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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Conquering Roaring Rapids – Ecuador & The Galapagos Community Service

Ladies and gentlemen, senors and senoras, may I present to you – the greatest white water rafters around. After three days in Banos it remains a highlight and if we had one complaint it’s simply that they wouldn’t let us raft down the Pailos el Diablo. But we made do.

It started with a morning like any other, we woke, we ate, we packed our bags. But little did we realize what was coming. As the bus drove up and we saw the river first hand, our nerves of steel were tested. As we pushed off into the gentle caress of waves we thought to ourselves – oh, this ain’t so bad. Only when the real rapids came did we realize what we had gotten ourselves into. But through sheer iron will and staunch determination (plus a little iron body) we conquered the river that day and hopped out newly crowned – the greatest white water rafters around.

As wet as we got in that river, our time in Banos would give us rare opportunity to dry off. From the pool to the spa to the waterfall tour, we became amphibians for a while, knowing all the while the warm sun of the Galapagos wasn’t too far off.

Waterfall in Banos

Which, speaking of, is something close to paradise. While the famous tortoises remain elusive on San Cristobal, sea lions, pelicans, and marine iguanas cross your path every single day. Its near impossible to walk down a beach without tripping over a few lions and a pup lazily sunning themselves. Must be a hard life.

Though I will say, as beautiful as it is here, I wouldn’t mind if paradise took a pause just for a morning or two while we completed our service. Just enough for us to finish restoring the high school’s archives and then paradise can get right back to it. Yesterday we earned our sweat again here at the local high school, fixing up the student records office which was recently ravaged by a fire. Together we cleared the rubble, sanded the scorched walls, removed the broken tile, and even had some time left over afterwards to get smoked in soccer by the local students. Not to say we didn’t put up a fight, we had the entire trip rotating through shifts, but I guess home court advantage goes a long way out here. I guess we’ll just have to nurse our defeat with some more snorkeling by these gorgeous beaches. We’ll get them again tomorrow.

With just under a week left here time is really flying by. We have one more day of service at the high school, one more day of San Cristobal, and then it’s off to Santa Cruz to close out this wonderful trip. What are we looking forward to most? The tortoises of course – but the Darwin Center is a close second. Hopefully we’ll see some blue footed boobies up close as well. See you real soon.

The Westcoast Blogger