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We’ve had a busy couple of days!
On Wednesday we visited a local school and joined in with some of their lessons. It was very interesting to see how their school life seemed a lot more relaxed than ours. We met some amazing people! In the afternoon some of the students took us to a tortoise reserve they were involved in, where people from the Charles Darwin Research Station told us about what they’re doing to monitor the islands.
On Thursday we visited the recycling centre where we leant a hand. We took tops off bottles, put paper in bags (which required getting into the wheelie bin) and worked on the conveyer belt sorting out the different recyclables. The people working there were very funny especially when some odd items came along. In the afternoon we went to Tortuga Bay which was a 2km walk but it was worth it. The waves were huge! There was over a hundred iguanas all crammed in to one place. There was also a blue footed booby about a metre away from us.
On Friday we went to the Charles Darwin Research Centre and learnt some interesting things about how humans impacting the islands by introducing new species and how the population has dramatically increased over the past 20 years. We also met Lonesome George the last surviving tortoise from the island of Pinta. He seemed happy considering.
Today we went to San Cristobal and visited the interpretation centre and went along a new trail to a statue of Charles Darwin at his first landing site on the islands. We all had our photo taken with him. After lunch we snorkelling and sea lions were swimming right up to our faces and doing flips in front of us. I was a bit scared at first but got used to their playful nature. A sea turtle swam right past me and underneath me. It was an incredible afternoon. On the boat back some dolphins passed by the boat.
Off the Isabela tomorrow.
Thanks to everybody who has helped us on Santa Cruz!!! People who have given us interesting talks, been our tour guides (Franklin and Javier), the staff at the hotel Villa laguna and the many drivers of cars and captains of boats.
Yesterday, we arrived in Galapagos on an early fight form Guayaquil. We arrived in Baltra and then transferred to Santa Cruz on a boat. The first activity we did was to take a bus ride up to the highlands where we saw some sink holes and then went on to the tortoise farm; where we saw loads of tortoises and got the chance to try on one of their shells. We had dinner there and ate fish with chips and rice and fresh fruit for dessert. We also had some tamarind juice which I loved. After this we went on to the Lava tunnels which were taller than I expected, we even had to crawl through at one point. We then checked in to our amazing hotel that has a pool. For dinner we went to restaurant called Isla Grill where I had grilled chicken and a potato stuffed with courgette. We then went to bed as we had an early start, however for me and Jess our start was earlier than others as our alarm unexpectedly went off at 23:30 as it was still on U.K time. We then panicked and got up but soon realised some thing wasn’t right.
Today, after waking up at the correct time we had breakfast in the hotel which was pancakes and cereal. Our guide Marissa came to meet us and we walked to the port to get a boat to Floreana which took 2 hours. Albatrosses followed us whilst we were on route. Once arrived there was many sea lions, Sally Lightfoot crabs and Marine Iguanas. After taking some great photos of the wildlife we took a bone shaker of a ride in a bus up to the highlands where we saw some Tortoises and pirate caves. Our guide Javier was most informative.
We then took the bus back down to the restaurant we ate tuna and rice. For dessert we had a coffee cake. After lunch we went snorkelling and I saw lots of fish and a sting ray. After clambering back onto the boat we made our way to a cove where we saw a heron and a penguin. It seemed like they were posing for us.
We then went back to the hotel and our guide Franklin took us to dinner at Del Y Mar. We ate fish and a jacket potato. As we walked back to our hotel we did some window shopping ready for tomorrow.
Slept really well last night (probably something to do with not having slept for 22 hours).
We went down for breakfast at 8:00 and had some toast, with what I think was raspberry jam, and some freshly squeezed orange juice (which was very tasty). The breakfast room has a courtyard with flowers and we were very lucky to see a hummingbird by one (but was too slow to take a photo).
After we’d eaten we spent the morning with Jonathan Green, who gave us some very useful tips on how to capture the wildlife on the islands and told us how to improve some of our own photographs! (Thank You!)
We then met our tour guide, Edison, who took us for lunch at Pims, which had the most amazing view over Quito, in the Highlands. It was right in front of The Virgin Quito Statue.
I had fried corn dumplings stuffed with cheese and a salad to start, an Ecuadorian lamb stew with rice, sweet plantain, potato and salad for mains and fried dumplings with passion fruit sauce cream and strawberries. The meal was really yummy! And very filling.
After, we went into the old part of town and where Quito was first established at Independent Square which is the site of a memorial statue dedicated to the people who fought for Ecuador’s impendence in 1809. The Presidential Palace is located on the square and we had our photo taken with the guards who cannot smile or move like the guards outside Buckingham Palace.
The Church of the society of Jesus has the most beautiful inside which is completely baroque in gold. Unfortunately we couldn’t take any photos. We also visited another church which was 500 years old and a church that was gothic in style but instead of gargoyles they had animals like turtles and blue footed boobies.
After the long day we were in need of some retail therapy and so went to a market where we all bought lots of stuff which we bartered for in Spanish. (Edison thanked us for helping the Ecuadorian economy)
I would like to say thankyou to Edison for the brilliant tour of Quito, our driver for keeping us safe, Jonathan green for the advice and our hotel for their great hospitality.
I’ m Eleri.
I’ve had a really busy couple of weeks. Lot’s of homework and meetings, as well as important preparations for our trip.
It’s 92 hours until we set off for Heathrow now! Not that I’m counting down or anything!
Things are starting to take shape on the packing front now. 11.5 kg and counting! My toiletry bag alone is 1.5 kg! (Our limit is 20 kg). As I put each item in my bag I think about what I’m going to be doing whilst wearing it. From my wetsuit to my hiking boots.
I bought a really cool hoody on the weekend that I can snuggle up in on the plane. The flights will be quite long (one is 10 hours!) I’ve packed two books, but I don’t think I’ll have time to read them other than on the plane.
Our itinerary changed today, which means we get to have a photo workshop with Jonathan Green in Quito and we might get to see Galapagos Penguins at the ‘shark canal’. The unique wildlife is what I’m looking forward to the most!
In future posts I hope to post lots of photos on our trip so you can all see what we’re experiencing.
Will post soon