Photos From Ecuador

This selection of photos was taken during my stint of volunteering at Santa Martha Animal Refuge in Ecuador. The rubbish ones are mine; the nicely-framed, well-lit and/or in focus ones belong to either Mel and Mark, or Toby Cannon. Enjoy!

Thanks for looking! I hope you enjoyed these pictures. Please feel free to let me know what you think!

And if you haven’t yet read ‘That Bear Ate My Pants!’, the story behind all these images, you can check it out here.

48 thoughts on “Photos From Ecuador

  1. Thank you! The pictures are the icing on your beyond enjoyable book. Where is Toby and Johnny?

  2. Loved the book, love the photos. I was giggling so much reading THAT BEAR, my husband thought I was drinking. Move over Bill Bryson. Fyi, You do not seem like the odd chaps I met in the UK, who mainly stare at Americans and pretend they don’t speak English.

  3. Hi Laurie! Thanks for that 😉
    Yeah, we’ve done a bit of traveling and visited the US a few times, so I like to think we’re good with strangers 😉

  4. Hi Naomi! Glad you enjoyed it! I try to balance the sad bits with the odd joke here and there, but I was sad to leave alright!

  5. Hi Laurie! Thanks for that ?
    Yeah, we’ve done a bit of traveling and visited the US a few times, so I like to think we’re good with strangers ?

  6. I just read your book about the bear ate my

    pants and just purchased the follow up. Really enjoyed the book and have a list of all your books and will be getting the rest as I finish one after the other, I like your writings. Thank you.

  7. Hi Richard! Glad you enjoyed the book! I’m just starting work on another one, but there’s plenty more of ’em before you get that far 😉
    Thanks for reading, mate, I really appreciate it!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  8. Loved the book and your pictures are great. I had my own visions, but now they are real. Getting ready to read the next book and living vicariously through your adventures. Thanks…Sandy in Florida USA

  9. Hi Sandy! Glad you enjoyed the book! The images are never quite the same as the ones we form in our minds, eh. I really wanted to include photos in the books, mostly to prove that it was all real, but that’s tough to do as a self-published author. I’ll be adding some more pics here eventually though, to illustrate the bits that got cut from the books!

  10. Thanks Naomi. Sorry the book was sad! It sort of reflects my feelings at the time, I was gutted to leave. But, onwards and upwards, as they say 😉

  11. Hiya! I sort of thought I probably shouldn’t include pics of people without their permission, and I can’t get in touch with them anymore! Not that I think they’d mind, but you never know – and I can’t afford to be sued if someone decided they weren’t happy with it 😮

  12. I found your book to be delightfully entertaining as well as educational. One hears about animal rescue centers, operated by volunteers, but never even imagine what life is like in those places. It is admirable how much sacrifice it entails to deal with unexpected situations, such as inclement weather and the aggressive behavior of some animals. Thank you Tony for sharing your adventure!!

  13. Hi Marita! Glad you enjoyed the stories! Volunteering is great fun, it really can give you opportunities you’d never find anywhere else. I was just talking with a friend in southern California who has been spending her days feeding baby squirrels with a syringe! So much fun, which sort of makes up for the ridiculously hard work and often unpleasant conditions. It’s an adventure, that’s what it is – and I love it!
    Thanks for getting in touch 😉
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  14. Thanks for the enjoyable read about Ecuador, wild animal rescues, your funny experiences and the harder side of life throughout it all. Your style of writing made me feel upfront and personal with you and all that was going on ….almost! 😉 Im wondering now – where are you in the world and what are you doing for work? Have you gone back yet for a visit to Quito or to Santa Martha?

