Aerial silks and the island life

Photo by Govan Adrian Basson of Totalkaos Photography.

Around this time last year I had the opportunity to travel to Thailand for some aerial workshops. I have always wanted to visit Thailand, and since my weekends already revolve around my aerial training, I figured that it made sense to give it a shot. I love learning, and the three coaches teaching at the event all brought something interesting to the table.

While looking down from the plane upon landing, Thailand appeared completely unreal. The landscape had countless palm trees surrounded by the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. Upon landing in Phuket, I was even more impressed by the incredible energy of the city. I have always been a bit of an urban explorer, but do to massive flight delays, my time in the city was cut very short. That being said, I did wander for a little while and fell in love with the organized chaos.

Staying at Railay Beach was quite an experience. It was so awesome to check out the local culture on a daily basis and I had fun scouting some pretty fantastic caves. I definitely want to go back and rock climb! One of the coolest parts of my trip was having the opportunity to observe wildlife. There were troops of monkeys everywhere,  and I have enough videos of their antics to last a lifetime! Every night, colonies of flying foxes would fill the sky, their wingspans so large that they looked enormous even when viewed from the ground. Some of my favorite bat species are native to Thailand and I hope to do a bat survey there someday.

To sum it up, my trip had some great moments, but I left Thailand feeling like there was so much more to experience that just didn’t fit with the structure of the event I was attending. I had barely scratched the surface of what that unique country had to offer. Needless to say, I was already planning all of the things I want to do next time around before leaving the airport for my departure flight.

I have discovered that I love sharing the amazing things I see during my travels, albeit sometimes not blogging about it until a year after I get back home! Over the past few weeks I have finally taken my camera off of auto mode and am learning the basic principles of photography. I hope to create some lovely photos during my next adventure!

For those of you who want to follow what I’m up to on a more frequent basis, check out my Instagram profile @rebecca.r.edwards.

XOXO!

I’ve always loved photographing signs when I travel and had a blast exploring Railay Beach. This tattoo shop was quite charming.

Cave decor.

One of the many scenes that caught my eye during my brief time in Phuket.

Stunning limestone karst.

Real coffee.

Words on walls.

Lost in thought.

Playing in the mud. Photo by Jen Crane.

Cappuccino, Hong Kong style.

Nightlife.

I’m only happy when it rains. Photo by Govan Adrian Basson of Totalkaos Photography.

As part of a national initiative showcasing contemporary art, Krabi was chosen to exhibit emerging artists in outdoor scenery. Artist Chusak Srikwan utilized Phra Nang cave as the home for his unique sculptures. His concept was based on folklore and inspired by local crafts from Thailand’s southern provinces.

Phuket.

Photo by Govan Adrian Basson of Totalkaos Photography.

Thailand’s most adorable party crasher.

Due to flight delays, I had very little time in Phuket. I did, however, spot some beautiful things near my hotel.

Wednesday Addams at the beach.

Rare moment in the sun. Photo by Govan Adrian Basson of Totalkaos Photography.

Thailand’s tattoo history dates back to ancient times. It was amazing to see how many shops offered bamboo tattooing.

Norman Rockwell moment.

I was thrilled to stumble across this troop of Spectacled Langurs (Trachypithecus obscurus)! These adorable primates are also known as Dusky Leaf Monkeys and can often be seen feeding on fresh leaves, fruits, and flowers. Spectacled Langurs are generally docile and engage in many forms of play. Sadly, they are considered to be near-threatened, primarily due to hunting and habitat loss.

Island life.

Feeling Batty!

Special thanks to photographer extraordinaire Daniel Whitby for adjusting my camera settings and creating an incredible set! I still can’t believe that I was able to catch an image of this exquisite bat in flight!

In honor of International Bat Appreciation Day, I’m finally posting about my incredible trip to Panama! I have been fascinated by bats ever since I was a child and have dreamed of being able to study them in a real world setting. Last year I became aware of a bat survey being held in Panama and jumped at the chance to attend.

The expedition was being led by none other than Merlin Tuttle, a world famous ecologist who quite literally wrote the book on bats. The trip was co-led by Daniel Hargreaves, an extremely knowledgable conservationist from the U.K. Our team conducted a survey in the Mamoni Valley of Central Panama, a biodiversity hot spot teeming with life. We stayed at the gorgeous Cocobolo Nature Reserve which covers 1,100 acres of lush rainforest.  Over the course of a week, we studied 367 bats, which translated to 46 species.

I cannot begin to express what an amazing experience this was and I look forward to participating in more field work in the future. I also spent a day exploring Panama City before heading out to Cocobolo Nature Reserve and have included images from that location as well. There are a few photos of me taken by others where I was not sure who to credit; my apologies. To learn more about the amazing world of bats, please swing by www.merlintuttle.com!

While visiting Panama, I fell in love with Casco Viejo’s historic buildings.

I spent some quality time with this little Pygmy Fruit-eating Bat (Artibeus phaeotis).

Cocobolo field station.

Nighttime in the cloud forest felt like magic.

This identification guide was an invaluable tool for studying bats in Panama. The species list is very expansive and the devil really is in the details!

Scenic photo from the first night we set up mist nets in the river. This is shortly before I stepped into deeper water, which resulted in my boots becoming completely flooded. This process would repeat for another night or two, and each time, I was amazed that the water could outsmart me so easily. I eventually just accepted my fate and embraced the experience. The jungle is no place for divas!

Look closely and you will spot an adorable White-throated Round-eared Bat (Lophostoma silvicolum). These bats are especially fascinating because they roost inside of termite nests!

The data collected while studying bats is recorded on a processing sheet. This information helps conservationists better understand bats, which aids in protecting them.

This little guy was swimming with us while we were netting in the river one night. Cheers to Alex Shepack for bringing him to the field station so that we could admire him!

Panama City skyline.

Check out this sleeping bat silhouette! Some bat species construct “tents” from leaves by nibbling on them until they fold. Once modified, the leaf can serve as a shelter, which offers protection from harsh elements and predators.

On the riverbank, trying to ID the bat I’m holding…

Daniel Whitby wanted to try an experiment with the settings on my little Canon PowerShot camera. The next thing I knew, I was able to take this amazing photo!

Merlin Tuttle leading the charge! This hike to the Continental Divide ranks in my top five favorites of all time.

Spotted outside of a small market in Panama City.

I absolutely loved working outdoors and becoming familiar with the sights, sounds, and hidden mysteries of the rainforest. It’s awesome how alive the jungle becomes at night! I learned so much from the people in my group and will always be grateful to them for their camaraderie, patience, and impeccable instruction.

Look at the ears on this charming Lophostoma silvicolum!