To Quito We Go!

May 27th, 2013 by kono

This morning we were greeted by a glorious view of Quito and the Andes Mountains. After a wonderful Ecuadorian breakfast of various breads, butters and fruits, we embarked on our trip to Otavalo with a stop at the equator. At the equator we learned about the orientation of the Earth while standing in two places at once.

Heading further into the Ecuadorian countryside we arrived in the town of Otavalo, passing multiple volcanoes. At the market we worked on our haggling skills in order to buy sweet textiles and jewelry. Some of us bought soft alpaca blankets while others bought scratchy tapestries, but all were happy in the end. We next went to an indigenous man’s house where we had a typical indigenous meal of tree tomato juice, quinoa soup, corn on the cob, roasted chicken, hominy, avocado and potato cakes. While at the house we learned various methods of weaving, music, and traditional dress. Our tour guide was very nice and gave us all bracelets that have the colors of the Ecuadorian flag, to remember our trip.

On the way back to the hotel, we had an unfortunate flat tire incident that was repaired quickly. Once we arrived at the hotel, we enjoyed an elegant dinner of pickled salmon, chicken cilantro soup, a rice/beef entre and an Oreo cookie cake dessert. We went to bed pretty early in anticipation for our early morning flight to the Galapagos.

Quote of the day: “I hate it when Bigfoot wears a top hat.”

Houston, We Have a Problem

May 23rd, 2013 by kono

 

This is our post from yesterday May 20th while in transit, we  would write one for today, but we are quite tired and need to be ready to head to the airport to fly to the Galapagos at 6am, which is rough for college students.

Today is our first day out! The title of this blog post might be misleading because there haven’t really been major problems. To start the day off, we had to be on campus by 4AM. After a couple full weeks of severe senioritis, this was a bit difficult for many of us. Once the bags and people were loaded in, the van decided it was tired as well and needed a jolt. Luckily for us, the night-shift security was happy to provide a jump.

For a few of us, it was the last time we would be in Maine for a while. A little bittersweet as we crossed over into New Hampshire. Going through Boston security wasn’t bad at all. It was actually a little funny watching Dr. Ono being stopped for a random explosive search. Of course she was innocent.

Onto the first plane! I personally  don’t remember much other than stewards asking if  I want a drink, dramamine affects me like that. A little turbulence at the end but we landed safely in Houston around noon (EST). Now the wait.

A five hour layover can make for some interesting happenings. First: lunch. If you aren’t familiar, the Houston airport is pretty large. Our terminal has about 5000 places to eat and, of course, a lot of us picked the Panda Express. It definitely wasn’t the best Chinese but what can you do? We then sat through a 30 minute lesson of Julian (the one who has a degree in film) teaching Royale how to use her new Nikon D3100. I think we all took something away from the lesson like what a RAW image is and to never trust your camera. Julian then proceeded to buy freeze-dried ice cream from the “Space Corner.”

After all of the grand times in Texas, including multiple moving sidewalk rides, we then boarded our flight for Ecuador.  We got to our hotel high up in the Andes around midnight, and went right to bed. Mostly everyone slept well, however there have been some rather intense altitude dreams (since we are at 9300 ft).

In other news, Julian discovered how delicious a Frosty-dipped french-fry is.

Quote of the day: “In a past life, I think I was a barnacle.”

Pre-trip photo

May 17th, 2013 by kono

Here we are before the trip

Senior blog

April 23rd, 2013 by njandreau

MAR 451 Natural History and Evolution
of Galápagos Fauna, May 21-31 2013

The lecture portion of this class is designed to familiarize students with the biota of the Galápagos Islands. Throughout spring semester we have been studying the natural history, ecology, behavior and evolution of the animals that inhabit the Galápagos, and learning about the endemic flora of the islands. The laboratory portion of the class consists of an 11-day visit to the Galápagos Islands aboard a private yacht.

Highlights

Map with travel route

We will

  • Explore Otovalo Market, Ecuador’s largest indigenous market
  • Discover the magical biodiversity and biogeography of this world-famous archipelago
  • Walk in Darwin’s footsteps and explore the sites that inspired his legendary theory of evolution
  • Get up close and personal with Red-footed Boobies, Galápagos tortoises, and marine iguanas
  • Watch the Blue-footed Boobies in their mating dance
  • Observe and discuss the effects of development on the islands
  • Enjoy hiking on the islands and stargazing aboard the boat
  • Snorkel with sea lions, marine turtles and other marine wildlife