Saturday, July 11, 2009

Greetings from Isabela Island!

We are in the Galapagos Islands! Not an easy destination to get to – we had to take a bus, a plane, a plane, a bus, a ferry, a bus, a boat and another bus to reach our final destination, Isabela Island. Our guide, Pablo, met us on Baltra Island and whisked us away to his home island, and also the biggest in the archipelago. After a dinner of fresh fish and sweet grapefruit juice, we settled into our home, San Vicente Hotel.

Our first full day in the Galapagos was our biggest hike yet – almost ten miles! Amanda, Mark, Cam, Jess, Fin, Sue, Noah and Jes hiked a rim of the Sierra Negra Volcano, then out to a lava field where we played on lava tubes, lava fields, felt a’a and pahoehoe flows, and climbed for a vista across the entire island. Abby, Emily, Caitlin and Kelsey opted for a day at the beach, and soaked up some Galapagos sun.

On our second full day in Isabela we went snorkeling! Pablo spotted a school of Galapagos penguins and so we jumped in and joined them! Kelsey had a sea lion come up and kiss her camera as she took video – a real highlight. After snorkeling, Pablo took us on another small hike around a lava field to see marine iguanas and a white tip sharks’ resting cove. Mark and Amanda were pretty excited to see wild sharks so close. In the afternoon, we took a quick stroll over to the Tortoise Breeding Center, where we learned about efforts to sustain the dying tortoise population.

The next morning we said goodbye Isabela Island and took a two hour boat trip across the sea to Santa Cruz. We explored the town of Santa Cruz before we ate lunch and hiked forty five minutes along a path to Tortuga Bay, named after the large sea tortoises who lay eggs on the beach. The sand, almost as fine as flour, was hard to get out from between our toes, but felt good anyway!

Tomorrow we head to the Charles Darwin Research Center in Santa Cruz and then leave for San Cristobal!  We hope you enjoy the photo below, taken back on the mainland during our trek around Volcano Cotopaxi.

More soon!
Jes and Alex

Hiking in the shadow of Volcano Cotopaxi