Well, our flight from Guayaquil to Galapagos was uneventful (and had the most legroom of any plane I’ve been on in the last twenty years.) We were greeted at the airport and arrived at our apartment by 3 p.m.
We didn’t really meet anyone from the group until Tuesday morning at breakfast. I saw a table with three teenage girls seated at it; I told K to go sit there. I suggested to some other adults that we should have a parents’ table, and I pushed my other three kids towards a large table with some other children. E met another six-year-old girl who was shy but eventually warmed up (they’re best friends now,) N started talking with a few boys, and R watched quietly (which surprised me.)
On Tuesday we visited the Charles Darwin Centre and learned about what their scientists are doing in order to preserve the ecosystem here. Afterwards, we walked out to the beach and scrambled across the rocks to find crabs, iguanas, and even some fish in the tidal pools.
Tuesday afternoon was our first Spanish lesson. I’m in the beginner class with Mr. December and two other parents. It’s not difficult for me, thanks to Mango Languages and ten years of learning French, but I’m glad that I have the opportunity to solidify the basics. Me gusto parlar Español.
Wednesday morning saw us boarding a boat for a Bahia boat tour. We landed and took a hike out to see blue-footed boobies and iguanas. Then we got back on the boat and sailed over to another park where we hiked past a salt marsh and tons of cacti, and down into a canyon where we swam in the brackish water between the canyon walls. After that we took the boat to another part of the bay where we snorkelled over dozens of non-pointy sea urchins (we actually held one in our hands) and got pretty close to a huge manta ray and dozens of different kinds of fish.
In the afternoon all the kids went to play soccer with local children. I walked out to get my SIM card topped up with data (cellular data is far more reliable than any wifi on the island, though it’s still slow.) I’d always heard that cellular service is cheaper everywhere that isn’t Canada, but I was still astonished to have paid ten dollars U.S. and received 12 gigs of data, plus unlimited gigs for WhatsApp and Messenger. Just… wow.
(Even more wow was the fact that I went into the store and was able to do the whole transaction in Spanish!)
This morning (Thursday) we had another Spanish class. This time we went out to the main road with our teacher and practiced asking vendors how much things cost, to see if we correctly understood the prices in Spanish.
The kids had a lesson on renewable energy that K said was “pretty basic,” and then they were free for lunch. When they went back to the classroom at 2:00 for a cooking lesson, we walked down to the pier to ask about weekend tours to other islands. We want to see penguins, so we’re probably heading off to Floreana and Isabella. You’ll likely not hear from me until Monday, when I’ll update you on how the weekend tours went.