Monday, October 31, 2011

From Galapagos to final exams

we though this was supposed
to be Darwin, but were not
entirely sure. It is on the
island of San CristóbalEllen and I living the life of the sea lions NOT SEALS!!!
Snorkeling! I did not rent a wet suit...mistake

As you can probably imagine from the title of this blog, it is a bit depressing arriving from the land of constant spring break and blue footed boobies to the land of heavy traffic and final exams. Despite this inconvenient truth, my companions and I remain in high spirits through this week of exams.

You're probably all wondering why I am talking about final exams when there are the Galapagos to talk about. yea. So the Galapagos were AMAZING! I have literally never seen water so blue and sand so white in my life (though there are other colors too). The only thing the Galapagos is missing is proper trees. All it has near the coast are a few palms and inland are cactus and large bushes. As you get higher up the volcanos however there are some more respectable trees.

The landscape was that of a volcano desert, all the islands being made from volcanoes being pushed out of the water by tectonic plates and a hotspot that happens to be directly beneath the islands. But enough science, what did we do?

-snorkeled every day (with fish, rays, turtles, sea lions, sharks, you name it)
-lived with a homestay on the largest island of Isabella (they fed me SO MUCH)
- climbed the volcano Sierra Negra
-chilled on the beach
-lived on a yacht for four days
-hiked around San Cristóbal, Española, Floreana, N. Seymour and Baltra
-ate some really good food
-played soccer with the crew
-jumped off said yacht into the water
and much more

Although the yacht was my preferred part of the journey to the homestay, I still feel like I am on that boat which is unfortunate because I am not. Walking through the streets of Quito is already a challenge for me and now I have the added bonus of being seasick walking through the streets. joy. I am faring well however and seeing as it has been FIVE DAYS I expect the seasickness to go away any day now (please please please)

We also observed some Albatross in the crazy mating dance and also some blue footed boobies showing off those feet. We say nocturnal gulls (the only existing ones on the planet), giant tortoises, Darwin's finches, and laid in the sun with sea lions. It was an amazing trip and I recommend it to anyone interested in marine life and history because it is rich in both.

However, coming back to reality I have this week to make final presentations and exams count an then the 8th of November I go to Oyachachi for my ISP! I am studying the Andean Tapir there with two researchers who have been working on the project for a while now. I am really excited, but it is not going to be easy. I am living in a tent, there is no running water nor shower, I cook all my own food, and I hike all day looking for tapir chewing and poop. What a life. I think it will be tons of fun however and perhaps it will burn off some of the bread I have eaten in Quito so I can possibly start thinking about skiing at St. Mikes.

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