It was three weeks. But it went by in a flash. Fourteen students and two professors, in the University of Miami study abroad expedition to the Galapagos Islands.
But first a quick look at what we did on the trip.
We started out at the Panama Canal. Then we flew to Ecuador, which governs the Galapagos Islands, and spent a day in the largest city, Guayaquil.
We went to a downtown park filled with iguanas and learned that Guayaquil was the first place in Ecuador to declare independence from Spain. We learned that the Panama Hat was really invented in Ecuador and, of course, we went shopping for Panama Hats.
Then we were off to the exotic islands that Herman Melville of Moby Dick fame called the Enchanted Islands. We met people from all over the world who, like us, had come to see what Charles Darwin saw hundreds of years ago as he was developing his theories of evolution: iguanas that swim and can hold their breath for up to 45 minutes, giant tortoises that look like big, curvaceous pirate’s chests, colonies of sea lions, swarms of finches and a wonderful kind of bird with bright blue feet and a piercing whistle called the blue-footed booby.
We hit the beaches and hiked on highland ridges, through chilly, drippy caves and up along the rim of a volcanic crater that had long ago filled with rain and become a fresh water lake.
We interviewed wild life experts, boat captains, doctors, dentists, school teachers, restaurateurs and lots of other people, many of them related to research we’d done in Miami before the trip. We wrote articles and blogs, collected the sounds of the islands on H2 Zoom recorders and took stacks of photographs. We put it all together for publication on TheMiamiPlanet.org, the University of Miami’s environmental magazine online.