  15. Hi Jennifer! Glad you enjoyed the book! I’m in Australia at the moment, and you wouldn’t believe it from the quality of my writing, but I’m actually doing that for a living now! After ‘That Bear’ I got asked all the time about what happened afterwards, so I turned that into the sequel, ‘Don’t Need The Whole Dog’. Then it sort of snowballed, and I ended up spending the next few years traveling and writing about it. I’ve recently stopped for a bit of a breather, and started writing some fiction just to keep my hand in. All in all, NOT the kind of life I expected to have, but I’ve rather enjoyed it anyway 😉
    Sadly I never made it back to Santa Martha – the refuge closed down a couple of years after I was there, I think there were all sorts of arguments about the direction the place was taking, and Johnny pulled the plug. Part of me would like to go back and see what happened – I’m sure Johnny still lives there – but part of me is a bit concerned I’d find exactly the kind of place we used to rescue animals from…
    Ah well! On the upside, my little dog Machita accompanied Toby deep into the Amazon, where he set up his own refuge called ‘Merazonia’. And they’re still going strong today, and still taking volunteers! Though Toby eventually went to live in Austria and has two little boys. Life moves on, eh!
    I hope you’re staying safe!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  16. I really enjoyed your book, and I’m likely to purchase others. My husband also gave me a few raised eyebrows when he heard loud belly laughs from down the hall. It’s not always easy to make me laugh, but your silly antics did the trick. Living vicariously through story tellers like yourself makes up for all of the travel that I’m not doing. Keep living life to the fullest and telling us about it!

  17. Hi Nancy! That’s great! I’m so glad you’re enjoying the books. I’ve just started working on another one 😉
    As soon as we’re able to travel again, we’ll be off on another adventure, but for now I’ll have to make do with a bit of trip planning… not something I nornally bother with!
    Hope you’re well 😉

  18. Hi Tony
    What a joy, and an education to read about your adventures in Ecuador. I felt at times that I was actually there observing. I often read at night with iPad screen black with white writing so as not to wake my husband. This became much more of a challenge when trying not to laugh out loud… vision of an uncontrolled human earthquake beneath the quilt!
    I became very fond of you all, and of all of the dear animals in your care whilst reading. Your writing style brings everything to life so well.
    Thankyou for the access to these photos. Great to be able to put real images of some of the creature characters into my mind. May have to read again, now that I have seen them.
    Am looking forward to reading more of your travel adventures.
    Thank you
    Anna

  19. Hi Anna!
    Glad you enjoyed the book – I hope I didn’t get you into too much trouble! I might have to start putting some kind of health warning on the cover… 😉
    Hope you’re safe and well,
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  20. Hi Tony – I loved this book. It made me laugh and it was never boring. I’m in the process of reading all of your books. Keep up the good work. Marcia Texas, US

  21. Hi Marcia! That’s great, I’m glad you enjoyed it! I’ve just started writing a new one 😉

  22. Well, to say the least, I enjoyed your book, “That Bear Ate My Pants”! F u n e e e!!!! I loved the pics, but must say when I saw the pic of “No Name”, I said aloud, “that’s all the bigger it is??” Wow! I imagined it being a little bit bigger at least! However, a Caiman can still have sharp teeth no matter the size. Ha Ha! Actually, I live in FL and no matter the size, I steer away from gators!
    Must run, it’s time I download another of your books. The sequel, I’m sure. Best of luck always.
    Karen, SWFL, US

  23. Hi Karen! Yeah, it wasn’t the biggest croc – I think fear made it seem a whole lot more intimidating when I was trying to catch it barehanded… especially after the bite! Quite lucky though, if it HAD been bigger, I might have been seriously injured by that bite, instead of wiping it off and going straight back to work… still, I wish it had left big gnarly scars! I hope you enjoy the other books. I’m doing readings from them at the moment on Facebook, if you fancy having a look – it’s easy enough to find me, just type my name in 😉
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  24. Loved the book!! I laughed, and cried, and admired you and all of the characters you met and worked with for helping all of those animals. What an adventure. It makes me want to find a sanctuary and do the same. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

  25. Thanks Sarah! You really should do it – well, once we’re all allowed to leave our homes again! It doesn’t have to be a massive international adventure, either – loads of local wildlife hospitals need volunteers. I built a bridge and some enclosures for a place in Somerset, UK, next door to my parents’ house! That way you can work up to the more challenging trips, if you want… or you can do what I did and dive straight in… but that way tends to result in more injuries, in my experience 😉
    Glad you enjoyed the book! I hope you keep reading my other adventures 😉
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  26. I haven’t laughed at a book so much in a long time. Thanks for the entertainment and also for the pictures of the animals that I felt I got to know while reading your book.

    I’m an avid sci fi fan so looking forward to delving into those books too.

