As soon as we arrived at San Cristobal, we were greeted by the squawking seals which littered the streets, benches, and just about every imaginable spot that had a somewhat flat surface. After unpacking our possessions and settling into our home for the next few days, a few of us walked toward the beach near our hotel to watch the sunset. We scarfed down our $1 ice cream cones and prepared for the show. At dusk, we watched how effortlessly the sun painted the sky with hues of pink and orange over a ripple of clouds. I noticed the waves break and flash their white caps mimicking a person’s smile. It was as if the island was greeting us with a warm welcome. Anchored sailboats not far from the pier teetered in the water like a slow metronome, hypnotizing us to stay. The sun now barely peaking over the horizon let us know that the show was almost over. Without missing a beat, a sea lion approached our perch and began squawking, telling us it was time to go.
The following day, we toured the Galapagos National Park and saw beautiful views overlooking the Pacific Ocean. On the trail we saw a spider eating a moth! We spent the next day snorkeling at Kicker Rock – it’s called Kicker Rock because it looks like a shoe. We took a speed boat to Santa Cruz and toured the Darwin Museum. On Santa Cruz, we hiked up to a recently active volcano called Sierra Negra. The drive there was gorgeous. We went through zones of various levels of vegetation. The newest zone was where lava had cooled leaving only cracks of space for cacti to grow. The death of the cacti created fertile soil and brought new life. As we got higher in altitude, the greenery became dense with trees and shrubbery. After we hiked Sierra Negra, we went kayaking and saw blue-footed boobies, tropical penguins, and sharks feeding on the chum from a fishing boat. One cool thing that I learned is that blue-footed boobies get their blue feet from the sardines they eat – the more sardines, the bluer the feet. Males with bluer feet indicate that they are better hunters and females are more likely to mate with them. Pretty cool!
The rest of the trip was full of island hopping, tasty meals, more snorkeling, a tour of a tortoise farm, and many other great memories! I don’t want to spoil all the fun, so if you want to find out more information regarding the study abroad, be sure to apply for the Tropical Entomology program!