Erin Anzalone I'm a current student at the University of Tennessee. I take photographs. I'm always looking for a new adventure. I'm traveling with my boyfriend Ian Ware. Ian Ware I am a senior at the University of Tennessee, in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, with interests in Invasive species, sustainability issues, community ecology, and wildlife ecology. I am an avid backpacker and caver.

The end is nearing…

 Posted by eanzalone at 10:43 am  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jul 052009

Hola amigos y sus familias!

(I really don´t know if that´s the right way to say that..haha)

Anyways…sad day today! Ian and I had to say goodbye to the best of our friends from all provinces of Canada and Switzerland. We watched them drive off, back to Jatun Sacha in the jungle, while we are staying here at the beach until our flight out on Wednesday. We can´t believe that 5 weeks has gone by so fast! For all of you, if you didn´t know already, Ian and I will be flying from San Cristobal to Quito, Ecuador on Wednesday the 8th, and then flying the following morning back to the States. We will most likely be back in Knoxville late Sunday evening.

This week was one of the best up at the station. Thankfully, the rain subsided and Ian and I were able to finish our research. PHEW… We also got to do a lot of hard, manual labor that just honestly pumped us up! We got to make coffee one afternoon, which we bought some of. We also got to work down in reforestation, where we macheted trees! Jatun Sacha needed to clear cut the area where invasive species have taken over, then coming back to replant the native trees. We yelled “TIMBER” a lot and sweated even more. It was exhausting and too much fun at the same time. Later that night, we all headed to the bar in celebration of Canada Day! We got decked out in Canadian paraphenalia (stickers, pins, buttons, etc), then drank until there was no tomorrow! Haha. We even all sang the Canadian national anthem. It was the best night we had at the bar, and a great farewell since it was our last bar night. On Thursday, we returned to the Green House where we planted 1000 tomato plants. It was good, slow work after a late night at the bar. When we finished, Carlos at the Green House, told us they had no more work for us to do, so until the taxi came, Ian and I slept in between rows of tomatoes in the dirt. Yes..we were that tired. That night, we all shared a delicious cake to bid us farewell from the station.

Port has been wonderful all weekend. The weather has been great. The sun seems to never hide. Friday night, our group went out for pizza and pasta. Otherwise, our days have been spent at the beach, collecting our last rays of sun. We are both as brown as can be. The sun here is so much different than back home. Much much stronger. Ian and I plan to lay out again tomorrow and Tuesday.

Although we are excited to return and see our families, friends, and dogs of course, we are very sad to be leaving. It´s weird to think that San Cristobal has been our home for the last month. It´s so cool that we can say we lived on the Galapagos Islands for a month! We will miss the station and our friends. It´s been a great experience hanging out with so many people from around the world..much different than from home of course. Ian and I already have a Canadian roadtrip planned out and a trip to New York to see Jack this Christmas. Ecuador has been nothing, but incredible. We will miss the culture, the food, the people, and most of all the scenery. South America is a completely different world.

Can´t wait to see everyone! Sorry, the middle paragraph is in bold because the keyboards here are layed out different and now we can´t change it. Love and miss everyone. See you all soon!


Ian and Erin

Week 3.. done and done.

 Posted by eanzalone at 3:23 am  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 282009

HI family and friends! It has been another wonderful week here on San Cristobal.

The weather at the station was unfortunately terrible this week. It rained and rained some more. It cut down on the bugs and uped the amount of sloppy mud we had to trek through. Work this week was slow because of that. We would work for a few hours and then would be called to stop because it´s a little dangerous working on a steep hill in the rain with a machete in hand. We did get to experience new work this week though. We traveled to a green house about 30 minutes from the station operated by the Ecuadorian government. There we got to work inside, digging 1 meter holes with these post hole diggers that were taken apart to make 2 odd shovels. WHAT A JOB! Ian and I had never been that sore here at the station until that day. Our hands, backs, and arms were very tired. We definetely passed out in hammocks upon our return to Jatun Sacha. Our research moved slowly also this week. We would start in the morning and get an hour of work done and then the rain came. Hopefully this week our luck will be better.

Our beloved friend Jack left this weekend in Port. I´m pretty sure Ian and I were the saddest to see him go. He was our American buddy from Connecticut, going to school in San Diego majoring in Biology. He also got the worst of luck this weekend when he found out his flight had been changed to Friday instead of leaving Saturday without any notification via email or phone.  Poor guy had to buy another ticket, but is planning to get his money back when he reaches Quito to talk with Jatun Sacha.

