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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Sea Lions, Turtles, and Iguanas: OH MY! – Community Service Ecuador & the Galapagos

We have arrived in the Galapagos and were almost instantly greeted by the immense wildlife around us. Our first afternoon in San Cristóbal was spent at Tirijetas, where we snorkeled amongst the sea lions and turtles while observing the ocean life.  As we plunged into the crystal blue water, the sea lions were strewn out on the dock, before they later joined us for a swim! It was magical as several sea turtles swam below and allowed for us to get a closer look as we snorkeled behind.  

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Our group continued our sea life exploration the following day at La Lobería, a beach that was covered in more sea lions- we just can not get enough of them!  We learned about the territorial alpha males and how they are protective over their young. After taking countless pictures, our group began a hike to see the marine iguanas.  As we walked along the sandy shore, we were able to see a bunch of endemic vegetation that can only be found here in the Galapagos. The spot that we arrived at had several iguanas lounging near the rocks.  Our animal adventure continued upon returning back to the ocean and submerging ourselves underwater to begin our second snorkeling excursion. Our guide, Doménica, pointed us in the direction of a variety of sea animals as we swam amongst the waves until admiring the sunset from the shore.  

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While performing our service at a local school, we completed a variety of beautification projects that included: cleaning up the yard, repairing a tire path, and repainting several walls with murals.  Since school is in session along the Ecuadorian coast and in the Galapagos from March to January, we were able to facilitate a gym class with a group of students. The trip members led fun and engaging activities including, “Red Light, Green Light” and “Indian Chief! ” We all enjoyed being amongst members of the community while completing service tasks at our final school.

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San Cristóbal has been quite the location for snorkeling, and each beautiful spot has kept us wanting more. During our snorkel adventure at Kicker’s Rock, we had the opportunity to see a giant school of fish and several hammerhead and Galapagos sharks.  It was truly a memorable experience to swim along the coral and see these unique animals as we explored the ocean. We even had a group of dolphins swim alongside our boat, which is a rare sight for the area! Our tour concluded at a private island, which we enjoyed exploring. We are excited to continue our journey onwards to Santa Cruz, where we will be experiencing all that Charles Darwin had observed.  Thus far we have certainly been creating memories that will last forever.

Until next time!

The Westcoast Blogger

Do you want to see sea lions, turtles and iguanas? Find out more about our 18-day and 25-day community service programs in Ecuador and the Galapagos!