Travels 2008-2013

IMG_0684 - Version 2  The Author on the Twelve Apostles Spine Track, Cape Town, ZA.

  “Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aesop

More than that, travel has made me who I am. I love my home, Florida. The first time I moved away on my own I was terrified. I thought that like many of my friends, I should be destined to stay home, loving everything about it and not missing the rest of the world. Fortunately, the part of my brain that yearned for adventure won out. I have been lucky to experience many places, and the list of those I want to see is ever expanding. Over time, I have come to appreciate more and more about being home, but I also know that the wanderlust will never leave me.

My idea of an adventure usually involves physically delving into natural ecosystems. Increasingly, I appreciate culture and human relationships, but the natural world is my first love. When Traveling, I often spend significant time alone wandering, finding what I can on my own. I spend little time planning beyond what I can see ahead of me. Friends who travel with me have coined my wanderings Bryant Adventures. Whether spanning a few ours, or a few months, I set a goal and attack it bringing only what is necessary. The result, even if I fail to reach the initial goal, is always worth the trepidation, exhaustion, and hunger. These organic experiences have more value to me than fastidiously planned trips to see the greatest hits. Just go outside, you never know what you will find.

What follows is a list of travels that I have undertaken on my own, a few words about the places, experiences and means that made them possible for me. They qualify my current blog and I hope offer insight and inspiration to others seeking their own adventure.

Date: 2008

Location: Florida’s Gulf Coast, Ten Thousand Islands, and Keys.

Reason: Mote Marine Laboratory Intern

Funds: Unpaid Internship, Costs Covered.

Impressions: As an intern for Mote, I was able to revisit many places that I had been with my family and learn new dimensions to them. The work made me more capable and perceptive in the natural world. It was an honor to work with many of the species of fish that we handled and studied. The most rewarding experiences were tagging endangered Sawfish in the Marquesas and Ten Thousand Islands.

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The author with Eugenie ClarkSaw Bryant

The Author with his first sawfish 10k
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Shark Tagging Sarasota, FL.

Date: Summer 2008

Location: Bocas Del Toro, Panama.

Reason: Summer College Field Course

Funds: School grant and self.

Impression: This trip to Panama was primarily academic. I attended classes and conducted a research project in coral reef ecology. The strongest impression on me though, was the spectacular natural setting of Panama. The Bocas Archipelago is relatively undeveloped and features a host of incredible ecosystems. I was able to climb, using technical methods, 100′ tropical hardwoods in the rainforest, and dove on what I recall being the most pristine reefs that I have encountered in the Caribbean. I also had short side trips in the City, and the spectacular mountain town of Boquete, hot springs, cloud forest and all.

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Panama City

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A powered Dugout in Bocas del Drago

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The Author 100′ up a strangler fig

Date: January 2010.

Location: Peru

Reason: College Field Course

Funds: School grant and Self

Impression: Seeing the Amazon was momentous experience. It lived up to every expectation. Personal highlights were glowing fungus, river dolphins, and an anaconda. For the course we studied canopy herbivory rates. I also took a side trip to Machu Picchu, which, was outstanding despite the disney world like lines.

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Cuzco

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Machu Picchu

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Misty Morning in the Amazon Canopy

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The Author with a striped sharp nose snake (Xenoxybelis argenteus)

Date: Fall 2011-Spring 2012

Location: Australia

Reason: Post college trip, visit friends, work in another country.

Funds: Self, Family, In country work.

Impressions: Traveling to another continent alone, with few plans in place, was terrifying. I eased into life down under staying with a friend in Melbourne. I was nervous about life, and my initial impressions were tempered. In retrospect, Melbourne is a fantastic city. From Melbourne, I volunteered on a 3 week field study with a University of Melbourne student, catching tawny dragon lizards in the NSW and SA outback. The drives, views and hikes were wonderful. I then traveled alone to Cairns, in search of a job. It was easier finding a job and place to live than expected. When things fell into place it felt like divine providence. I worked on a live-aboard dive boat, and spent every minute underwater. The Pacific marine life was stunning. My last four days in country where spent wandering Sydney, which as a place to visit, ranks in my top 5 cities.

