Location: The Galapagos
We had to wake up early, but to a wonderful and lovely breakfast made for us by the hotel we’re staying at, Hotel Castro. After breakfast, we spilt up into two groups of ten and parted ways to go and do service work at different beaches and trails. Group One went to Tortuga Bay to pick up trash along the beach and trails nearby. Unfortunately the beach was nearly an hour walk away, but the beauty of the beach was astounding and so worth the walk. The waves were huge and we had so much fun playing around in the water once we had finished cleaning up the beach. Group Two went to a different location which they had to take a ferry to. The ride was only a few minutes and the walk to the area we were cleaning up was short but beautiful. We walked across a lovely little beach where we later spent some time laying in the sun and playing in the water. Once we arrived at the path, our guide informed us of where we were going to be walking and cleaning. We followed the path, sometimes deviating from the path into alcoves or the pools of water to pick up stray pieces of trash. Some of us even climbed on hands and knees into a patch of trees and mud to pick up so much trash we could barely get it all. After a few hours of following the trail, we reached the end where we found ourselves staring down a shallow canyon filled with water at the bottom. The salt mine, called Las Grietas, were beautiful and refreshing, though very salty. Swimming in them was the highlight of many of ours days and seeing people jump off of the ledges down into the water was so entertaining. Exploring down the canyon was so much fun, even if we got a few minor scrapes along the way. After spending as much time as we could by the beaches and in the salt mine, we went back to the hotel. Of course our day wasn’t nearly over and our staff members prepared a scavenger hunt for us. Running around the main boardwalk in the Galapagos frantically trying to find and take pictures of all the items on our lists, there was constant laughter. In the end though, every group won at least one part of the hunt based on their creativity. One group even found a man decked out in all American flag themed gear! After the we had some free time to roam around the boardwalk, though most of us found ourselves in The Rock drinking different juices or milkshakes (which were awesome!). Afterwards, we had a really awesome dinner which ended in a lot of full stomachs and minor food comas. Finally, the staff surprised us with an introduction to the Lifeworks Olympics, sorting us into our groups of four and instructing us to come up with not only team names, but also a team color and cheers. Ranging from the Pink Footed Boobies to The Dark Knights, everyone was laughing hysterically and having a generally awesome time, which seems to be a common factor of all our days here in Ecuador so far.