This weekend at port has been nothing, but relaxing. We came down very early Friday morning with Lydia. She took us and a small group to the San Cristobal Interpretation Center. There we got to read all about the Island´s history and development progress. We also learned about local problems the island is working to fix. Right now, fifty percent of the island´s electricity is produced by windmills. That´s incredible. In the next 5 years, they plan on having 100 percent power from the windmills. Lydia then took us on a small hike around the center to a couple overlooks and a out of this world bay to swim in. We were the only ones there. A baby sea lion had tons of fun with us that day too. He´d splash water at us and jump between us. He was having a blast. We´d wave to him and he´d roll up on his side and wave back with one of his flipper feet. He was adorable. I´d bring him home if I could. Afterwards, Ian and I came into town to get some lunch and relax along the boardwalk until dinner. It was an early night in. Yesterday, we were early birds to get to the La Playamann beach. We stayed all afternoon swimming and tanning. Everyday..we get a little darker. It´s great! We cooked dinner at The Yellow House, another hostel here in town where some of our Canadian friends were staying. Dinner was great and cheap! We bought tons of veggies and pastries for this morning´s breakfast. Today, we plan on getting back to the beach before the cabs come at 4 to take us back to the station.

We can´t beleive that we only have one more full week here. We plan on working very hard at the station, doing as much as we can. We´ll get all of our research wrapped up this week too, of course. It is not yet decided if we will stay in port next weekend until our flight out on Wednesday. We might stay and just enjoy the sun a few more days before its back to the states!

Hope all is well back home. If you haven´t gotten a chance, check out the Daily Beacon online. A student there wrote an incredible article about Ian and I. It is the best anyone has written thus far. Props to her. Love you and miss you. See you all soon!

Ian and Erin

Back in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno.

 Posted by eanzalone at 1:12 pm  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 202009

Hola chicos y chicas!

It´s wonderful being here again in port after a long, hard week up at the reserve.

This week was quite eventful. It started out Monday morning. We were ready and awake at 8 am with our machetes to take down some mora. We rode to a neighboring farm, took a hike, and the mora cutting began. Everything was going great. We had music playing and our spirits were up after a wonderful weekend on the tour. The day started taking a turn quickly. First, Erin had a terrible expereience with fire ants and a spider. A small spider slipped into my glove and bit my hand. It stung and ached for a good while, while my back and chest had bites all over them from fire ants slipping under my tank top when they fell from the trees. Then, Ian started complaining of a terrible ache in his stomach, constantly bending over with his hands across his belly. Luckily, the work was coming to an end so we jumped in the car and headed back to reserve. Upon reaching Jatun Sacha, Ian was immediately sick. We laid him down and he tried to keep down water and meds, but nothing would help. It was time to head back here to port to the hospital. Lydia, the wife of the leader of Jatun Sacha tagged along to help us with the language barrier. Unfortunately, she ONLY speaks spanish so the conversation between her and I was almost hilariously elementary. Lots of hand signs..haha. Ian was soon given an IV and drugged up. He was asleep within 30 minutes of arriving. We left about 3 hours later. Ian´s stomach was in good shape, but he was exhausted and very weak.

Tuesday morning after Erin had some breakfast, we headed back to the reserve. We had the rest of the day off to relax. But Erin was told she would be needed the next day out in the field. Later that night, 2 more girls from the tour went to the hospital. One with high fever and the other with the same stomach symptoms as Ian. Lydia was very upset, yelling to us in spanish about how somewhere the tour is sending us to eat on  the other islands is unsanitary.

So Wednesday morning, we thought everything that was unfortunate was over..but we were wrong. While Ian slept for the morning, I headed out to work with other volunteers. We weren´t working but for 20 mintues, when one of the German boys, Phillip, asked if anyone had a bandaid. I told him yes, but as I walked over to him with the bandaid, blood was coming out of his boot. His machete slipped off a rock when he swung and sliced through his boot, cutting his big toes down to the bone. He needed much more than a bandaid. He soon left for the hospital to get stitches.

Hopefully, all the accidents and sickness are done from here on out!

OK! So I´m sure all of you are wondering what we are doing at the reserve with our reserach proposals. We have been getting quite a lot of work done. Ian and I have layed out and observed 20 plots. There, we sit and count evidence of herbivory and insect visitation. The first day of research we came up with his hypothesis. They seem to be proving correct thus far. For instance, we have noted that the invasive species Mora Comun, is much more visited and eaten when there are berries and flowers present. The Mora berry here is very popular on the island not just to the insects and birds, but to people too. We are about half way done with the plots and Ian has been taking a bunch of notes on the surrounding ecosystem of the humid highlands. This week, we will be sitting down with Cesar, King of Jatun Sacha. We have been told he knows everything we need to know about the plants. We are going to ask him about the history of the invasive species we have been taking a look at thus far. The photography work is coming along great too. Ian and I have been discussing in full on how the First Friday show will look. I feel that we are coming to some great conclusions and I beleive the show will be a success in documenting our experience here and the research we have done.

