by building homemade guitars out of scrap items such as gas cans, ceiling fan motors, plastic toolboxes and rifles, then adorning them with vivid paintings and colorful gems. But he eventually became equally well known for playing the hell out of any stringed instrument he got his hands on, first in Uncle Jack’s band The Jelly Roll Kings, and then later as a solo artist.

 

Super Chikan "Shoot Dat Thang" Guitar

“Shoot Dat Thang!”– the Super Chikan Catchphrase

 

Now, at age 62, Super Chikan is one of the last truly great Delta Blues musicians, keeping alive a rich African-American musical tradition that has influenced bands ranging from the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin to the White Stripes and Black Keys. He’s the favorite of Morgan Freeman, who moved to Clarksdale and opened the Ground Zero Blues Club, a modern-day juke joint where Chikan performs regularly. But, despite winning the Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Album in 2010, this Blues ambassador still doesn’t have a record deal.

 

During my recent visit to the birthplace of the Blues, I was honored to have a chance to chat with this local legend about growing up in the Mississippi Delta, learning in the shadow of his famous uncle, his experiences in Africa and Norway, and what makes the Delta Blues so special.

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Sunset on Aruba

Beach Sunset on Aruba

Our Favorite Aruba Eco Attractions

 

Like its sister island, Curaçao, Aruba is not what you expect from the Caribbean. Located just 15 miles north of Venezuela, the island’s extremely dry climate produces striking scenery, from the windswept trees and rugged shoreline of the northeast coast to the dramatic rock formations and desert-like landscape of the interior. Yet it also boasts some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, and a rich blend of Arawak, Venezuelan, Spanish and Dutch cultural influences. While it may be best known in the U.S. as a honeymoon destination, there are also a diverse array of Aruba eco attractions well worth discovering. Here are a few of our favorites…

 

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Co-Founded by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett, Green Global Travel is an ecotourism, nature / wildlife conservation & cultural preservation magazine. More about us.

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As Seen In:

Destinations We’ve Covered:

• AFRICA
Egypt- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Madagascar-
Ring-tailed Lemurs at Anja Reserve
Morocco- A Journey into the Atlas Mountains
South Africa- Londolozi Game Reserve Safari
South Africa- Kruger National Park
South Africa- South Africa- Zulu Memories
Tanzania- Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

 
• ANTARCTICA
How To Get To Antarctica w/out Doing the Drake
The Haunting Beauty of Icebergs
Penguins of Antarctica
Taking the Polar Plunge
Top 5 Eco Attractions in Antarctica
Whales of Antarctica
 
• ASIA
Borneo- Sabah Ecotourism Attractions
India- Ranthambhore National Park
India- Tibetan Culture In Ladakh
Laos- The Pastoral Paradise of Muang Ngoi
Malaysia- Borneo Sun Bear Conservation Centre
Malaysia- Orangutan Conservation at Sepilok
Nepal- Hiking The Annapurna Circuit
Taiwan- Top 5 Eco Activities in Taipei
Thailand- Top 5 National Parks
 
• AUSTRALIA/OCEANIA
Australia- Top 5 Eco Attractions
Australia-Kangaroo Island
Australia-Maria Island
New Zealand- Kapiti Island
New Zealand- Tongariro National Park
New Zealand- Top 5 Ecotourism Attractions
Tahiti- First Impressions
Tahiti- Photo Gallery
Tahiti- Moorea 4x4 Safari Tour
Tahiti- Moorea, Tiki Village Theater
Tahiti- Pearl Diving in Bora Bora
Tahiti- Ruahatu Marine Sanctuary, Bora Bora
Tahiti- Swimming With Sharks in Bora Bora
Tonga- Eua Island Eco Activities

 

• NORTH AMERICA
CANADA
Churchill- Into the Wild of Manitoba
Churchill- Polar Bear Fight
Churchill- Polar Bear Photo Gallery
Churchill- Tundra Wildlife

UNITED STATES
America’s Best Volcanoes
AL- Fishing Mobile Bay
AL- Mobile Carnival Museum
AK- Denali National Park
CA- Hiking The John Muir Trail
FL- Sanibel Island Eco Activities
FL- Crystal River, Swimming with Manatees
GA- Barnsley Gardens
GA- Top 5 Autumn Activities Around Atlanta
GA- Best Christmas Light Displays
GA- Top 20 Atlanta Christmas Events
GA- Jekyll Island Eco Activities
GA- Weekend in North GA Mountains
GA- Top 5 Eco Attractions in North GA
HI- Hawaii’s Big Island
HI- Hawaiian Mythology
HI - Top 5 Kauai Nature Attractions
LA- Lafayette Cajun Food Tour
LA- Mardi Gras Indians Super Sunday
LA- Voodoo Museum
MT- Hiking Glacier National Park
NC- Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge
NC- Asheville's Green Restaurants Scene
NC- Asheville's Top Ecotourism Attractions
NC- Greensboro Travel Guide
NC- Great Smoky Mountains National Park
NC- Outer Banks Wild Horses
NM- Top 5 Eco Attractions
NY- Going Green in NYC
TX- Sea Turtle Rescue, South Padre Island
WV- Outdoor Adventures
Yellowstone- Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone- Lamar Valley
Yellowstone- Grand Canyon & Hayden Valley
Yellowstone- Upper Geyser Basin
Yellowstone- Lower Geyser Basin

MEXICO
Cancun- Cancun Underwater Museum
Cancun- Mayan Museum of Archaeology
Cancun- Swimming with Whale Sharks
Riviera Maya- Monkeys, Pyramids & Pottery
Riviera Maya- Rio Secreto
Riviera Maya- Tulum & Coba
 
• CARIBBEAN