Sunday June 30, 2019
Hola from Ecuador!
All of our Galapagos: Preserving Natures Wonders participants have arrived in country! After a long day of travel for most, we will hit the ground running tomorrow morning for orientation and a tour of the beautiful city of Quito!
Not pictured is Thoma, Molly, Elizabeth and Benjamin. They were the first to arrive, but were fast asleep by the time the rest of the crew got back and took this photo. We will send another picture of our whole team tomorrow!
Allie – International Director
Monday July 1, 2019
Today was our first full day of adventure together! We started off with breakfast and then went straight into orientation where we learned about the program, each other, and the country of Ecuador.
After lunch, we jumped in a bus to explore Quito! Throughout the day we visited multiple beautiful view points, a Non Profit honey shop, watched a chocolate demonstration, and walked inside the majestic Golden Church. We finished a long day sharing our values, and finally, packing up and preparing for the next part of our adventure: The Galapagos! Tomorrow we leave early for the airpot.
Till tomorrow! Much love from Galapagos Track A, Session Two!
Tuesday July 2, 2019
We started off the day very early to catch our flight to the Galapagos. Our day was a very long travel day, but we all got to bond as a group. I feel like we all know each other so well even though it has only been two days together.
We have already seen tons of amazing animals like iguanas, penguins and lots of seals. Charlie has decided to name every seal he sees.
We made it to the hotel safe and sound. It is very beautiful and they are selling plantains right outside the hotel and it smells absolutely amazing. We are very excited to wake up early tomorrow to hike!
Wednesday July 3, 2019
I was the leader of the day today and it had its ups and downs. I was a little nervous that I might oversleep and when my roommate forgot to turn off the alarm for three o’clock in the morning, I tore out of bed as fast as I could. I then checked the time on my phone and was both relieved and a little frustrated. Later that day we left for the hike. We walked for a little bit and then went to go to the water. We swam for a hot sec with the sea lions and then continued on with our trek.
When we got to the Wall of Tears we had a moment of silence for all of the prisoners that had died building it. We then started the walk back and stopped at a volcanic tunnel that had been filled in with sea water. Me and a couple of other people had climbed inside and started to look for crabs. After this we walked on the beach to go get our lunch. When everyone was finished with their lunch, we started our world problems presentation and later the whale debate. I learned a lot about problems with whaling and it was very interesting. The debate we had opened up a lot of questions and changed my opinion about it.
The last thing we did was play soccer with the locals. It was a lot of fun and they were so amazing. If I told you we beat them, then I would be a liar. They were a lot better than us. We played for about an hour and an half an still only scored about six. Whatever the outcome was, both teams had tons of fun. Overall today was amazing and I made some good friends.
Leader of the Day & Blog Author: Ben
Thursday July 4, 2019
I was the leader of the day which was interesting. I had to wake up earlier and had some responsibilities. Today we went snorkeling and the first second we got in it was very cold and then we also saw a shark. Some people saw rays and turtles!
Later, we went to a tortoise breeding center and walked along the beach. A lot of people got ice cream, coconuts and empanadas.
In the evening we played soccer and had ice cream to celebrate the 4th of July!
I’m really looking forward to seeing the new island tomorrow and I enjoyed today a bunch.
Leader of the Day: Charlie!!
Friday July 5, 2019
We woke up in Isabela Island. After breakfast, we went to the harbor and started our smooth ride to Santa Cruz Island. We arrived at our hostel, where everyone rested and unpacked. We ate lunch, and then we were off to start our four hour service. After being eaten by fire ants, we headed back to the hostel while blasting music. We ate dinner and did a Pulse Check, checking in on how we’re all doing! Soon after, we were all exhausted and went to bed early, before 10pm!
Saturday July 6, 2019
Today was our first full day on Santa Cruz Island! We did service all day. We went to the tortoise ranch for the second day, but this time we worked for 8 hours, mostly clearing brush, and at the very end planting new trees. Frenando, Wilson, Lexi and Hakan, our guides, started a crazy guava fight after a break, where we all ended up with squishy guava fruit smeared on our heads and bodies. Easily the best part of the day. After a delicious lunch, we also explored some lava tunnels that formed naturally due to the high volcanic activity of this island. The service work was rigorous, yet rewarding. Finally, after a long and pretty exhausting day, we enjoyed some well-deserved ice cream!
Sunday July 7, 2019
We had a well needed later wake up call this morning, after 8 hours of service the previous day. After an 8 a clock breakfast we walked to the harbor then took a quick taxi boat ride across. We then had an easy 30 minute hike inland to Las Greitas, a beautiful swimming hole formed by high seas and rain in a canyon, where we swam for about an hour. We then walked back to homebase stopping at shops along the way. We then had lunch and headed back over to the service project. We worked planting trees and moving brush for three hours before returning back to homebase for dinner. To finish off the day we had a nice walk into town where we saw lots of reef sharks and a sea turtle off the dock.
Leader of the day: Ava
Monday July 8, 2019
We woke up in Santa Cruz and had breakfast. Then we took a very bumpy ferry ride to San Cristobal island. Next we hiked to the visitors center, and then to our beautiful snorkeling spot. We saw sea turtles, sea lions, marine iguanas, and beautiful fish in the crystal blue water. After swimming we all lay on the burning sidewalk to warm up, just like iguanas! When we got back, we made ourselves a delicious taco dinner, and then went to bed and had a restful nights sleep.
The day started of with a delicious breakfast and then a walk to the beach. Sea lions shared our beach time with us while we swam and napped. After the beach we walked back to the hostel where we changed and then went to a delicious lunch. We went to an interesting talk about trash and then we made cool bags out of shirts to help the plastic problem!!
Friday July 12, 2019
This morning breakfast was at 7:45, and some of us were very happy to have coffee that wasn’t stir in. After breakfast we got on a bus and headed to a museum on the Equator. On top of getting to play fun games on the equator line (balancing an egg, walking like a sobriety test, and watching the water spin different ways), we also learned a lot of new culture and see hummingbirds along the way. Some of us bought beautiful bracelets, and scarves being woven at the gift shop by local women.
Afterwards we had our salsa class. We learned 5 salsa steps, and some other styles of dance before we ended the lesson by dancing to foot loose. Afterwards we got back on the bus to eat the BEST LUNCH EVER at Crepes and Waffles. Students ordered crepes, shrimp curry, chicken, fish, and fancy pizza along with different flavors of frozen lemonade, sodas, and juices. Afterwards we ate icecream there before we walked to the Quito markets.
The markets were colorful and filled with clothes, jewelry, and avariety of other neat trinkets. After students made their purchases, we walked back to home base.
Many responsible students started packing to go home, but some of us cuddled up to watch the Bachlorette in the hotel lobby until dinner. After dinner (which had canned peaches for dessert) we all walked up to the roof for our closing ceremony.
By the end of our web of memories, appreciation circle, and slideshow all but one student was crying. As we hugged each other goodbye (and exchanged social media information), most of us were still teary eyed. As we say goodbye to Quito, all of us want to thank Alli, Lexi, Hakan, Wilson, Fernando, Patricia, and Kiara for the trip of a lifetime.
Please don’t be hurt if your kid(s) gets off the plane a little sad to be home, because in the Galopogos we have found more than paradise, we have found a second family.
Last blog post from Molly! 💕