Scuba Diving, Surf Lessons, and Snails

Nicollee Hammer headshot
Nicollee Hammer
March 17, 2024
Shark seen while diving

After a week here having adjusted to the island and gotten settled in with my family, my second class in the Galapagos begun. I was extremely excited since I knew we would get to go scuba diving in this class and back to Kicker Rock! After exploring the town, my friends and I had also discovered a surf shop that we were planning on taking lessons at during our time there. All of us were starting to get comfortable with the dynamics of the island and starting to feel like apart of our new families but we still had a lot to learn. 

Our first field trip in this class was a dive trip to Kicker Rock also called León Dormido. We first went to a beach called Cerro Brujo which is a long white sand beach with beautiful crystal-clear waters. Once we arrived, we all walked along the beach to the end where there’s a few little cove areas where we discovered spotted eagle rays mating! We relaxed on the beach for the next hour before we all headed off to dive. 

On our first dive we were completing a project for class where we ascended the vertical wall of Kicker Rock which is a large rock formation in the middle of the ocean. As we ascended, we observed how the types of animals changed with depth. On this dive we saw many different species of starfish, sea urchins, and more. The next dive was just for fun where we got to swim into the massive fish ball of over a million black-striped Salema that congregate near Kicker Rock. As you swim into the fish ball it turned almost pitch black since there are so many fish surrounding you and you can’t tell which was is up or down. It was almost scary but also insanely cool. We also got to see a few sharks on this dive and a hammerhead or two from a far!

The next day my friends and I had our first in water surf class at Playa Carola! I have surfed a few times before in Hawaii but not enough to say I’m an expert, so this was going to be a learning experience for all of us. I quickly picked up from where I had left of years ago and was catching all the waves it was such a good day! After a few classes we went to Tongo Reef another well-known surf spot on the island and got to practice on even bigger waves which was super fun and great to continue learning! 

The next week we began our individual projects in class where my group decided to focus on snails…how fun! I didn’t think this project was going to be very interested as neither me nor my other group mates were very interested in snails, but it really surprised us. Throughout our project we would go to a beach called La Lobería near the airport to collect snails and measure/weigh them. Each day we somehow collected more than the last totaling to around 500 snails which was crazy because before this project we had never even noticed snails here until we actually looked. Our professor was extremely impressed and so was I, but personally I wouldn’t be mad if I didn’t see another snail for a while after seeing all of the stains they left on my clothes and towels.

Now that this class is over it’s time to go island hopping over spring break!!!

More Blogs From This Author

View All Blogs
Nicollee Hammer headshot

Nicollee Hammer

I'm from Ohio but I've traveled since I was little so I've got to see many different countries and experience different perspectives and ways of life. I enjoy meeting new people and trying new things. I can't wait to see what Ecuador has to offer!

Home University:
Auburn University
Biological Sciences
Explore Blogs