July 3, 2017
They made it! Everyone arrived tired but excited to start their two week adventure in the Galápagos. After a late dinner and some quick introductions, everyone headed to bed.
Tomorrow we will start the day with orientation and then explore the city in the afternoon.
July 4, 2017
Written by Suzannah Crandall
We had a great first day exploring Quito, learning about the chocolate making process and getting oriented for our next few weeks on the Galápagos.
After a morning of going over program details and getting to know a bit more about each other, we headed to Quito’s old town region. We had the opportunity to tour some gold adorned churches and learn about Ecuadorian history as we wandered along cobblestone streets. The afternoon ended sweetly with a fun demonstration and tasting from a local chocolate producer.
Before dinner a few of us took part in some good old fashioned face painting to observe the 4th of July holiday in the states. We also did an activity to define leadership and brainstorm ways we could be everyday leaders and impact those around in simple ways.
After a delicious dinner and a dessert of fresh strawberries, we met in our mentor groups and then did some final repacking.
Tomorrow we head to the islands. Communication can be tough once we hit the Galápagos but we will try to keep you up to date on all the fun adventures we are having.
July 5, 2017
Written by Addie Caplinger and Krisjanis Reks
Bus-> Plane-> bus-> boat – > bus – > boat – > truck
Today was a LOT. Through throwing up and sweat we traversed the Ecuadorian countryside and Pacific ocean. We entered the Galápagos today and were immediately greeted by sea lions and iguanas. By driving across the islands it was if we had entered a new world, one designed by Michael Crichton.
July 6, 2017
Written by Tim Donovan
Today we woke up at 7 am and went down to eat breakfast. After breakfast we all went down to the water and went kayaking. However, it doesn’t stop there. We tied our kayaks one by one onto a rope and jumped into the water. Even though we are in a tropical place, the water was kinda chilly but what we saw made it worth while. During snorkeling we saw a turtle, blue footed boobies, PENGUINS, and there were also an abundance of sea lions. We say all of this despite the fact that the water was murky from the storm the day before. Even though this already sounds like a full day, I still have more to talk about. So after the beach we had some free time to relax and do whatever we wanted. Suzannah brought us to her well vouched for ice cream place. It was all home made and it was absolutely life changing. Again, it doesn’t stop there. We then walked maybe 6 feet from the ice cream place over to the beach. And this beach along with basically any other ones on the island, was completely breathtaking. Sitting with everyone watching the bright aqua water crash on the beach and turn snow white really brought us all to a different state of mind. Everything seemed so perfect and relaxing. It was so amazing. And I really couldn’t ask for a better group to share these moments with. So after our free time we came back to the hotel and got ready for our second adventure of the day. And let me remind you this all went down before noon. After everyone packed up and got their work clothes on we were all blessed to go pull invasive species of plants in the giant tortoise pen. These tortoises were described to us as being only like the size of a puppy because they were only 15 years old, but they seemed like giants. We worked very hard on pulling these weeds to help benefit the tortoises. For dinner we had fish curry and ended the night with mentor meetings.
July 7, 2017
Written by Ava P.
Today was such a fun day. To switch it up we spent the morning volunteering at a local school. There were only FIVE students that attended and they were there to help us repaint their school. We took a break in between to play a game of soccer with the kids, and after that they were really excited to paint and be with us. It was really rewarding at the end to see what we did to help their education. We returned for lunch and afterward went down to the beach and swam. The water was freezing but it was worth it. The afternoon was free, so everyone walked around town and shopped around and it was super nice to just spend time with everyone. Overall, it was a great day!
July 8, 2017
Written by Nick Ashworth
We started the day by heading to the tortoise breeding center and learned about the tortoises and why they are being protected. After we has tortoise time we walked back to town and explored for a couple hours. When the bus finally arrived we hopped on and headed for the volcano. The trip up the volcano was not difficult and the view we had was amazing. As we neared the top we began to hunt for guavas and a couple of us (including our guide Fernando) tried for at least a half hour to catch a wild chicken so we could bring it back to town and eat it. Sadly we lost the chicken in the brush.
Once we got back to town we were all exhausted and ready for bed but we couldn’t go to sleep on an empty stomach, so we made our way down to the kitchen and ate eggs, rice, hotdogs, and potatoes. After dinner we gathered in the terrace and reflected on the day.
Written by Michael Nemez and Chloe Little
Yesterday was a long day of travel and fun. We started our day with breakfast and a 2 hour boat ride to Floreana island. There, we snorkeled with sea turtles, sat on the beach, and ate lunch. It was quite relaxing. After lunch we took a 3 hour boat ride to San Cristobal island and our second home base. We had some free time in the village and then headed up the hill to our new home. After a delicious dinner, we watched a great movie and just relaxed.
Today we went to the beach and sunbathed with the sea lions. Afterwards, we went snorkeling. The water was crystal clear, and we were able to see many fish, sea turtles, sea snakes, and eels. After having lunch at Home Base, we started rebuilding a forested habitat. We cut down guava trees and blackberry bushes (both invasive)in order to restore the natural habitat.
Bella Tulauskas and the rest of the dope Galapagos crewOn the 14th we had a travel day back to Quito and unlike the other travel days, all it took was a plane ride. All of us were very tired so we just hung out at the hotel for the day. On the 15th, the final day, we had quite an exciting day and we got lit in Quito. To start off, we journeyed to the equator. We not only got to stand on the equator, but we also got to learn about indigenous cultures. On the equator, we tried walking in a straight line and balancing eggs on nails; Ade was the only was who was able to balance the egg and received an official certificate of great esteem. After our equilateral adventure, we were off to salsa dancing. After learning six basic steps and putting them together, we were basically professionals. Ava and Bella danced the best when we were doing the couple dancing. They should have gotten recruited by the owner of the studio to be on the dance team. We ate lunch at a restaurant called Crepes and Waffles and ate crepes and waffles; we also had ice cream after. Then we walked to a market and were able to bargain for alpaca blankets and socks. After our exciting day we played Galapagos trivia and had dinner at the hotel. Despite all of the strange blog posts we have written, we have had a truly amazing trip. The skills we learned will benefit our future and the memories and friendships we made ill last a lifetime. See you soon.
By now everyone has made it home and is settling back into their normal routines. From our end, we just want to thank every student from this group for an amazing two weeks! Laughter, tears and ridiculous jokes made this session an incredibly rewarding one!
Thank you for all your hard work and positivity!
Abrazos a todos.