May 27th, 2013 by kono

Hello all! We finally have wifi, which for 21st century young adults is amazing. Everyone is still alive and doing well, no one has fallen off of a cliff and died, we just have been living on a boat;  therefore we do not have internet… EVER. Also, sincere apologies for a lack of pictures, we have limited time and limited internet power, so pictures and videos will be added to posts or posted when we return. Right now, we are enjoying time in the town of Puerto Villamil on the inhabited island of Isabela.

This morning we got up for the normal 7am breakfast and then headed out for a hike around Tintoreras, an islet off the coast of Isabela full of baby marine iguanas and hosting some rocking views of white tip reef sharks. We also got a chance to see more penguins, blue footed boobies, sea lions, and the crowd favorite, the Sally lightfoot crab. After that we returned to the boat to prepare for our snorkel. The snorkel was pretty uneventful though a few of us managed to spot a large male sea turtle, and we once again swam with some curious sea lions.  However, it seems that some of us no longer find the sea lions as amusing as we used to.

Lunch was once again quite delicious and many embraced the siesta time.  We then shipped off to the Puerto Villamil, where we got to see some flamingos and visited a tortoise breeding sanctuary. We saw dozens of young tortoises which was an amazing and adorable sight for everyone. After a short hike  through the mangroves we made it back to the town and found a nice little cafe to do some blogging in.

As a warning for those of you who check daily, we will most likely not have internet until we hit an airport again (which means no posts until Thursday or Friday). Just remember that we are thinking of our friends and loved ones and that we are missing you all very much and wish that you could see the amazing things we have seen so far. Time is definitely flying!

Quote of the day: “I would get naked to save you.”


May 26th: Don’t Leave Me, I Love You!

May 27th, 2013 by kono

Today was a day of ambition. Many of us began the morning by attempting to wake and see the sunrise, but alas, most of us failed. After another delicious and nutritious breakfast, we hiked the “Chinese Hat” formation named for its appearance and shape. On this hike we saw dozens more Galapagos sea lions, marine iguanas, and the crowd favorite, the sally lightfoot crab. While on the small boats, we also saw brown pelicans, and Beth’s personal favorite, the Galapagos penguin. While this wilderness adventure may have been enough for some, as mentioned before, we were very ambitious. Many had their sights on swimming with sharks and penguins during our next snorkel swim in the volcanic rock channel separating sombrero chino and Santiago. Though chilly, the swim was a success, mostly for Beth, who got up close and personal with a group of four penguins. There was even a juvenile being cleaned by the parents. Royale was also successful in recording an awesome underwater video of a white tipped shark. Whenever an elusive critter would swim or scamper away from us, we would always say, “Don’t leave I love you!” in an attempt to keep the wildlife close. We always made sure, however, to maintain appropriate distance.

After lunch and a quick trip to the other side of Santa Cruz, we set off on yet another hike, this time to Whale Bay, where whalers used to land after harvesting their catch. The wet landing was the most tense and dramatic yet, but luckily all cameras were safe. We were fortunate enough to see a young Galapagos tortoise. He was nowhere near the size of the giants we had seen earlier, but it was still wonderful and mesmerizing to see nonetheless. Although we were all hot and tired, we ended the day on a high note with a quick dip/swim in the beautiful, blue Pacific. Some of us were even fortunate enough to see several Galapagos green sea turtles.

We are now on the boat waiting for our dinner. Tomorrow we will be off to Isabela, where we will hopefully be able to post all of these wonderful blog posts. For right now though, we are all perfectly content to sit back and enjoy the sunset.

After we wrote this the highlight of the evening was ice cream for dessert.

Quote of the day – “My species just tried to poop on me!”

May 25th: Mission to Mars

May 27th, 2013 by kono

Today we awoke to a new view: Santiago, which is an uninhabited island in the Galapagos. After a wet landing, we ventured on a lava rock hike. The deep red sand and lava rock of Santiago reminded us of the surface of mars, and it was hard to believe where we were! This hike ended in a snorkel adventure, in which we saw Galapagos penguins, marine iguanas, and the crowd favorite, sally lightfoot crabs. This snorkel trip was made even more fun and adventurous by a few curious sea lions that swam with us. Needless to say, many photos were taken.

