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Destination: Galapagos Islands Cyber Field Trip

Mandy Williams' Expedition Journal
Day Seven

Click on the photo to see an enlargement.

Today was our last full day on the Galapagos Islands. Tonight will be our last night spent on the M.S. Polaris. Tomorrow morning we will be taken to the airport and then flown back to the mainland of Ecuador.

view from the topToday began early again. We ate a quick breakfast, then boarded our rafts and headed out for the island of Bartolome. Once we arrived on the rocks we immediately began a 359-foot hike to the top of the island. People used to climb right up through the sand, but due to soil erosion, they recently built wooden stairs that go all the way up to the top. It's still a heart-pumping climb, though.

View from pinnicleOnce you reach the top, you realize how worth it the climb was. The view is absolutely amazing. It really is breathtaking. You can see some of the other islands from up there, and if you look down, you can see a beautiful beach with lush greenery behind and then a second beach behind that! There is an amazing rock formation as well called Pinnacle Rock.

View from pinnicleWe took some group pictures at the top, with the view behind us. It was very inspirational. It was the kind of place you could probably just sit at all day and think. I imagine the sunsets are great from up there. Anyway, soon we started our trek downhill. Although it was much easier than climbing uphill, it was still pretty steep, which made it more awkward than difficult, and some of the crew were hot and thirsty. Looking up from the bottom, it was hard to imagine where we had just come from.

We ate a good lunch before getting in our rafts and heading out to sea toward the beach. We were shooting a snorkeling scene with a wild sea lion. It took us a while to find one. There are usually plenty in the area where we were, but because of the recent El Nino, there were not many sea lions to be found.

Galapagos PenguinsWhile we were riding around in search of one, we came across a rock with a couple of cute little penguins on it. They were just sitting there enjoying the sun. The weather was just beautiful. There was a nice breeze and a few clouds that helped cool the hot sun.

We finally came across a baby sea lion who seemed to want to play. So our naturalist Lynn and Alan Alda jumped in the water and swam over to the little guy. He was playful for a little while but soon lost interest. After that, we moved over to another area where a recent glass-bottomed boat excursion had found a green sea turtle. However, he didn't care for the underwater cameraman that was in the water filming the whole thing and fled the scene early on. Next we found several schools of fish to swim through.

The water began to feel a little choppy, so we packed it in and headed back to the ship. Once aboard, Sherri and I finished up our work early in time to sit and relax and enjoy the view from the upper deck.

View from deckIt's been a great week and it's gone by pretty fast. Seems kind of hard to believe that it's almost over, that today was our last day. But hey, any time I want to reminisce on the trip, I can always just get on my own computer at home and log on to this website, and watch the film clips that we made while we were here. That's pretty neat if you ask me.

I have been very lucky to have had the opportunities that were presented to me, and I am thrilled that I was allowed to participate in such a wonderful experience. I'm glad that we've had the viewers at home and in classes to watch us and keep up with our trip. So, thank you to everyone who wrote in and followed our journey. Thanks for all those great questions. And a special thanks to friends and family members of mine that wrote me to tell me they were thinking about me and were proud of what I was doing! I really appreciated all of it.

Goodbye to everyone from the Galapagos Islands,


Read Sherri's Day Seven Journal

Day 6 new entry Day 1


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