Thursday 21st July
Today Pablo our guide took us on a bike ride up to the most spectacular viewpoint. On the way, we rode along the sand, which proved very difficult, then to some gravel/dirt paths. Pablo had told us to keep away from the side of the paths, in case we saw any iguanas or tortoises. He was right in saying that as we saw our first giant tortoise. It was massive and very surreal to see. Then we continued to the top, where we got off of our bikes and began our hike. We walked past the wall of tears and summited the mountain. The view was incredible, and you could see all the beaches and other volcanoes. After this, we got back on our bikes and zoomed down the hill. It was so fun! Then we stumbled across a channel from the sea which was situated amongst the mangroves. We all went for a swim fully clothed and jumped off of a tree into the water. So much fun! Then we rode home. A few of us got a well-deserved ice cream or coffee afterward. We then proceeded to go to a snorkeling spot by the port. Manual swam with a marine iguana and we all saw a giant sting ray. It was so awesome. Then we went home Payton made her iconic cowboy caviar, and then we played our daily dose of uni flip before bed.
Friday 22nd July
Today Pablo took us on a huge hike (10 miles). We took a 30-minute bus journey to get to the start point. Then we started the hike. For the first 15 minutes, it was pretty uphill, before it mellowed out for another hour and 15 minutes. Then we reached our first viewpoint of the old shield volcano, that its creator had collapsed to create a hollow oval which was 7 x 9 meters. There are 2 current active spots still, which they monitor closely. The last eruption was in 2005, when you could see the black-colored lava rock, as there was no life on it. Then we moved onto the next volcano, which was a more narrow path, which meandered through 300-year-old lava rocks, and the odd cactus. To add to this, these old rocks were red in color as they had been oxidized, meaning they had a lot of iron in them, hence creating this red pigment. It was incredible to see. Then we reached a point where the old lava rocks met the newer eruption flow. This was incredible to see as the red rock met the newer black rock. Next, we reached the summit. The view was incredible, and you could see some of the other islands. On our way back we saw one last creator, with ferns growing inside of it. Then we weaved our way back which took around 2 hours and 30 minutes. Then back on the bus to Finca Bella Vista for lunch. We got froyo which was fantastic. Then ate pasta and played our daily dose of uno flip.
Saturday 23rd July
Today we went for breakfast to a few different bakeries, then for some coffee and milkshakes. Then we will played beach volleyball, followed by lunch on the beach. Next, we went on our kayak and snorkeling tour. First, we went kayaking around, and it was amazing. We saw penguins and we were followed by sea lions as we kayaked along. Additionally, we followed 2 penguins swimming in the water, which was incredible, not to mention the sea turtles! It was the most amazing experience and we all had a lot of fun. Then we went snorkeling and it was amazing. We saw 2 Eagle rays, lots of the Galápagos puffer fish, and lots of other pretty fish, such as the Galápagos rainbow fish. We followed the rays for 10 minutes each. A surreal experience. I felt very privileged to experience this. Then we went home to the hostel. Furthermore, we got ready for dinner and ate at a local restaurant; later explored the beaches, before going home to bed.
Sunday 24th July
Today we slept in. Samson and I went for breakfast, then went for lunch and enjoyed the set menu. Then we hired out surfboards and boogie boards and walked for 20 minutes until we reached the perfect surf beach which was not rocky like it was in San Cristobal. We had the best time and there were endless amounts of waves after one another. So much fun. We thoroughly enjoyed all catching the same wave and boarding together. Then we went home and got ready for dinner. We ate at a really cool restaurant and Tali and I played table tennis.
Monday 25th July
Today we woke up at the crack of dawn and boarded a ferry called Gladel. The seats went forwards and we sat at the back of the boat in the open air, which was awesome. We had the best time, as we all fell asleep on each other's shoulders, which was perfectly captured in a 0.5 selfie. Then we went straight to breakfast. After this, we went to our hotel and relaxed, before going to the Galapagos coffee lab for lunch. Then we went to Las Gorietas by boat taxi, followed by a 20-minute walk; passing some old salt plains on the way. This was really cool, as it was a channel between volcanic walls. There was some cool fish in there. The only downside was the infinite amount of wasps. Samson took one for the team and got stung. Then we went to a couple of lookout points before we hit the beach. Then we went back to the hostel before we went to the rock for dinner. The rock was the first bar ever in the Galápagos when 400 US troops came across it in anticipation of a war that never happened. It’s now Asian/pacific food, inspired by all the visitors the Galápagos Islands get each year. It was truly amazing food, and I learned some cool history. Then ice cream before bed.
Tuesday 26th July
Today we went to Tortuga Bay to go kayaking. It was about a 40-minute walk from the hostel, past lots of cactuses. We then reached the beach and walked along 2 bays to get to the calm bay where we kayaked. We saw flying fish, turtles, and lots of pretty native fish also. Next, we went snorkeling, but nothing but little fish, but it was still cool. Then we saw a massive white tip shark, further followed by an iguana swimming in the water. An amazing occurrence and we followed it in our kayaks, before heading back to the beach. Then we made our way home. Then we went home and napped. Then we got ice cream, which was fab. Later, we had our first closing program session. We learned a lot. And all reflected on our journey, and what we learned from each other. Talli set us off all crying with her exceptional speech. Then to dinner, where we had faked Kim’s birthday, scoring us a Tiramisu, alongside Kim’s next-level embarrassment. The food was exceptional. And we then shared our favorite things about each other, which was wonderful. Then for more ice cream before we went to bed.
Wednesday 27th July
Today we went to the Charles Darwin research center. We saw many different species of tortoises., ranging in age from 2 months to 70 plus years old. It was cool to see. Then we saw George the tortoise’s preserved body, who passed away around 110 in 2012. He was the last one of his species, however other tortoises have been found to have some similar genes to his. Then we looked around the museum. After this, we walked back to town. Then back to the hotel, before getting lunch, which was amazing. In the afternoon, we shopped for friends and family as well as Kim and Manuel. Later, we had our last program wrap session. We did the same as how we started writing words that come to mind about each other down, on prices of paper with our names on them. Then we did our final presentations which made us all a bit teary. Then Kim and Manuel gave us a little gift each. We all got a stuffed animal that represented us. I got a turtle, Samson got a shark, Payton got a blue-footed Bobbie, and Tali got a sea lion. After this, we presented our gifts to Kim and Manuel. We got Kim a blue-footed bobbie necklace and Manuel and hand-painted feather with tortoises on it. Then we all headed out for our final dinner at a restaurant on the pier. It was amazing and awesome food and drinks. Then we all said our favorite things about each other and our hopes for the future. After this, we explored the town before bed.
Thursday 28th July
Today we went to see the wild tortoises on the ranch. It was pretty cool to see them in their natural habitat. To add to this, there were also some massive ones. After this, we grabbed a quick coffee or tea before heading to the airport. To get there we had to get a water taxi to Baltra island. This was cool. Then to the airport where we saw a land iguana, which we hadn’t seen yet, so that was cool. Then everyone checked in and we got lunch. After this everyone said bye to me (Chloe). This was definitely a few tears. But what an amazing 4 weeks and I feel so lucky to have met such amazing people!