yes, spending the last few days of our around the world trip on tropical islands was a gooooood move.
on our concluding saturday, we went on a day trip to isla isabela, where we saw lots of giant galapagos tortoises (seriously so neat) and tons of other wildlife, hung out on the most pristine beautiful white sand beach, and swam with penguins and sea lions!
on the final day of our travels (besides one and a half more spent almost exclusively on a plane/in an airport), we went to church with the wonderful saints on santa cruz island, walked to tortuga bay and strolled along the beach, and packed up our backpacks one last time.
visiting the galapagos islands was like a little kiss on the cheek to end our epic adventure.
^^ we took several of these “ferry” rides in between islands. we usually took a dramamine pill before each ride because they were bumpy – and a couple of hours long! i just kind of love how everyone was packed in and usually 90% of the people fell asleep during the ride through what seemed like endless stretches of ocean until a new island would pop up! ^^
^^ we learned a lot of interesting things about giant galapagos tortoises. they live over one hundred years! ^^
^^ baby giants! ^^
^^ we could have watched them for hours. so dinosaur-ish! ^^
^^ aaaannnd, we even got to see some mating going on. ^^
^^ pretty wild flamingoes in a pond nearby the tortoise sanctuary! ^^
^^ these pictures just don’t do the beach justice. we could hardly believe our eyes. ^^
^^ pelicans, and can you spot the blue-footed booby birds? i can’t believe how neon blue their feet really are. ^^
^^ can you?! we saw hundreds of these guys!^^
^^ another friendly iguana. ^^
^^ and a sea lion on his private beach! ^^
^^ penguins!!! the furthest north penguins in the world. we got in the water and snorkeled right alongside them. i was ecstatic. ^^
^^ haha, can you tell? very excited. ^^
^^ we were so close we could pet them! they were really playful. there was also a sea lion swimming around with us (that is not my body – someone else’s on our excursion :) – but i did get to touch the penguins, so cool)! ^^
^^ we also saw sea stars and a huge manta ray as we were snorkeling around. ^^
^^ here’s the boy and our tour guide. i love that ian took this selfie while i was in the bathroom. ^^
^^ ian’s second haircut of the trip was in galapagos. his first was in southern china. a great adventure (and a really good haircut!) both times! and going to church on santa cruz island was such a highlight of our time in galapagos. we were so inspired by the humble and kind people that we met and worshipped with. ^^
^^ the walk to tortuga bay. it was so hot and humid! ^^
^^ one last visit with giant tortoises at the charles darwin research center. ^^
^^ and yellow iguanas! ^^
^^ here’s the outside of our hostel. ian took a picture of every place we stayed on the trip (i think he missed only a couple of the forty one). i’ll have to compile them. it was so weird to be walking away from this place knowing that our big trip was so close to being over and reflecting on all the crazy awesome experiences and growth it provided for us individually and collectively. ^^
i love this planet so much. i feel so blessed to have been able to see so many amazing parts of it this year.