Today, for the first time since our arrival here on the island of Santa Cruz, we had plenty of clear air and warm sunshine. This morning, the English class made dramatic speeches, and the Biology students wrote a test to end their unit on genetics.

After lunchtime, our whole team walked down to the pier, led by our newest guide, Eddie. We boarded a speedboat for a cruise around the bay, and it began with a white knuckle ride over ocean waves, with saltwater spray in our faces. We pulled in for a look at “La Loberia”, a rocky outcropping where sea lions like to sun themselves. Next, our guide and boat captain drove us to another point, on the southern end of our island, where we landed and saw a mangrove swamp and a lagoon that is a favourite spot of white tip sharks. We then walked to a coastline made of large, black volcanic rocks, where we spotted dozens of marine iguanas (and a sea lion).

Back on the boat, we moved away from the shore and found a spot for ocean snorkeling. We leapt bravely into the Pacific and found it was warmer than we’d expected. Before long, we found ourselves peering down at sea urchins, parrot fish, and the absolute highlight – giant sea turtles!

When we re-boarded the boat, we had a quick snack of juice and crackers, then cruised back to land to take a short walk to another swim site, this time in a beautiful grotto walled by sheer rock walls and fed by both rain and turquoise seawater.

From there, it was a leisurely rolling boat ride back to the pier, before walking “home” with just enough time to shower and change before our dinner.

This was one afternoon students won’t soon forget!

Diane Vaughan

Program Manager

PS: On Monday morning, we’ll board our cruise ship for 4 days of exploring up the coast and around nearby islands. Please be aware that during that time, we will have no cell reception or internet connection. For that reason, we will not be able to call home or send updates until after we are back on land, on July 21st. Thanks for understanding.