We head back to the reserve tomorrow afternoon, but after another full day at La Loberia Playa. We got a lot of sun today. The snorkeling was great. We swam all day with the sea lions. The port is such a great reward after putting in our time at the reserve in the highlands. And after the first few mosquito bites, you kind of get used to it!

Hope all is well in Los Estados Unidos. Happy Father´s Day to our dads and shout out to Justin and Mr. Ware for birthdays as well! We love and miss everyone, and can´t wait to see you guys!

Ciao from SudAmerica!

Ian and Erin

First week in Galapagos

 Posted by eanzalone at 11:54 am  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 142009

Hello all! I know it´s been a while since our last post, but since we are currently living in the jungle with outdoor cold showers, spiders, and mosquito nets around our beds..you can count on in that we don´t have internet.

Currently, we are sitting here down at port because we just returned from a 4 day tour of the islands! It was the best 4 days of my life. We are started our adventure on a bot towards Floreana, a small island of only 100 people! The boat shook Ian quite up..if you know what I mean. Katy, you´ll be glad you weren´t there. haha. We stopped shortly before we reached land to a place called Champion Bay. We got to snorkel for an hour with the sea lions! Incredible! They danced and nibbled on our flippers. They were so playful and fun to dive around with. Thanks mom for the underwater cameras! Then it was off to Florena for lunch and a hike up to pirate caves! Yes, real pirate caves! We got to see cut outs of rooms they made and pathways. They were located in the highlands so they would have good views of the sea to keep an eye out. After the hike, we went back to the boat and left for Isabella. Our guide, Franklin, showed us to one of the beaches on Isabella and talk about breathtaking. The contrast between the white sand, the black lava rocks, and the emerald water is the most beautiful sight ever. The next morning we took a long 5 hour hike into the higlands on Isabella up to Sierra Negra, the 2nd largest crater on Earth. We got to hike through the national park up lava hills, through other craters. My camera loved the place. It was amazing. There were steam holes and the colors were spectacular because of the sulfur. What a place. After the hike, we took a dip in the bay to relax. Then we were off to Santa Cruz, the most populated of the Islands. What a sight again! We started our journey there by going to the famous Charles Darwin Research Station. It was wonderful to see all the work there. We also got to see the famous lonley George tortoise. We then continued to the higlands for a walk to see Giant Tortosies in the wild and got to walk/crawl through lava caves. They were beautiful. Then we finished the day laying on the beach watchng the sunset. Today, our last day of the tour, we spent the morning on Tortugua Beach, sunning and swimming. I don´t think I´ve been on a prettier beacch. Then we sailed to Santa Fay to do some snorkeling. We saw some giant sting rays and sea turtles! And fish just covered the ocean floor. In all, it was an amazing tour! Animals we saw were: sea lions, penguins, giant tortosies, blue-footed boobies, white tip reef sharks, iguanas, dolphins, whales, and stingrays. All of these were seen in the wild! yes, we saw whales! Ian was the first to spot them. It was so cool to watch them slap their tails into the water! It was a very succesful tour!

The reserve we are at through Jatun Sacha is great. Very simple, but the people make up for the hard work. We have made many new friends from Germany and England. And our lovely Irish girl Claire! There´s also a girl from Switzerland and one from Canada. Me and Ian are the only Americans holding the fort down, besides Matt the reserve leader. We now can both say we´ve learned how to use a machete. Always good to know! My muscles have been sore and the humidity is god-awful, but the fun and laughs are great. Ian and I have started our research and our off on a good start. It´s funny to think we only worked two days at the reserve and then have been off on a tour since! But we have 3 and a half weeks to go to make a big change for San Cristobal, and we´re looking forward to it.

The food has been quite great too. I look forward to making my own decisions though again! haha, but I can´t complain. But I can tell you I won´t want rice and beans when I come home for a good while! It´s helped to keep a few snacks on us. A good cnady bar every once in a while makes all the difference, yet we can already see the differences in our bodies. The muslces our toning and the weight is dropping off from sweat. It´s so nice near the coast, but at the reserve the humidty tackels us.

Well I must be off. We are getting dinner soon here at Port before we leave for the reserve. 4 days of hard work and then back down here for a great weekend of beaching! haha! We will update again sometime next weekend. Hope you all are enjoying reading about this trip. Ian and I couldn´t have asked to spend summer in a more incredible way.