  27. Hi Jodie! That’s great news, glad you’re enjoying the travel stuff. The sci fi stuff is funny too, but not quite as much – it’s got more of an action and explosions kind of feel to it 😉

  28. Hey Tony,

    Just finished your book moments ago and came to see the wonderful photos. I’m a traveler at heart and suffering from itchy feet while on lockdown. This fun adventure definitely brought some extra joy to my life until I am able to set out on my own excursions once again. Thanks for the follow-up comment about Toby too (above). Still have your caiman souvenirs (scars)? I think the sloth story was my favorite, as well as picturing the tortoise cruising down the side of a mountain, belly up. So many great moments. Thanks for taking the great efforts to capture these memories and sharing them with the world.

  29. Hi Lisa! Cheers 😉 I’m glad I ended up with as many photos as I did, most came from Mel, Mark and Toby, as I only had 2 24 exposure films with me at the time… Yes, that’s right – FILMS! Yikes. Dates the story a bit… The scars are tiny, and only visible now when I get a really good tan, but since I’m living in Australia, that happens quite a bit 😉

  30. Well, I’ve just finished reading about Ecuador and Thailand and I’m wondering if I’ll ever sleep again. Every time I set down your books to go to bed at night I wake up in the middle of the night to pee and I HAVE TO READ MORE! Love your adventures and I already know I’ll enter into a major grieving period once I’ve been through them all!

  31. Hi Barbara!
    I’m trying to write another one at the moment, but the world isn’t really co-operating… all this ‘travel ban’ malarkey makes it surprisingly hard to be a travel writer! But don’t worry, more adventures will be forthcoming… eventually 😉
    Oh and THANK-YOU!!!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  32. Just finished the first 3 books, and the next 3 made into one from Amazon! Loved, loved, them all! Thank you for the pictures. Just totally made my day! Best wishes to you & Roo!

  33. Hi Dawn! Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the books! I’m slowly coming around to the idea of writing another one – it’s been a good few years since we got back from Asia – but it’s a long, slow process for me! Watch this space 😉

  34. Hey Tony! I’d like to thank you for your books have been keeping me sane during the second lockdown here and despite this being my 3rd reading they’re still consistently brilliant! I cannot believe some of the ridiculous situations you’ve ended up in – I’m insanely jealous!
    You’ve definitely fueled my wanderlust considerably, and I can’t wait to embark on an adventure of my own after the army! Hopefully it’ll be even half as nuts as yours ( sometimes I wonder how you’re still alive haha!). If you ever come to Israel let me know!

  35. Hi Gadi!
    That’s awesome, I’m so glad you’re still enjoying the books! Man, when I was writing them I must have read ’em at least five times each, I was so sick of the damn things I wanted to burn them! I’ve met a few people from Israel during my travels, usually doing a trip either just before or just after their army service. I think you’ll have a fantastic time, especially in places like Thailand and Laos! I also highly recommend doing a ski season in New Zealand, I’m pretty sure you guys can get working holiday visas over there like I did. We still can’t travel here (I’m living in Australia these days), but if I get chance to visit Israel I’ll let you know for sure 😉 This is definitely the wrong year to be a travel writer!
    Hope you’re well, mate!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  36. Cheers for the reply mate! Thailand and New Zealand are near the top of the list just because of your books! I also have some slightly weirder destinations that most people my age have never heard of haha – I’ve mainly been invited to Amsterdam for obvious reasons. My list is more about places like Bhutan, Mongolia (again, partly because of your book), the Faroe Islands, Greenland, Tristan Da Cunha and many many more. Places off the beaten track. I’d definitely also like to volunteer at some kind of animal center like Santa Martha. Your travels have been a huge inspiration to me!

  37. No worries! I love to hear that my books have inspired a bit of travel. Most of the time, it seems like they inspire people NOT to travel… 😉 When I was trying to find voluntary projects that sounded cool, but weren’t insanely expensive, I used a book called ‘Green Volunteers’. They’ve ungraded to a website these days, but it still looks like it’s 1987 there: https://greenvolunteers.com/en/
    One tip when you’re looking for projects (if you decide to) – the flashier the website or brochure, the more of a rip-off the scheme is! Often if you do a bit of careful Googling, you can find the actual project where you’d be placed by a big, flashy company, and contact them directly to make a much more reasonable arrangement!
    Good luck, mate!

