Saturday, October 31, 2009

On the Boat Again

Last Saturday my class went on a snorkel trip for the day, along with our professor, everyone's favorite. We cruised to Isla Lobos (Sea Lion Island) and snorkeled. So beautiful! Check out my pictures on facebook, because I saw so many critters in the ocean with me! A sea turtle, chillin' on the ocean floor, a marine iguana eating algae and then swimming by, so many fish and sea lions, of course, but also a few manta rays and sea urchins. We snorkeled around there for about an hour and then boarded the boat to go to Leon Dormido. This is a very famous rock formation that rises about 450 feet out of the ocean, a small channel between the two formations and flat on top. So peculiar! There we snorkeled through the channel, checking out the coral and fish and Galapagos tiburones (sharks)! At first mention of this opportunity to view such creatures, I was pretty nervous. I don't really have any desire to see sharks in the same body of water as my self, mainly in fault of how many shows I've seen on Discovery or Animal Planet and all the bad things these guys can do. Oh, and Steven Speilberg didn't help things, either. But when we saw them, they are pretty small, maybe only three feet big; and they were also very far below us. I tried to swim very quietly so as not to draw their attention. It worked, however, it was a little too dark for my pictures to turn out. So this'll remain a typical fish story, you had to be there. After we got through the channel, the plan was to snorkel the entire distance around Leon Dormido, keeping close to the edge to see as much as possible. The current, however, was quite strong, and swim as we did, we got nowhere. So we headed back to the boat, where we loaded and rode to Porta Grande, a beautiful beach on the other side of the island. We had lunch on the boat and then enjoyed the beach a little and explored the area. We returned in later afternoon, only a few people sunburned. 
I went dancing again that night, and realized that the reason that everyone sings along, is that these songs aren't new. My friend told me that yes, he's heard these songs since he was little. People on the island don't like change, he said. I nodded solemnly, that explains the rice at every meal, I said. He didn't laugh, but agreed with a shrug.
Sunday I went snorkeling at a spot which is supposedly where Darwin first landed, in 1835. We didn't see much other than fish and some cool coral, but the visibility was crystal clear and the water was brisk and refreshing on the humid afternoon. 
I finished another class this week, Conservation of Natural Resources in the Community. My final project required me to interview several people in the town, which was an amazing way to truly learn about the issues on the island. 
Last night everyone made costumes (I was a flamingo) and went to a costume party at one of the bars. There was live music and way too many people in such a small place, but it was really fun. The costumes were funny, everyone had come up with something on the fly, and with extremely limited resources. We all made many trips to the sole fabric store, the man chuckling at us as we explained our disfraces (costumes). 
This afternoon, some friends and I are taking a short trip for some kayaking and snorkeling. We'll go to Leon Dormido again, hopefully we can swim the circumference. Also, we'll get to kayak in some caves, which I'm really happy about. We'll camp on Porta Grande, the beach we visited last week, and return Sunday afternoon. 
On Monday our whole group leaves for our one week vacation, a tour of the other islands. I'm not sure where all we will visit, but I know that we spend some time on Isabella and Baltra, which used be a US Navy base during WWII to protect the Panama Canal, FYI. After our fun trip, we'll spend one week in Santa Cruz, where we'll start our next class. We'll return to San Cristobal on 15 November, with only five weeks remaining before venturing back to Quito.