After a large lunch and siesta (nap), we went on yet another snorkel. We saw so many sharks, rays, penguins that it was hard to keep track of them! Although the water may have been cold, our hearts were warm with wildlife love. A brief change of clothing, and we were back to hiking; this time on Bartolome, another uninhabited island. We hiked to the top of a small volcanic mountain. The view, along with the steep hike, took our breath away. The rest of the evening was spent relaxing, eating, and more species listing.

Tonight, we will be staying off the coast of Santiago (good news for those with sea sickness), and will be exploring more of Santiago before leaving for Santa Cruz. Adios amigos!

Quote of the day – “Gatorade – it’s made from the bones of gators.”

May 24th: A Whole Lot Of Boobies

May 27th, 2013 by kono

Today we woke up for a 7:00am breakfast and a hike on Darwin Beach, Genovesa.  During our wet  landing on Genovesa, Royale lost her waterproof camera in the ocean.  We hiked along the beach where we saw basking Galapagos Sea Lions, Swallow-tailed Gulls, Great Frigate birds, Red-footed Boobies and Nazca Boobies.  Once we reached the top of the cliff we observed a Hammerhead shark swimming in the distance and a Marine Iguana swimming in a small inlet.  After the hike, we went on our first snorkeling excursion.  The snorkeling wasn’t the best due to poor water visibility, but many of us were still able to see various sharks and rays.  While exiting the ocean Tim was able to find Royale’s camera and was offered a free Coca Cola in appreciation.

We returned to the ship for lunch and a short siesta (rest or nap).  We then headed out for our second snorkel of the day where we swam with Galapagos Fur Seals and some tropical reef fish.  We returned to the boat, dried off, and then embarked on our next hike up Prince Phillip’s Steps.  At the top we observed hundreds of nesting, juvenile, and adult boobies and Great Frigate birds.  A special treat at the end of the hike was a rare close –up viewof a one-eyed Short Ear Owl, which we nicknamed the “pirate owl”. We then retired to the boat for dinner, showers and species listing.

Quote of the Day: “I yakked and then I saw a shark.  Everything has a silver lining.”

May 23rd: Santa Cruz-ing

May 27th, 2013 by kono

This morning we got a wake-up call bright and early at 5:15, in order to leave the hotel by 6:00am for our flight to the Galapagos. We first had to pass through customs and have our bags inspected to insure no invasive species would be introduced.  From there we had a relatively quick flight compared to the others and landed on the island of Baltra in the Galapagos! There we were greeted by our knowledgeable guide Victor. From the airport, we boarded a bus full of children, who quickly became very fond of Zane, and then headed to the dock to be picked up by our zodiacs. While there, we saw some pelicans, Galapagos storm petrels, and a crowd favorite Sally lightfoot crabs. The zodiacs took us out to the yacht the M/Y Floreana. From there we saw some magnificent frigate birds and spied a sea lion chilling on a partially sunken vessel.

After a good lunch, we went onto the island of Santa Cruz in pursuit of Galapagos Giant Tortoises. “Tort watch 2013” was a massive success with us seeing at least 6 tortoises, some that were very large. There were a number of smaller bird species, as well as multiple fruit trees seen on the hike. A few unfortunate run ins with fire ants also occurred. In addition to that hike, we went on an adventures through lava tunnels. At the end of the tunnel was Rancho el Chato, where some glorious Coca Colas and sweet bananas were consumed and some comfy hammocks were much appreciated.

On the bus ride back to the dock, we stopped at a very large crater that was 80 meters deep.  While waiting for the boats to arrive we got to see a marbled sting ray and a white tip reef shark. Unfortunately we also witnessed a pelican struggling with swallowing some litter. After dinner we once again went to bed remarkably early for college kids and the boat headed off to our next destination.

Quote of the day: “You are all going to end up in Ecuadorian prison.”