As the plane began it’s decent, the pilot announced for everyone to buckle his or her seatbelts. I peered out of the window and tried to scope out the Galapagos Islands. Though the sun was causing a huge glare making it nearly impossible to see, everyone tried to get a glance before we landed. Occasionally someone would yell out “Is that a blue-footed booby?” or “Wow! Look at that Island!” only to soon realize that it was just the white crest of a wave flowing gently towards the shore or small sand bar. At last, the wheels came in contact with the rough runway and the plane screeched to an abrupt halt on Santa Cruz Island on which the hotel my classmates and I would be staying at for the next five days was located.
At customs we picked up our Galapagos tourist IDs and were soon picked up by a bus. As we drove down a winding dirt road I found it pretty hard to take in that I was actually on the infamous Galapagos Islands where Charles Darwin studied evolution so many years ago. We reached a small lagoon with water so blue it’s hard to describe. Two boats pulled up to take us to the other side. I was on the first boat across so as I waited I explored the docks a little and saw some small red crabs being washed up on the rocks just coming and going with the waves. As my classmates made it across our guide “Boli” called us over to a tour bus. We headed through the dense forest in the highlands to a large sinkhole caused by lava hundreds of years ago. The atmosphere was an amazing combination of fresh air, light fog, and a misting rain. This really just left me with an overwhelming feeling that set the mood foe the rest of the trip. After a brief history lesson about the vegetation we boarded the bus once again and headed to the Hotel Palabras located in the middle of Puerto Ayora. After getting situated my fellow classmates and I had a few hours to explore the town and immerse ourselves in the culture before dinner. We made our way around the beautiful and historic town full of artisans and street vendors selling everything from paintings to handmade jewelry. One thing stood out more than anything, and that was how friendly everyone was; there was never a single negative comment or action made toward us. In what felt like less than an hour it was time for dinner at a nice family owned restaurant just down the block from the hotel.
Over the next few days, much of our time was traveling to different islands and exploring the shores of crystal clear beaches. Every island had something to unique to offer that the others did not; one could be the location where blue-footed boobies nested, while another the only place Galapagos Tortoises grazed for days on end. Rather than being shy like I had anticipated, the animals were eager to see who we were. Sea lions would plop onto the back of our boat to relax and dove off when the time was right. Not for a single moment did I wish I were somewhere else.
My view of the world changed in a sense that I now really take in everything I see because I don’t know if I will ever see it again. Since my return home, I have gained a strong interest in photography, which I believe has developed because of this trip.
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