Wow! This week went by in a flash and SO MUCH happened that I feel like another post is already necessary.
This week began with the completion of my SCUBA class. I am officially certified and ready to go! I found out later that with this program, only classes in the Marine Ecology class have the option to dive, so since the class I am taking now is not in that track, I did not dive at Kicker Rock (not that it made the trip any less amazing, but I’ll get to that later). However the rest of my classes will be in the Marine track and I will get to dive in all of them!
My underwater camera cannot go deep enough to take it SCUBA diving, so here are some photos that the dive shop took and gave to us.
A Diamond Stingray
The group diving next to the propellor of a sunken ship.
A wild looking bright yellow and spiked sea star.
It is hard to smile with a regulator in your mouth, but I tried anyway!
Monday through Wednesday of this week were Carnival, which was explained to me as a time to sin before Lent. The first day there was a huge party at Playa Mann (across from the University) where there was music, fashion shows and a paint/egg/foam/beer fight. It was almost impossible not to get involved.
All of us were covered in paint and most of us still have some on our bodies today.
Tuesday’s festivities were a little more mellow so people could gear up for Wednesday night where a concert, dancing and drinking went form 9pm to 6am. Mariana and I went with our host mom and left pretty early, but work up at 5:45am to run past and see if the party was really still going on. There were still people there, most drunk, some passed out and one peeing on the street (and almost our shoes as he turned to look at us). Thursday is no longer a holiday, so people must have been tired at work!
Carnival was a lot of action and I would sneak away sometimes to relax at less populated beaches and to explore the area behind the University.
The lava rock pathway to Punto Corola.
A Lava Heron
A Marine Iguana, hiding out with me.
A view of San Cristobal. Desert and blue ocean.
The best part of the week (and possibly this experience so far) was today at Leon Dormido or Kicker Rock.
The day started with my usual pre-boat nervousness. Even with my hard core sea sickness medication, I still worry. We had this corn, raisin and cream drink with breakfast that I had to politely decline due to my fear of seeing it again later. Thankfully, I had no problems with that today!
Our first stop was a beach called La Playa de Cerro Bruja. Before we got there, we spotted two Pilot Whales and stopped to watch them.
Here is one right in front of Leon Dormido!
The beach was beautiful and the sand was incredibly soft!
We looked at Blue Footed Boobies and Sally Lightfoot Crabs.
After a swim we got back on the boat and ate Yellow Fin tuna, rice and vegetables (yes, I actually ate on a boat… will the world end soon? Maybe).
On our way to go snorkeling at Leon Dormido, we found three more Pilot Whales to watch for a while. Then our boat was surrounded by Manta Rays that we could see under the water and jumping out in front of us. They looked huge and our guide told us they were smaller ones (some get up to 9 meters across!).
We then went to go snorkeling. The last time I was here, we saw a whole group of Hammer Head sharks there so I had high hopes for this go around. The other groups hadn’t seen many of them though, so I knew it was a long shot.
Right when we got in the water we were surrounded by 15 or so Galapagos Sharks and one Hammer Head.
Then this Golden Ray swam by to say “Hello.”
And an Eagle Ray followed.
We saw more Galapagos Sharks and a few Black Tip Sharks and I saw a Yellow Fin Tuna (awkward because its brother was still in my stomach).
We swam with sea turtles and many species of fish.
The snorkeling was incredible and we were all so happy with our trip as we set out to go home. About 5 minutes into our trip we spotted dolphins. About 200 dolphins actually! They were playing in front of the boat, feeding, doing flips and we could hear them communicating with each other. It was SO COOL! All of us got sunburned watching them and it was well worth it.
It really was a great day, the kind of day that reminds me why I love this stuff so much! As I sit here still feeling the rocking of the boat with a belly full of homemade ceviche (possibly a little undercooked, so lets hope thats not a problem), I am grateful. How amazing to be here and to be able to see such amazing animals in their natural habitat!
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<p>Hello! My name is Holly and I love nature and the ocean. For four months I will be studying Marine Ecology in the Galapagos Islands. I can't wait study, live and explore one of the most beautiful and wild places in the world. Adventure awaits!</p>