For 2009 I'm pursuing some personal and professional projects in South America. Rather than spend my time and cash flying back and forth from Seattle, I decided to base myself in Colombia and Argentina for the bulk of the year. So back in the world I is once again!
The route south:
For $100 I hopped a flight from Seattle to Miami and hung with pal Steve Gross and gal Dolleen for a few days before hitting Everglades National Park and another $104 dollar flight to Bogota. The $ catch...Delta airlines hosed me with over $200 worth of hidden baggage surcharges on my flight to Miami. From Bogota, I hooked up with my friend Carolina, who is starting an adventure travel company. We took a all-night bus (that didn't make one stop in 9 hours...not even for bathroom breaks) to Medellin and then a crop-duster to the Pacific Coast. From there we caught a boat to a tiny little village on the coast. Carolina was exploring new travel itinerary options in Colombia along this "Lost Coast", we hiked the entire stretch over 3 days.
I must say, the potential in this part of Colombia is truly untapped...think Costa Rica with clutter free beaches, less...or I should say almost ZERO touristas, whale encounters, a largely unexplored National Park, never-ending wildlife, and an Afro-pacific vibe. The small hotel I crashed at in the main port town of Nuqui registered 3 foreigners in the past 3 years...2 Swiss and 1 American--a surfer who evidently broke his board and bailed on the next flight out.
I could write on and on about this place but you should just come down and see for yourself...or better yet, sign up for one of Carolina's tours.
However, as this is a truly raw destination, the trip did have some pretty sketchy and raw moments.
After completing the 3-day coastal hike we decided to source a small fishing boat to return to the Aiport at Nuqui. To make a long story short. The surf picked up and we were were struck by two huge waves which capsized and sunk the boat. I must now cross another 1 of my 9 vidas off the list. A group of fisherman from shore spotted us and somehow swam out through the surf break to save us and recover the boat. It was a day of mixed emotions but luck and good people prevailed in the end. Much of my gear was trashed. I manage to save my camera equipment and fired off a few shots during the moment (below).
I did lose my beloved iPhone and Patagonia sandals to the sea. Those who know me well will understand this tragic loss of gadgetry and footwear. The good news is that my electric toothbrush vibrated back to life 3 days after the plunge.
Though I still have fun shooting landscapes and adventure stuff, my work focus in Colombia right now is cultural. Above is an embedded gallery of a few images from the rural fisherman and peasants that live along this coastline. I made some of these in black and white, my first time ever...which is kind of strange since I'm colorblind (thank you Nelson for the suggestion which I rejected at first but then reconsidered on the flight down).