Galapagos Islands Marine Service & Adventure
July 15, 2019
We woke up today with a beautiful local breakfast, did orientation and some ice breakers before heading off to the natural hot springs of Quito. We still didn’t really know each other, but we started to connect on the bus ride there. We arrived and sat down for a delicious lunch, before changing into our bathing suits. The pools were relaxing and we all enjoyed the warm water. A group of us jumped into a freezing river pool, and immediately ran back into the comfort of the hot springs. During the last 10 minutes, we all went into the hottest area of the hot springs. After drying off and changing, we went on the bus back to our nice hotel. At dinner we had great conversations and became even closer.
-Jaymee P. and Finn A.
July 16, 2019
Today was a big travel day. We woke up bright and early, some of us ate a light breakfast, and then we boarded the bus at 6:15 a.m for the Quito airport where we waited for our flight. Once we got on our planes, we had a pleasant, uneventful trip to the main airport in the Galapagos Islands where some went souvenir shopping. From the Galapagos Airport we boarded a bus that took us to a dock on a canal full of crystal clear and bright blue water. We crossed the canal by boat (mind you that boat ride was about 5 minutes long) to get on another bus. This was yet another scenic bus ride to a city called Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. There, we ate sandwiches for lunch, then boarded our group’s own personal boat which took us to Isabella Island. It was a lengthy but breathtaking boat ride. Once we arrived to Isabella we were taken to Campo Duro, which is a breeding area for tortoises under the supervision of the Galapagos National Park. The purpose of Campo Duro is to support tortoise habitats and breeding in a safe and healthy environment. We all stay in pairs in spacious tents. It was a long day but very worth it once we got to the beautiful Campo Duro, which would be our home for the next 2 nights.
July 17, 2019
We woke up today and ate breakfast together, then had a bit of free time. Around 8:45 we got going with our service work. We split into 2 groups. The first group was gathering rocks from all over the habitat and bringing them back to an existing rock formation around the tortoises’ watering hole to make it even sturdier. The reason for doing this is so that when the tortoises cross from the water back over onto the land, they have some sort of grip and they don’t slip because it gets very muddy. The other group was raking all sorts of leaves, grass and other miscellaneous things on the ground into piles so the tortoises have more room to walk around. Then, after all that was finished, we ate lunch. Later today we’re going to the beach to do more service work there. So far the experience at Campo Duro has been amazing!
July 18, 2019
We started today with a succulent breakfast, including but not limited to, eggs with peppers, fresh bread, delicious papaya juice, a wide selection of fruit, and to top it off, a good cup o’ joe. We then assembled to the van which transported us to not only a brand new hotel with a great view of the beautiful Pacific ocean but a truly one of a kind snorkel sesh. (As the youngins say). We saw a multitude of truly wild wildlife. Including, sea turtles, sea lions, starfish, bastard sea urchins, coral, spotted eagle rays, golden rays, and pufferfish. After the snorkel sesh, we had lunch and the group was then left to their own devices as some went to bed to rest their weary minds and feet and others went to the beach to enjoy the smooth sand and the refreshing water. After this, we visited a giant tortoise sanctuary where we truly had the luck of Steve Irwin and got to watch two tortoises mating in their enclosure as if they had the privacy of the wild and hours to spare. After arriving back at the hotel through a scenic route involving flamingoes, iguanas, and excited stamping of feet on a not really secured bridge. Many great photos were taken, truly National Geographic worthy. No flex. (As the youngins would say.) The gang again would split up, like a terrible group of protagonists in a horror movie, some went to take a nice nap, and a few others went for a nice walk on the beach. Soon after we had a very nice dinner including chicken and a salad. Soon after we really got into the campers spirit and suited up with oversized shirts and sunglasses. All in all, it was a solid day.
-Andy and Tiago out
July 19, 2019
To start the day we had a nice breakfast followed by a beautiful hike on an island where we saw an array of animals. In one area you could see sea lions, blue footed boobies, frigid birds, and marine iguanas, it was amazing. We even got to see reef sharks in a small canal sleeping. We also saw a family of sea lions and so many adorable babies.
After the hiking adventure we got on a boat and got to snorkel. At first we didn’t see much but after a little we saw sea turtles, sea lions, and iguanas right after another. Not to mention the beautiful fish such as parrot fish and massive schools of sergeant fish. There were also little colorful fish and so many sea stars. Also we saw a massive amount of urchins which wasn’t great but overall it was an unbeatable experience. We got to go on a mountain and see the pieces of an old World War two radar.
From your student group leaders of the day
– Dominick & Mason
July 20, 2019
Today was a blast! Breakfast was a feast of bread and eggs. Afterwards, we were jumping and jiving to our next destination: da boat. The boat ride was 50 minutes long, and within the boat we literally jumped and, let me tell you, we jived. After that wild ride we traveled across some beautiful terrain. There were natural bridges, clear blue water, and blue footed booby nests. After a filling lunch, we leapt off the boat to our last snorkeling journey of the trip. This was to be the most intense of the three we’ve done. At this point, we were pros, so half of us almost immediately started kicking up sediment and one of us broke their snorkeling mask. Once we got in our groove, however, it was off to the marine biodiversity races. Here’s some of what we saw; needlefish, sea cucumbers, a seahorse, schools of parrot fish, humongous rainbow fish, hawk fish, sea turtles, puffer fish, and, the zaniest of them all, s-sh-sh-sharks! Like, zoinks! We saw a whole cave of them sleeping, and, later, some just swam by us without batting an eye. We nearly jumped out of our wetsuits when that happened, but then we jived right along. After the 50 minutes of boat riding back to the mainland, it was dinner time. We had honestly one of the best burgers I’ve had in a while, and then it was time to chill out with some coloring and card games before bed.
– Finn A.
July 21, 2019
Today we walked the second tallest active volcano in the Galapagos. We drove to the base of the volcano and walked for ten miles. Over the course of the trip our group saw the environment change very quickly due to the unique weather and temperature. Our group walked through five different ecosystems seeing new wildlife and plants. At the top we saw the crater of the volcano. As we walked around the volcano we saw the Island of Isabella from a elevated perspective. Then we walked to see the Volcán Chico where there was a lava field with lava rocks. These rocks were created because of the different explosion of the volcano throughout the last millennia. We sat for several minutes enjoying the view. We made our way back to the base of the volcano and returned back to the hotel. Everyone had taken showers and got dressed for dinner. We went to the local restaurant for spaghetti and meatballs or popcorn shrimp. Luckily we were able to celebrate Jaymee’s birthday as a whole group. Then we walked to the nearest corner store to buy snacks for the night. We walked back to the hotel to play card games. At ten o’clock at night everyone went to bed and we prepared for our next adventure to the Island of Santa Cruz.
– Steven & Sidney
July 22, 2019
We woke up very early this morning to take a long boat ride from the island of Isabella to the island of Santa Cruz. After our arrival, we walked down to the Charles Darwin research center and saw a variety of animals. Arguably the most important of the animals were lonesome George, a taxidermied tortoise that was the last of its species, and super Diego, who fathered over 800 tortoises and was a huge help in saving his species. After seeing the breeding facility we went to lunch and took a long walk down to Tortuga Bay. Swimming wasn’t allowed at this particular bay but just across the coral, Playa Manza had nearly no waves and we were able to swim and throw a frisbee in the water. We only had 40 minutes at the beach before we needed to walk back to our hotel and change for dinner. The food was amazing and afterwards we walked around Santa Cruz to go souvenir shopping. We were drained from all of the walking so we went back to the hotel to play cards and relax.