Blue footed booby
Summary: Our third and last week in a Lead Adventures 3-Week Galapagos program, I was slightly tired of traveling, but thoroughly enjoyed Isabela.  It offers some unique sights that the other islands don't.  This was the first time we saw white-tipped sharks and sting rays, and I got my best underwater photos of sea turtles here.  We saw flamingos in the wild, which Isabela is known for.  While we'd seen blue-footed boobies on all the islands, we got the closest to them on Isabela.  

Summary: During our free weekend on San Cristobal Island, after volunteering at Jatun Sacha, my friend and I kept pretty busy.  On Saturday, we went on an insanely strenuous, 19 km one-way, uphill bike ride to Junco Lake.  Sunday, the topic of this blog post, was snorkeling at Kicker Rock to see Galapagos sharks.  It was far more relaxing than the previous day's bike ride, but first, I got irritated with how disorganized planning it had been...

Summary: After a week of volunteering at Jatun Sacha Biological Station, as part of a Lead Adventures 3-Week Galapagos, my friend and I had a free weekend in San Cristobal Island. On Saturday, he wanted to see Junco Lake. He also wanted to bike 19 KILOMETERS ONE WAY UPHILL to get there. We struggled uphill, rode through heavy fog, splashed a TON OF MUD on ourselves (as if volunteering at Jatun Sacha wasn't muddy enough), asked for directions several times because there were NO ROAD SIGNS, and eventually made it to...a lake hidden in fog.  Afterwards we climbed El Ceibo, a gigantic tree, which scared the living daylights out of me.  Strenuous and scary days make good blog posts though, so here goes!

Summary: The second week of a Lead Adventures 3-Week Galapagos program, volunteering at Jatun Sacha on San Cristobal Island, can be best summarized with 3 M-words: Mud, Mosquitoes, and Manual Labor. Due to the high humidity, the entire station is muddy, and mud will find a way onto all your belongings.  Also due to the high humidity, mosquitoes will surround you, and repellant needs to be applied at all times.  The work is manual labor, sometimes very intense, mainly dedicated to environmental conversation. The accommodation is bunk beds in a cabin, with no hot showers or internet.  

Summary: The first week of the Lead Adventures 3-Week Galapagos program is on Santa Cruz, the main tourist island in the Galapagos, and containing the most upscale dining and shopping options of all the islands.  Most people come to the Galapagos to see the animals, and you can definitely cross several off your list here.  Our week began with giant tortoises, then blue-footed boobies, iguanas, crabs, Darwin's finches, sea lions, and marine turtles followed soon after.  You’ll probably have to wait until San Cristobal’s Kicker Rock (optional activity at extra cost) for Galapagos sharks though.  

Summary:  Our Lead Adventures  3-Week Galapagos program began with orientation on a Monday, we flew in Saturday night, and therefore had Sunday free in Quito.  There was also some free time Monday afternoon, after orientation in the morning.  Although Quito’s high elevation left me a bit breathless - and gave me quite the headache - my friend and I enjoyed sightseeing around Ecuador’s capital.  We visited Mitad del Mundo, the monument marking the Equator, and Quito’s historical center, which included gorgeous churches and El Panecillo, a statue of the Virgin Mary atop a hill.

After spending a week on Santa Cruz Island, the first week of a Lead Adventures 3-Week Galapagos program, we headed over to San Cristobal Island for the second week.  Around 2pm we boarded a speed boat called El Sol Mar.  I was wearing a jacket but it was warm, so I took it off and stashed it under my seat, along with my backpack.  
El Sol Mar Speed Boat
El Sol Mar in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno while the crew was tying it up for the night. I took this picture while waiting for my jacket.

One free afternoon during a 3-Week Lead Adventures program, my friend and I went on a bike ride.  It was a pretty strenuous one, with 1.5 hours of uphill riding from Puerto Ayora to Bellavista and a little further, on Santa Cruz Island.  I pedaled, breathed, and sweat pretty intensely riding uphill, and was reveling  in the downhill slopes on the way back.  We stopped to take pictures at this sign, because it showed that we were close to town!
Puerto Ayora Sign
The kitten was behind this sign.

Are you doing it for yourself, or are you doing it for others?
Houston Texas
This blog entry was born during a spark of inspiration on a flight from Houston, Texas to Quito, Ecuador. It was entirely written on the airplane, although editing, adding in hyperlinks, and uploading the image occurred afterwards. This picture was taken during take-off from Houston, known for well-engineered highway junctions, and this Instagrammed aerial shot shows why.

My plan was to keep up with my travel blog while in the Galapagos Islands.  I even made blog post TEMPLATES before I left, thinking I'd just fill them in with the fun I was having, and I'd get a beautiful blog post.  Unfortunately, things have not worked out so nicely.  A few days into my trip now, I've managed to keep up with writing and notes, but it's just too hard to process photos on a Chromebook.  With no slideshow viewer and a few hundred photos, not to mention slower internet than I'm used to, I simply can't find the best photos easily.  And I don't want my blog having sub-par photos now do I?