May 2010

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For former International Expeditions guest Dr. Linnea Smith, her time on an Amazon rainforest tour was truly a life-changing journey that is now having a positive impact on the people of the rainforest. This Wisconsin-based doctor gave up her practice to open a medical clinic in 1990 serving the Yagua and Ribereno people of the Upper Amazon Basin.

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The recent catastrophic explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico has put Florida, Mississippi, and our home state of Alabama on high alert. And even though we are an international adventure travel company, we are first and foremost Alabamians. Many of us vacation several times a year on the Gulf Coast and have friends and family living there who depend on the Gulf Coast's perennial draw as a destination.

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The oil spill is beginning to reach the Gulf’s shores, and its effects are already being felt in towns and cities that depend on it - this is in addition the local wildlife in both the land and sea that are dying by the thousands.

We have compiled from many different sources ways you can help contribute to the cleanup and save local wildlife.

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It's truly International Expeditions' enthusiastic local guides that make our Galapagos Island vacations so special, and no one is more passionate about his work than Galapagos Expedition Leader and Naturalist Bolivar Sanchez! We recently asked Boli six quick questions.

If you could be any animal, what would you be?
I would love to be a hammerhead shark — they live on the edge.

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Just 1.5 million years before humans began taking leisurely dips in the ocean, the waters were home to an immense shark "Megalodon" (formally known as Carcharocles megalodon). Despite coming in at more than 60 feet long, young C. megalodons would still have been vulnerable to other predators of their time, much like young great whites are today. According to a new study published in PLoS One the "mega-toothed shark" may have protected its young by delivering them in nurseries.

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Guests who take our Galapagos Islands cruises first fly to Guayaquil (pronounced "why-a-keel"), Ecuador, where our Galapagos tour begins. We always stay at Hotel Oro Verde, where there are four restaurants, but for those who want to explore Guayaquil's dining spots, there are plenty to be found. Here is a local-favorite Guayaquil restaurant list recommended by our knowledgeable Expedition Leader.

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Galapagos Islands cruise guests always love meeting famous "Lonesome George" at the Charles Darwin Research Station. The giant tortoise, the last of his subspecies, is a native of Pinta Island, where the Galapagos National Park officials have just released 39 giant tortoises.

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IE Creative Services Editor Emily Harley recently traveled on our Amazon River cruise! Now she shares thoughts on this unique small-ship adventure.

While I’ve already had a wonderful meeting our Expedition Leader Hernando and eating and touring my way around Lima, I know from years at IE that our Amazon tour doesn’t start until we’re on the boat.

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For many first-time travelers to Egypt, dealing with aggressive vendors can be a daunting task. Long-time Wings Over the Nile leader & Product Development Director Bill Robison shares his tips for shopping on your Nile cruise.