Monday August 6, 2018
Today was our first day of service since arriving in the Galapagos. We woke bright and early for a delicious breakfast at our hostel and then went over to the worksite at Campo Duro! As we drove to the worksite the landscape changed from lava rock and cacti to rainforest. After seeing the tortoise habitat and learning about the problems faced by the many endangered species of the islands, we got to work. We pulled weeds and cut down trees to clear an area of yucca trees.
We got to bring back some yucca to the hostel to have for dinner! In the afternoon we went on a hjke along the beach and through mangroves. We explored a lava tunnel and saw lots of iguanas in the national park. After dinner we went to a nearby store and bakery and bought snacks to take down to the beach for an activity. We packed a lot of fun into the first full day in the Galapagos, so stay tuned to find out what’s to come!
Blog by: William
Tuesday August 7, 2018
Today we started out at the campo duro tortoise sanctuary. We finished clearing the habitat of invasive species and planted native species that the tortoises love. We went back to the hotel for a delicious lunch before heading out to kayak!
We kayaked through the ocean waves before anchoring the boats and jumping off of them for snorkel time. We saw many colorful fish, sea lions, penguins, several sharks, and even a hawksbill sea turtle!
After this magical time in the ocean we headed back to the hostel for a very special dinner of lobster head soup and fresh ceviche. Afterwards we did an activity called story of self where each of us got to share about our lives and our stories. It really brought the group even closer together.
Wednesday August 8, 2018
GALAPAGOS BLOG. DAY 6 (BY: Michael) The morning began at 5 o’clock. The air was heavy, stricken with the common mist we’ve become accustomed to. Marcus and I ran to the second floor, our footsteps pounding on the tile, grasping for grip atop a layer of dew. My fist hit the door with intent and purpose; waiting for the knob to turn. The group slowly rose to our noise, and we set toward the ocean’s waves. It was dark, but the opaque sky slowly melted into blue as the sun woke from it’s own slumber. We sprinted as we neared the sand, the sky, now a transformative orange, crafting the trees’ independent silouttes. Our energies were high and rising as the sun finally breached the horizon, warming our cheeks. We continued the day together with a hike spanning the island’s offerings.
The crusty soil of the dried lava fields snapped underneath our feet. Rocky coves presented a stage as we sat in specatcle of the pelicans’ flight and the boobies’ synchronized diving. The waves crashed against the rocks bathing the crabs and launching the readily moving sea lions closer to our feet. Lava gulls squawked behind, fearless of thier guests. The endemic species flicked around us, encompassing our group in rarity, while calmly navigating around our invasive soles. We left the coast to expidite along a trail, joined by the lazily awake tortoises. Their necks shrivelled towards their shells in retreat, unamused by the roaring paparazzi. They came to except however, their stardom, nearing closer to our lenses. Iguanas, flamingos, ducks, and birds on stilts filled the hike’s wonders; wetlands, hills, and walls dripping in historic tears surrounded us, swirling and twirling as our marvel branded eyes blinked, opening to the next venture. Tortoise breeding center: the baby tortoises waltzed in the pen, happily eating the many leaves lying on the ground.
Parallel to the pens roamed the adult tortoises, rising in formidable stature in contrast to the small innocence of their younger peers. Their saftey, their growth; gems locked within the sanctuary promised future to the vibrance of the Galapagos. Heavy breathing, sweaty backs, and happy spirits. Our soccer game against the Galapagan Fútball Academy rained success, though the obvious laughter and relaxation of our opposition granted permission. No tension, many goals. We managed to pose recreational threat through our undeniable love for one another, as our six day friendship blossomed further into a successfully dynamic team. The game ended, and we excitedly walked back to base camp anxious for food. Upon arrival, the shower’s water fell down my body, cleaning my blackened feet as I tore my blister open, smiling at the visceral Galapagan pain. We are all happy and safe at the Mitad del Mundo (Middle of the World).
We all woke up excited for our fun day ahead. We ate a breakfast of Ecuadorian pancakes and fresh fruit, then headed off to the local elementary and middle school where we painted their basketball court and seating areas. It was really fun work, and everyone enjoyed meeting and practicing Spanish with the children who have lived and grown up on Isabela. Following our work we went back to Hostal Sandrita where we had a delicious lunch. Then we had some relaxing siestas before heading to the beach. Everyone went together to the tidal lava rocks and watched the waves crash into them.
Then we split up and did a range of activities such as taking pictures, swimming with sea lions in the ocean, relaxing in the sand, and eating snacks from local cafes. After our eventful afternoon, we went back to the hostel for dinner, chilling, conversations, and packing in preparation for our travel to Santa Cruz the next day.
-by Carly R.