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Two Views of Galapagos

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 - 9:03am

GSSM Galapagos Trip StudentsEmbarking January 7th from GSSM, 27 students, accompanied by Senora Ingram, Dr. Wagner, and Dr. Heiss, began their journey to Quito, the Capital of Ecuador. We stayed there for two nights before traveling to the Galapagos Archipelago for three nights and returning to Quito until January 14th.
In Quito, we began by meeting our tour guide Jorge, and spending the night at the Eugenia Hotel. After a quick rest, we awoke early and travelled to the Intinan Museum at the Equator where we learned about the Amazon natives and the unique qualities of the Equator Line. Before heading back to the hotel, we toured the Santa Domingo church and the Plaza de la Indepencia.
Taking a ferry to Santa CruzWe landed in Baltra, the most barren of the Galapagos Islands the next day, when we toured the Charles Darwin Research Center. Around the center were numerous iguanas and enclosures of Galapagos tortoises. On day two and three at the Galapagos Islands, we visited respectively Isabela, the largest island, and Floreana. On both islands, we swam and snorkeled in the Pacific Ocean and hiked.
After an amazing experience on the islands, we returned to Quito. We explored the artisan markets the night we returned, and the next morning, we visited a fruit vendor and hiked a portion of the Cotopaxi Volcano.
Going to the Galapagos Islands and spending time in Quito, Ecuador, was amazing. Seeing animals we will probably never see again was moving - and snorkeling with them was even more magnificent. Hopefully, we can all return one day soon.
Gabriella McNulty, Tega Cay
Class of 2013

Girls on the Equator LineGSSM never fails to surprise me. This interim, I went on the trip "Darwin and the Galapagos" through Education First (EF) Tours, and I don't think a smile ever left my face.
First, we flew into Quito. Quito is one of the first UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Sites for having one of the largest, least-altered, and best-preserved historic centers in the western hemisphere. Here, we visited the Intinan Museum at La Mitad de Mundo (the Middle of the World) where we learned how the Incas used the sun to both keep time and determine the location of the equator. Some of us even became certified “Egg Masters” by balancing an egg on the head of a nail!
We spent the next three nights on the Galapagos Islands: the famous archipelago where Darwin laid the foundation for the theory of evolution! After arriving on Santa Cruz, we walked to Academy Bay to see the Charles Darwin Institute. Next, we took excursions to the islands of Isabela and Floreana, where we snorkeled with whitetip sharks and sea turtles and laid out on both black and white beaches. Then we wrapped up the afternoon taking pictures with tortoises as old as America ... and one bit me! We also made sure to see the famous iguanas, penguins, blue-footed boobies and finches. They were even more surreal than I had imagined! Finally, we returned to Quito to visit the highest active volcano in the world, Cotopaxi, before flying home. What a week!

Sloan Miler, Summerville
Class of 2013

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