Location: Equador & Galapagos
It was a new day in the Galapagos. We awoke early to the gentle rocking of the waves and headed downstairs for breakfast where we were greeted by delicious smells. The aroma of eggs, potato pancakes, fruit and cereal filled the air. We quickly engulfed our breakfast and headed out for today’s activities. We began our morning with a ride to a beach where a scenic nature walk followed. We spotted blue-footed boobies, flaming pink flamingos and yellow iguanas. We also had another penguin sighting! Cameras were snapping and the smiles could be seen on everyone’s faces. Our tour guide, Javier, drew us a sand map of the islands and provided us with the history of the Galapagos. The animals, he informed us were super friendly because the island was so protected which is why it is so important to preserve it. Demonstrating this the sea lions came incredibly close and seemed to pose for pictures. We even got to see baby sea lions only a few days old! After this exciting start to our morning we headed back to the boat where we put on our wetsuits and got ready to go snorkeling once again. Diving into the water was a cold start but a refreshing one. To everyone’s shock we saw even more penguins. One even swam near us! It was definitely a special moment I’ll forever look back on. While snorkeling we saw not only penguins but tons of amazing sea life. Fish displayed their colors including the parrot fish which seemed to gleam like a rainbow. Starfish were sprawled out on the ocean floor and stingrays were everywhere! As if the ocean wasn’t amazing enough, suddenly Isabelle spotted a gigantic reef shark. All the girls swam over as fast as we could to get a look and watch this majestic and gigantic creature. We continued snorkeling until it was time to head back to the boat for lunch. Lunch consisted of delicious shrimp, rice, fruit and veggies. Everyone could not stop eating the shrimp, hungry after an adventure packed morning. After lunch, we had some downtime in which we all hung out on the front of the boat talking and listening to music. Mariela, Alejandro, Jayisha and I also played some cards (or beat Alejandro at cards 😀 ) We headed back out to land for a mini hike over the rocks. We watched yellow iguanas eat cactus and visited some scenic points on the beach. The landscape was beautiful and the waves hit the rocks in a way too beautiful for a postcard. Once back at the boat the staff held a forum where we explored and talked about our past, present and future. It was a great way to look at ourselves and learn more about each other. Our last dinner was chicken, rice, potatoes and cake! The chef had baked a cake in our honor and we all couldn’t be happier-until the staff pulled out a hat with names inside. We learned that we were each to draw a name and then make a string bracelet for that person. At closing we would present the bracelet as well as what we admire about them. All the girls went to work creating their bracelets, preparing what they were to say and packing for the days to come.