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Outback hiking garb

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Outback Road, NSW

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Outback, Remnants

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Melbourne

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Flying Fox, Cairns

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Cairns, Marina

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Far North Queensland

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Stingers

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Taka Crew

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Sydney, Sunset

Date: April and May 2012

Location: Namibia and South Africa

Reason: Adventure, visit a friend.

Funds:  Self

Impressions: Africa was incredible. I spent the majority of the time traveling with a college friend who was studying in Namibia on a Fulbright. We car camped across the country and saw many of its best sites. Of course the wildlife was captivating, but I was also struck by the divided landscape, not fully understanding the state of African development and conservation. Still, I fell in love with the landscape and had many incredible adventures including having a car breakdown in the middle of the night on a park road with lions walking past our windows. After Namibia I spent a few days in Cape Town, which remains on my list of favorite cities. I hiked table mountain for the first time. It’s spine track has become my favorite walk in the world. I also learned that in Africa, dangerous trail actually means dangerous trail…

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Table Mountain, Cape Town, ZA

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Stellenbosch, ZA

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Dead Vlei, Namibia

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Etosha, Namibia

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Hyena, Etosha

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Elephants, Okavongo

Date: Summer 2012

Location: BVI

Reason: Employee of ActionQuest

Funds: Paid Position and travel

Impressions: Its not worth trying to explain ActionQuest here other than to say it is a summer camp for teens. Google it if interested. I worked as a captain, marine science instructor, and dive instructor in the BVI. This was my first visit to the virgin islands. They are incredible. Most of the diving is so so, save for the Rhone, The playgrounds, and the wreck of the Chikuzen, which is my favorite wreck dive in the world. Above water, the BVI is unbeatable. Lava flow is the most spectacular beach I have ever been to. The sunsets and Islands make the worlds best vistas. The consistent trade winds and setting make the BVI my favorite place to sail.

DSCN0053The AQ Fleet in Soper’s Hole

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Soper’s Hole, West End, Tortola, BVI

Date: 2013

Location: St. Croix, USVI

Reason: Work, Cane Bay Dive Shop

Funds: Paid Local work

Impressions:  St. Croix is the most underdeveloped of the USVI, and although poverty and crime are a problem, the natural features of the island are exquisite. The diving is the best I have experienced in the Caribbean. Reefs are fairly healthy, sharks are abundant and the North Shore wall, which plunges from a shallow coral garden off a cliff thousands of feet down is the best. I spent my days off hiking the island, and photographing the bird life. Blue mountain/ mount eagle, the highest point is a decent trek. The east end goat mountain trail had spectacular 360 views. Point Udall, Ham’s Bluff, and the botanical gardens were all highlights. Having a cardboard box for a window and mice infestation were not.

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VI Sunset, Hamm’s Bluff

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Green Throated Caribbean Hummingbird

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North Shore from the Hamm’s Bluff light

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Dolphins at Cane Bay

Date: Summer 2013

Location: BVI

Reason: ActionQuest

Funds: Paid Employee and Travel

Impressions: Same Same!

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The Bight, Norman Island

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The Baths, Virgin Gorda

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It’s Going to Rain!

Date: Fall 2013

Location: England, Norway, France, Spain.

Reason: Wedding, Friends, Backpacking

Funds: Self and crew work on sail trip.

Impressions: My main impression of England is that it was and remains the only place I have experienced an attempted mugging. I have done many stupid things, and traveled plenty of questionable roads, but Liverpool almost got me. I wish my response had been more masculine, but fortunately I was fast enough to get away. That aside, I attended a friends wedding, saw many friends in London, which is a great city, and went free diving off the south coast. My favorite though, was the lake district. I also traveled Norway with a friend and loved the country, despite its high costs. Many of the landscapes were otherworldly. I then joined two others on a sail delivery from north France across the Bay of Biscay, Around Spain/ Portugal and into the Med. This trip tested my sailing skills in two 60+ Knot Storms. I’m happy to not see weather like that again!

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South Coast, England

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Stonehenge

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Natural History Museum, London

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Fjords of Norway

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    The Author in Oslo

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Ibiza

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Passage to Ibiza

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Big Waves!

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Thats a scary number!

For 2014 and on see my blog for more in depth stories and photos. Additional photos at Flickr.com/bturffs. Thanks for Visiting!

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