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Northern Winds, Tropic Waves

Posted on November 28th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

Cold Northern winds blowing over the tropical Gulf Stream kick up the waves in South Florida.

Panama – Swimming in Two Oceans in Three Hours

Posted on November 5th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

On October 9th ArcticTropic awoke on the shores of the Pacific, swam, then drove 3 hours to the Caribbean ( Atlantic ) and swam there. Actually the drive is 45 minutes along the highway near the Canal, and 28 minutes to see both. However the beaches near the canal are not swimmable.

Japan In Eight Minutes

Posted on October 30th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

ArcticTropic Panorama of this summer’s stop in Japan on the Round The World Journey .

Panama Canal

Posted on October 8th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

Today ArcticTropic accompanied the delegation from Enterprise Florida on a tour of the Panama Canal. The Canal, which just celebrated its’ 100th Anniversary is undergoing a major expansion -PANAMAX – which will triple capacity and allow much larger container ships to traverse between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Ships enter from the Atlantic ( Caribbean ) side at Colon.

PANAMAX construction. Estimated to be finished by late 2015.

Gatun Lake. The total route is 50 miles ( 80 km ) and takes 8 to 10 hours. Only 32 ships a day can pass through – 16 from either side. Reservations are required 547 days in advance, but expedited service is available.

Entering Miraflores Locks.

Clearance of the ;Miraflores completed, the ship sails into the Pacific, about 5 miles away, then on to China.

Panama Arrival

Posted on October 6th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

After a 2.5 hour flight from Miami, ArcticTropic arrived in Panama City. All immigration and ground transport was super fast and efficient. Panama is a true Crossroads of the World. Since the Canal Zone turnover and the departure of Manuel Noriega, the economy has grown exponentially. Many Americans,Chinese,Colombians and Venezuelans have settled in , growing a huge modern skyline.

By air it’s only 5 minutes from the Atlantic …..

…. To The Pacific.

A Sunday Afternoon stroll through the Old City.

Part of the Spanish Main.

A peaceful oasis in a bustling World Port.

Cuba From The Air

Posted on October 6th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

The 2.5 hour flight from Miami to Panama City, Panama passes directly over Cuba, in the central part of the country. Though US – Cuba relations are not at their best , American Airlines pays the Cuban government for the privilege of using an air corridor, as it saves lots of fuel for not having to fly around the island.

Isolated Cayos on the North Coast. Unspoiled Paradiese.

A tiny farm town cut off from the world, yet only about 150 miles( 250 km ) from Miami.

The South Coast does not seem as sandy. However, fishing is rumored to be incredible.

Bolivia’s Potosi Mine

Posted on September 3rd, 2014 by Alina

45 kilometers and 4.5 hours later I arrive in Potosi from Sucre, Bolivia’s capital. Potosi known only for its mine is a medium-ish sized town. Because of a government strike everything is closed for the two days I was there, expect the silver mine. “Hello everyone, my name is Pedro I’m an ex-miner, today I will show you the beautiful mine of Potosi, I began mining when I was 12.” Now retired at 28, Pedro of Big Deal Tours is prepping us for a mine tour.

Our first stop is the miners market to pick up coca leaves, soda and dynamite as gifts to the miners. If I’m correct these gifts are like our “entrance fee” to the mines, which are nationalized. We are given protective clothes to cover our branded jackets and jeans. Our sneakers are traded for worn and dusty boots and our warm beanies are replaced with hard hats equipped with lights. “Okay everyone, we go!” On a shabby bus we head up hill, at about 4200 meters our bus slowly whines up the dirt road, inches from the edge we make our way to one of the 200+ entrances of the mountain.

As we wait to enter we’re told of the rituals and religions the miners honor. Dried lama blood covers the entrance and all the doors to storage and dressing quarters that line the entrance to the mine. They hold one religion for the outside world and another for inside to mine to protect themselves from death inside. The religion inside consists of gods, uncles, devils and one female spirit that protects the over 8,000 independent miners. With endless uncharted tunnels you can use all the protection you can get. It’s unknown how many tunnels or miners are working inside daily. There isn’t a log or check in system to keep track. Dynamite which as you saw can be easily purchased, can go off at any time. The knowledge of the old miners and enthusiasm of the new ones is what powers the continued exploration of this very old mine. The elders teach them how to look for silver, the growth is from north to south, they pass down rituals of their mine Gods. Coca leaves and a special alcohol that comes in a plastic bottle (which I’m convinced is rubbing alcohol minus the “safe for consumption sticker”) are some of the offerings to the Gods. Coca leaves seem to be the main food stipend. They have about a entire mouth’s full at all times, Pedro tells us about the magic powers of the coca leaves – keeps them from getting hungry, thirsty, or loss of energy. Most miners seem to be addicted and as most side effects of narcotics we know why.

As we make our way past different statues within the cave honoring the mine gods we are asked to sit. Pedro begins to give us life advice and lessons. He tells us about eating healthy, providing for our family and ends with requests for love and happiness from the Uncle God of the mine.

We travel about 600 meters in and around the mine. We pass tools from all generations, simple chisels to machines. Miners in Potosi can earn between $USD700 to over $USD10,000 a month from silver and zinc. This number is outstanding because it is said that the amount of silver Spaniards took was enough to build a bridge from Potosi to Spain, that was also said for the amount of bones from mine slaves that died during the colonial period.

A miners life may be one of the hardest, days spent in the dark to emerge only into the darkness. My grandfather was a miner for over twenty years in Romania his lack of education lead him to that life but his detection to work trickled and changed the following generations. If you want to experience only for a moment what it feels like to have this hard but rewarding life I’d recommend the tour, just know it’s not the safest or charted.

Moscow to Siberia

Posted on August 17th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

Final edit of Go-Pro footage of ArcticTropic’s exploratory voyage across Russia in early Summer 2014. Five days in Moscow , then to Irkutsk,Lake Baikal and Ulan Ude , before crossing into Mongolia.

Ukraine Flyover

Posted on July 19th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

Flying over the Ukraine , then later Afghanistan on Singapore Airlines SQ 25 from Frankfurt to Singapore on March 13, 2014, on ArcticTropic’s voyage to Myanmar. Flying over war zones is usually routine when the fighting units on the ground either do not have access to high altitude missiles or have no need to use them in their local conflicts. Eastern Ukraine is in a busy air corridor from Northern and Central Europe to South Asia. Obviously that has now changed.

British Columbia

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by Blaine Zuver

From Europe,to Asia back to North America, British Columbia was the last stop on ArcticTropic’s Round The World Adventure. After a long flight from Tokyo,via Manila , we settled into Vancouver to readjust to North American life, then ventured North of the city.

Fjords begin just out of Vancouver and stretch thousands of miles up into Alaska.

Glaciers overlook the Pacific.

A young Miamian enjoys the summer snow.

Mysterious life forms in the rainforest.

Road signs in First People’s Native Language of Tsihqot’in.

Enjoying the northern sunshine.

Back across the Date Line.

And finally – Home !