  38. Fantastic book,I just couldn’t put it down..definitely buying your other books tony.felt like I was actually there, as I got so enthralled in this book.you ever wonder what could have been with lady?

  39. Hiya Mike!
    Cheers for the kind words! Yeah, for quite a long time I actually tried to import Lady into the UK! It was REALLY tough though, even back then the rules were very strict. I never had anything like enough money to sponsor her, so it pretty much turned out that the only way to do it was marriage! I never dared ask her how she felt about that, and certainly it would have been a fairly life-changing decision for me… In the end, she met another guy, an Israeli, and she traveled all over the world with him, so I was pretty happy for her. As far as I know, she still travels quite a bit – not bad, coming from her tiny village of Tambillo! Life is strange, eh, and who knows what could have been. I’m rather pleased with how it turned out though – I won’t spoil the story, as it’s coming up in the other books 😉
    Cheers for getting in touch, mate!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  40. I really enjoyed the book. I am almost ashamed to say that I paid 99cents for the kindle edition. It was worth at least twice that amount. ? Loved seeing the pictures, but disappointed that there was no pictures of Lady.

  41. Hi Wally! Glad you enjoyed the book! I’m pleased you got a bargain, I think a lot of people who get it for 99c never bother to read it! I’d far rather have someone enjing it, no matter the price 😉
    I didn’t put pics of Lady up for privacy reasons, I didn’t think it was fair to her to have her photos on a random website when she’s moved on with her life… spoiler alert – we never did get back together after Ecuador! But I’ve been on a whole different adventure since then, and I’m pretty happy with how things ended up 😉
    Thanks for getting in touch, mate!
    Tony

  42. HiTony,was looking for something else to read other than biography after boring biography of so called famous faces!(cus I’m a nosey git)?Thought I’d give your first trilogy a go as it sounded quite fun. Let me tell you mate,couldn’t put it down,absolutely fantastic read! Just finished it and downloading next trilogy now. How are you still with us??!! What an adventure your life has been to date,long may it continue to be! Silly thing to say, but STAY SAFE,hope all in your life are well,and looking forward to the next installment. Nice one mate!?

  43. Hi John! Awesome, mate, glad you enjoyed them! There’s been a bit of a speed bump in the adventures lately, what with being unable to leave the country, but we’re itching to get back out there. Roo is determined to keep me alive – she takes full responsibility for me still being around, despite my own survival instincts being somewhat lacking…
    I hope you enjoy the rest of the books! There’s a few twists coming up… 😉
    Meanwhile, stay safe, mate! And have fun!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  44. Hi Tony
    Thanks for the extra ‘missing bits’ of your first book. I finished reading it last night so now I can read the extra chapters about Ecuador before I move to something else. Loved the book and great to see some photos of the animals (and Machita) here. Sorry to hear the sanctuary didn’t keep going though. Love your twisted sense of humour. 🙂
    Cheers, Monica

  45. Ha ha! twisted is the world! Also, ‘childish’, apparently… 😉
    So glad you enjoyed the books, and joined the mailing list to get the extra chapters. I’m still working on the next bunch, I think I’ll do the extra ones that I cut from the second (Thailand) book, so you’ll probably have time to read it before I send them out. If you get the urge, of course! Hope you’re staying safe!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

  46. I thoroughly enjoyed the book. You have quite a way with words … example, spiky bitch plant. I frequently laughed out loud. I left you a nice review on Amazon and recommendEd the book to my book club, Prime Time Reading Challenge 2021 on Facebook. One of the challenges was to read a book with an animal in the title, so I wad quite happy when I stumbled across your book. I’m sure I will read more of your books ?

  47. Hi Charlotte!
    Glad you enjoyed it! And many thanks for the review, and the recommendation too. I never really planned on being a writer, so I don’t really follow all the ‘rules’ as such… in my book about Australia, I apparently invented a word which I was sure everyone used already… ‘sparadoingy’, anyone? No…? Ah well! So long as you had a chuckle, I’m happy 😉
    If anyone in the book club does want to read any of my books, they (or you) are welcome to shoot me any questions you have about anything at all. You can find me on Facebook, too: I’m (unsurprisingly) Tony James Slater.
    Thanks for getting in touch!
    Best wishes,
    Tony

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