Can I Carry Your Luggage? By Shelley Lance-Fulk and Jacklyn Amtower

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 I don’t know how it is that I had never heard of Shelley Lance-Fulk and Jaclyn Amtower, who live in Beaver Cove, a small village just north of Greenville, and who have travelled to all 7 continents and more than 75 countries to experience and photograph wildlife.

Thankfully, I know about them now, after reading some of their amazing stories, and seeing some of their fantastic photographs, in their new book published by Maine Authors Publishing, Can I Carry Your Luggage? The title comes from a question often asked at their talks from folks who would love to travel with them and carry their luggage. Now, I’m also on that list!

These two sisters spend half the year traveling the world to see wildlife, adding to their lifetime of incredible experiences, and they share a lot of knowledge about the animals they’ve seen and some great stories of their adventures in this book. But the highlight for me was the amazing photographs of everything from penquins to elephants. They do include Maine’s moose, and all of the major species around the world that you have heard of, but I was especially intrigued by the critters I’d never heard about.

Those would include African wild dogs, the vervet monkey, koalas, lemurs, skua (one of which attacked Shelley), hyrax, gerenuks, and many more.

And wait ‘til you see those mating leopards hanging together in a tree! The photos of Shelley patting a baby cheetah and sitting on the knee of a huge elephant are pretty special too. And then there was the story of two lions settled on the ground, leaning against Jaclyn’s tent! A scary incident occurred when Jaclyn was bitten by a scorpion. The treatment by the tribal shaman included a knife and a smooth shiny black rock!

Some of their adventures are scary – from close encounters with a herd of elephants to a dangerous storm in Antarctica. Then there was the time they got caught in the middle of the greatest migration in the world - more than a million animals running at and around them. “After we had been sitting expectantly for about 30 minutes,” they write, “the dust lifted to reveal hundreds of thousands of running animals. The wildebeest and zebras were circling our vehicle on their way to the waterhole. It was complete chaos with the braying and barking of zebras, the snorting of the wildebeest, and the dust flying as agitated animals continued to arrive. The ranger said with the three merging groups of animals, there were well over a million. The animals surrounded our vehicles, so that if we had been brazen enough, we could have reached out and touched them. There were other animals as well, including the anticipated predators awaiting the herd’s arrival: impalas, Thompson gazelles, warthogs, predator birds, hyenas, jackals, and of course lions.” Sorry I missed that!

I really really want to visit the Ngorongoro Crater, where more than 25,000 animals live. “You can view lions, buffalo, zebras, rhinos, several species of antelopes, crocodiles, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, and a large variety of birds,” they tell us.

And here’s some really great news. You can see lots of awesome photos on their website, www.compassroseimages.com, where you can also purchase greeting cards and more, all featuring their wildlife photos. Shelley and Jacklyn are also available for talks. I hope to get to one of those soon!

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