Buenos Tardes,

Erin and Ian


 Posted by eanzalone at 6:55 am  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 072009

Hola amigos!

It’s our last full day in Quito. We leave tomorrow at 9 am for San Cristobal for 5 weeks. We are so anxious. We have been just relaxing the last 2 day. We finished a little shopping in the open air markets for presents for our families. Sent out the rest of our postcards! Everything has been great. The weather has been fantastic and the last two nights, we got a little brave and explored a coupe blocks of Quito at night. We figure Friday and Saturday were good nights because the whole town was out going to discotechs and bars. It was fun watching the locals hit the town. And I felt at home sometimes hearing Rihanna and other artists that we often here back in the states. haha. I know there were other Americans in the hostal this morning when I could hear Britney Spear’s “Womanizer” playing froma room across the hall. I thought about all my girls back home and sang to myself as Ian kept sleeping haha. And we’ve played countless games of double solitaire, which Ian has been winning some! And mom and ainsley, i have really got down how to do the fancy card trick I was so jealous of in st. georges island! You would be proud!

We did a little laundry last night and got in trouble..the first real probelm we’ve had. I guess we were supposed to ask because laundry is not offered here, but I apoligized to the woman the best I could in Spanish. We were totally embarrased, I almost wouldn’t come down for breakfast this morning. We felt ridiculous. But we made it up to her this morning when I didn’t speak a word of English as we sat in the office to pay our hostal bills. She seemed happy that we were trying so hard and she forgave us haha

Although its only 70 to 75 degrees here during the day, the equatoral sun is showing its true colors, especially on our noses. Our faces look very tan already, even though we’ve been wearing jeans and scarves most days.

Alright, wish us safe travel tomorrow. We’ll update next friday when we have computer access again. For all you readers, we will only have internet access Friday through Sunday. On the reseve there are no computers. Love you all!


Ian and Erin

Quito is full of life!

 Posted by eanzalone at 1:30 pm  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 042009

Today was incredible. What an adventure. We sure are exhausted though. We must have walked at least 8 or 9 miles today up to the statue and capital buildings of Quito.

We started the morning wtih some pasteries from across the street from our hostal. We sleppt in until 9 this morning and missed breakfast at the hostal. And then off we went..for miles and miles. Up hills and rough, busy streets. We had a great time, took wonderful pictures. When we got back in the area of Mariscal, where our hostal is, we had lunch and then came back to rest. We checked our email and surprisingly, a woman  from the Knox Sentinel is writing a story about us! We had an emailed interview to fill out and send back to her. When we find out when the story is to be published, we will let you all know cause we want a few copies of the newspaper! So please help us on that one!

Today was also great because we met a girl, Priya, here at the hostal who goes to Vanderbilt! We were astounded. And not only does she go to school in TN, but just got back from the Galapagos from the same volunteer program. She let us in on everything we needed to know. She had a wonderful time, saw incredible beaches! Told us there is a bar 10 minutes from the reserve where they go every night. She said no one is from America, mostly England and Germany. She said everyone was nice and the work isn’t hard. We found out that we only work Monday through Thursday. On Friday’s the reserve leader  takes us on an all day hike, taking volunteers to secluded beaches and other prominant highpoints, such as a freshwater swimming hole. No tourists will get to see what we will! We can’t wait.

Buenos Noche!

Ian and Erin

Hola from Quito!

 Posted by eanzalone at 3:23 am  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 042009

Hello friends and family! Yes, we made it here safely!

Qutio has been a beautiful city so far. We have done much exploring and plan on taking off in the next few minutes to the Old City to see lots of catherdrals and the Statue of El Panecillo. Surprisingly, the little bit of spanish that we know is getting us around fine, but almost everyone here has no lick of English. But we carry a dictionary with us at all times haha

The weather is astounding. Just perfect. The people are friendly and the food is great. The hostal is wonderful with a sweet woman who makes us breakfast every morning.

We went to our orientation for our volunteer program yesterday. We are getting pumped about the Galapagos!

OK, must go! Time to explore more. I’ll try to get postcards in the mail tomorrow *you know who I’m talking to*


Ian and Erin

We leave in the morning

 Posted by eanzalone at 1:44 pm  Ecuador  Comments Off
Jun 012009

We are flying out of Tennessee tomorrow morning for Ecuador and we are extremely anxious and excited. We are traveling as a couple to Ecuador and then to San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos, we are so ready.

We are slightly nervous for Quito, Ecuador’s elevation at around 9,300 ft, and we are trying our best to stay as hydrated as we can.

More posts to come


Ian Ware and Erin Anzalone

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