Location: Galapagos

This morning, we woke up to a beautiful beach of red sand, and we took a short walk around a part of Rbida island. Then we went back to the beach, and most of us decided to snorkel. While snorkeling, we saw lots of different kinds of fish and sea stars, and sea lions swam just feet from us. Swimming with the sea lions was an amazing experience ” one swam right by my face, and though it startled me, it was cool. After snorkeling, we got back on the boat and once again made our way to Santa Cruz, this time to the northern part of the island. We went on another excursion there, going on another hike, this one about 40 minutes long, but the temperature was significantly higher than the short walk this morning. At the end of the hike, we decided to stay at the beach a bit longer, and after the hike, most of us wanted to take a dip in the ocean to cool off. We did have to relocate our stuff a few times, as the tide was coming in and getting everything wet. While we were in the water, a bunch of frigate birds flew right above us – James was quick to get his camera to take photos and videos. We had lots of fun in the water, though there was a little bit of a current and the water was too sandy to see very much when snorkeling. After we were done at the beach, we went back to the boat and discovered the strength of the sun at the equator while we were hanging out on the deck of the boat. Once again, the boat was on the move again, to a spot in between the airport and Santa Cruz. We had a great dinner (with cake for dessert!) and then we had our nightly meeting. For the past couple nights, we’ve had student-led discussions, and I especially liked tonight’s, which was about the impact our volunteer work  has had. We all generally agreed that we’ve transformed over even just the short amount of time we’ve been on this trip. At the beginning of our journey, we didn’t realize the impact we could potentially have. I know that before I came on the trip, I didn’t know much about the invasive species of snails in the Amazon, I didn’t understand the effort it took to build and maintain trails, especially at high elevations like in the Andes, and I had no idea what the school system would be like in the Galapagos. I didn’t know the effort it might take to understand these things ” I didn’t know that the service work we’d be doing would be the key to my understanding of this and more. Our discussion tonight highlighted that having an impact is possible ” we’ve proven it possible, as we have had an impact through our volunteer work, affecting the environment, a community, or just a small base of people. I have learned through what we’ve accomplished what kind of impact 10 teenagers could have.