Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Double the Field Trip, Double the Fun

So I totally had gorgeous photos from today uploaded (it took 2 hours while I was working on my project and going to the bakery), but I am a doofus who closed my computer and rode my bike home for dinner before they finished processing. When I opened up my computer this evening NOTHING. I didn't want to leave you with nothing, but the pictures are 80% of todays adventure, so tomorrow I will upload them. Check back tomorrow and hopefully there will be gorgeous pictures of everything that is described below:

Now it is cloudy and the internet is super lame :(. I will get the pictures up eventually!
The pictures are officially up!
Today we had double the field trips. And it was a lot of fun and a lot of adventure. We had lecture this morning based on the plants of the highlands and then loaded up the chiva and drove up. On the way we spotted several Galapagos Hawks. They are an endemic species. It is super rare to have an endemic land bird species because the chance that two accidentally wind up on an island due to hurricanes or whatever and reproduce only happens once in a while. The Galapagos hawks have a female matriarch and several males follow her around. They are absolutely gorgeous.
The finca that we visited belongs to one of Lauren’s friends and they are starting to make an orderly farm instead of just having fruit trees in the middle of a natural forest like most of the fincas.
Lauren led us through the finca and down onto a path that runs between the national park and the fincas. She then led us along and under a barbed wire fence and through the forest to make our way back. She convinced us that she had gone that way before with the owner of the finca, but we ran into a lot more trouble. The brush and the trees were dense and a lot of them, like every plant in the Galapagos, had thorns and spines. We bushwhacked our way for a rather long time, diverting around stinging wasps and bee nests. My legs are rather scratched, but I was wearing my raincoat since it was raining so I just put on my hood and zipped it up and plowed through the forest. It’s time to invest in a machete.
After lunch at IOI we went to the Wall of Tears, which is basically a huge rock wall that convicts were forced to make when the Galapagos was a penal colony. All of the prisoners from mainland Ecuador were sent here and treated horribly. Just being next to the wall was eerie.
There were steps up to a lookout and what we thought was a path. There were a few of us way ahead of the pack so we took the path and it led to the top of a gorgeous lookout. We could see ocean in three directions and it had a great view of all of Isabela and Puerto Villamil.
We also saw our first non-captive tortoises since we got to Isabela. They all have numbers on them because they were raised for their first couple years in captivity and then released. This ensures their chances of survival because a lot of dogs can break through the shells of the younger tortoises with their teeth.
We visited a mangrove forest back down towards Playa Del Amor and there were black mangroves that were massive. One of the trees is said to give you good energy in life if you hugged it. Of course I did. I got ants crawling all over me and I’m tired. Oh well. Maybe it is long-term energy. My Uncle Jack is quite the mangrove expert so I took some pictures that I know he would like. A few of the mangroves are between 250-300 years old and 40 or 50 feet tall. It took 3 of us holding hands to hug its base. Don’t get that in southwest Florida do we Uncle Jack? Haha
 Since we are in Ecuador on volunteer visas, we are starting up our volunteering aspect of the trip. On Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, I will be teaching English to the 4-year-old kiddos at a local day care/preschool type place from 8-9AM. Today I went to meet them and get a feel for the classroom and so far they seem like a lot of fun. I sat next to one girl who already knew English and was absolutely brilliant. All the other kids were picking their noses and smashing puzzle pieces in random spots on the board, but she was matching colors on the pieces to each other, making sure she put heads on all her animals, absolute genius. I’m going to have to pull out some SAT vocab for that one. The rest are learning colors. Tomorrow I am starting at red (the very beginning. A very nice place to start). I made them a cute little coloring worksheet. Tomorrow is also the due date for our botany projects and botany test! Ahhhh!

1 comment:

  1. You can do it!!! Good luck on the test!