, , , , , , , ,

Heart of Darién / RGS Geographical magazine

I travelled to the jungle on the border with Colombia in April 2017 to photograph and write a story about the potential development opportunities in the area following the disarmament of FARC.  

Opening extract from the RGS magazine’s December issue:

The star fighters are attacking. Or at least that’s what it sounds like. The high-pitched gurgling of the black oropendola bird is like a Star Wars ray-gun effect being strangled out of an 80’s synthesizer. Every few seconds a lightening-yellow tail feather flies out of the great guayabillo tree some 40metres above the remote dirt road. The long pendulous nests dangle from thin branches like knitted Christmas stockings.

 

It’s a gift of a sighting. But suddenly, after five days of remotest travel in the Darién province, something even rarer happens. An open top jeep with a half-dozen white tourists comes rolling along the track. The weather at the start of the monsoon season is as unsettled as the recently brokered peace with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), whose activities have been known to spill over the border. But just for a brief moment – with the tourists’ binoculars trained on the giant guayabillo birdhouse – the scene resembles any normal exotic safari. And then the men with guns arrive.

 

Twenty border police, known as SENAFRONT, armed with assault rifles, camouflage gear and twitchy eyes come trekking down from deeper jungle. They look like they have been on their feet some time. The startled tourists are quickly whisked away by their driver. But my guide Isaac Pizarro and I are on foot and we get mixed up with the armed men.

 

, , , , , , , ,

How to hike the Grand Canyon / the Guardian

In November 2016 I plunged a mile deep into the Grand Canyon with my friend James Kao. We crossed the Colorado River at nightfall, then hiked out the other side – all within 24hours. On July4th the Guardian published my story and photography from the adventure. There’s an extract below. Or you enjoy the full article online.

, , , , ,

Raising Valparaíso / Geographical (RGS)

In 2016 I spent five months in Chile’s coastal and cultural capital, Valparaíso. Walking the streets and by interviewing locals I wrote the feature and shot the photos for the January issue of Geographical magazine. The first page of the investigative story about the UNESCO status of the city; how it is being developed and who […]

, , , , , ,

Atacama by Tandem / Outdoor Fitness

I have been writing about travels in Chile for a few years now. In a country that stretches over 2,500miles it takes some effort to get to its most extreme ends from the central capital of Santiago. In May however we wrapped up our tandem bicycle in a couple of bike boxes and boarded a plane to the northern city of Calama.

Our ambitious plan was to cycle a backcountry mountainous loop, climbing to over 4500m above sea level in the Atacama Desert. I’m sure Outdoor Fitness editor John Shepherd thought it was a mad idea, but when we returned safely with a wild photo set he agreed to a 6 page feature in the 2016 winter issue. On sale now across the UK.

atacama-desert-complete

, , , , , ,

Work out Like A Polynesian Warrior / Red Bull

Living 2,000km from the nearest inhabited island, the Rapa Nui people of Easter Island must be jacks of all trades. Using photography from my three week trip to the island for the BBC, this light-hearted article for Red Bull Adventure gives a break down of the different skills that “Polynesian Warriors” practise during their most important festival of Tapati. 

Click to read online

Red Bull - Work out like a Polynesian Warrior[:]