Monday, April 26, 2010

Galápagos Trip - Day 4

We met the group again at the pier bright and early in the morning. Johnny and I sat on the top talking with the captain for most of the ride. From up there, we saw these fish that would fly and skim across the water! We were on the lookout for dolphins and whales but didn't see any. This day we traveled to Floreana.

Come on!

Once on Floreana, we headed up to a trail-head. There, Victor told us some really long, confusing story about legends of people getting lost on Floreana. We hiked up to this fresh water source where there was a little waterfall and drank this "water of life." Further along the trail, we got to this part where pirates used to live. We saw holes in the rocks where they would put their beds and also places for a kitchen. There was also this giant rock head (I didn't hear what it was for).

Johnny running away from the pirates

Kids in the kitchen

Turtle area we hiked past

We went back to the boat after eating lunch and sailed to the Devil's Crown - this neat circular rock formation that juts out of the water.

We snorkeled, yet again, and saw more sharks: tintorera and Galapagos sharks. The snorkeling continued in Champion Bay where we sighted starfish and played with sea lions.

Mad Johnny with the girls

We boated around the island to look at frigatebirds. They were in mating season so there were a ton flying around and many had their big red pouches inflated. On the hillside, it just looked like a bunch of red balloons.

That ended the tour, after which we went back to the pier. On the way to the house we passed again at our ice cream stop.

At the house we bought a guanábana from an old man who was walking the streets selling this fruit. He told us the story how when he was young he planted this tree and now it's keeping him alive in his old age because he sells them.

We had dinner and then ice cream, on the way back to the house, yet again.

Johnny with milk of magnesia on his back for the snorkeling sunburn (he claims it works)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Galápagos Trip - Day 3

We had a light breakfast on Saturday with the awareness that we might throw up what we eat. We loaded up on Dramamine and loaded the boat again with David, Victor, Guille, and Armando. We rode on the boat to Santa Fé (Julie and Rachel kept singing the Santa Fé song from the Newsies).

Our boat: The Northstar

We sailed around the island looking at the wildlife: masked boobies, blue-footed boobies, and the red-tailed sparrow.

We then went to this amazingly turquoise cove where we did more snorkeling, but this time sans wet suits because it was a hot day (at the end of our swim it was getting cold because of the tide from the ocean). We hung around more sea lions, manta rays, and huge schools of fish. While we were watching a big school, we saw a shark emerge from the middle of them! That was really incredible.

With us on our trip was this Danish boy who had his own fin. It was one big one (as opposed to two separate ones that we had) and he could dive down so deep. He would dive down into the schools of fish and disappear!

So long Santa Fé

We boated to another spot, wet-suited up, and snorkeled. This place had really deep rock walls and cool fish. We continued on to Garrapatero Bay (a beach back on Santa Cruz) where we anchored the boat and had lunch. This water was a brilliant turquoise but not very clear. Armando sang to us while we ate, dedicating one of the songs to Mom!

Happy Armando and David

There was a little place where we got to see flamingos just beyond the beach. While we were swimming, two of them flew over us!

We went back to our house and crashed with some cookies, crackers, and bread. That night we walked around - everyone there was getting ready for Earth Hour where they encourage the people to turn off their lights and power for an hour. We ate some typical Ecuadorian food: grilled chicken with rice, menestra (the soupy bean mixture), and patacones (plantains fried and smashed). We stopped by the Earth Hour presentation for a little bit and watched the video. It was pretty discouraging about the whole existence of man. On the way home we got some ice cream from the little restaurant, as usual.

Galápagos Trip - Day 2

Bright and early I went with Johnny and Dad to buy some fresh bread. We met our great guide, Victor, at the pier. We had a little sailor helper, David, and the driver, Guille. We hiked around a little bit and Victor showed us (very enthusiastically) little lizards, cacti, coves with turquoise water, sea lions, and birds.

We then went snorkeling! That was so much fun. It was incredible because the water was so clear and there were so many fish. At the beginning, I couldn't use the goggles and snorkel very well, but by the end of our trip, I was pretty much a professional.

We then went to see a shipwreck that had happened ten days prior. We were rocking on the water just looking at it because Victor was really interested in it and taking pictures. We were all pretty much getting seasick. I won't mention any names, but a lot of the family threw up. That was pretty funny.

We snorkeled some more and swam with sea lions! They would dart around us and get so close. Andy got some good photos of the underwater life. Victor kept taking us all over the place in search of a sea turtle swimming, but we didn't find any.

We went back to the house and ate bread and crackers, then crashed. Later we went to these volcanic tunnels on the island.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Galápagos Trip - Day 1

We, the six Brunners and Johnny, made the flight to Galápagos. We got some great airplane food (including a mayo-filled tomato), and Andy even spilled his peach juice on Julie and himself.

When we landed, we checked through everything, loaded a bus, drove to a boat, loaded the boat, crossed to another island, and then took another bus to get to the main part of Santa Cruz. We then went to our house where we stayed.

We checked out the Charles Darwin Scientific Station. There were little lizards that did push-ups all along the path. We saw a bunch of turtles and even Lonesome George: a turtle that is the last of his kind or something like that.

We then walked along this really cool black-rock beach that had black lizards and hopping black crabs.

Later that night we ate lobster tails and went to try on our wet-suits!

Family Visit!

On Wednesday, March 24, 2009, my 3 siblings and 2 parents came to visit me. Earlier that day, I made a big poster with my host-mother, Patricia, to welcome them. I drove up to Guayaquil with Johnny and his dad, and we waited at the airport.

The sign up to greet the family

The family!

Then we all settled in Johnny's apartment and crashed.

The next morning we got up early to head out for the Galapagos Islands! We ate a good ol' breakfast of tigrillo, tomato-tree juice, and humas, then we went to the airport.


So a couple of weeks ago, my host-dad had my host-brother and me go to his little farm near town. I had no idea what we were going to do. When we got there, there were boxes filled with little chicks.

We took each one out, while counting them. There were 2,500 of them! We got them water and food, too.

We came back a couple days later, but this time to inoculate every single one of them. We had to put a drop of this vaccine in to one of their eyes. It took sooo long (all morning and then I came back with my host-dad after lunch) because we had to do all 2,500.

After my biological family left for Missouri, I went back and there were 2,500 more chicks! And we had to vaccinate those too. I don't want to hold any chicks for the rest of my life. Now that I'm back in school, I think I'm off chicken-duty for a while. Hallelujah.