San Cristobal my third week on the Reserve

Firstly I would like to mention that I had a good weekend, resting and enjoying the beach (and the showers!!!) and watching the sea lions! I was sitting on a bench and a sea lion actually slithered over and laid on the bench beside me!!! Omg!!! I couldn’t find my camera so I decided to move on as the smell of fish was overwhelming !!!

The town itself looks like a huge building site, lots of half built houses some of which seem to be worked on at night when it is cooler, in some areas you can hear the generators going as the site is flood lite to enable the work to be done. There are new roads also being created quite slowly though! It is election time now and all the candidates are shouting at everyone very loudly as they walk through the streets or ride in taxis with speakers on the back!! so it was an interesting weekend!

Monday 17th February

Today it has been very humid, we really are in a jungle here and there is no escape!!! If we wanted to which of course we don’t!!!! No water this morning again and so that was quite difficult as there is now about 15 in our house all sharing one shower and one toilet!!! I don’t think I need to say more about that!! Some of my new chums have now gone home which is a bit sad as we all got on really well! But there are 20 new volunteers expected tomorrow.
When we arrived in the garden! this morning to do some gardening we discovered that either the pigs or the horse had eaten all the potatoes we planted last week! They left some very good manure behind though! So, we cleared the garden again planted some more potatoes a lot deeper this time and then moved compost from one area to another, there is a lot of time taken up with moving things/stuff around, which is really quite unbelievable! We did the same in the afternoon.

Tuesday 18th February

Today I helped in the kitchen again and I asked permission to cook some oat cookies which went down well with everyone! Even the pig enjoyed some when he came to eat at the back door later! In the afternoon after all my chores were completed I joined some other volunteers for a trip to the town for the big festival, apparently the fisherman return with their catch and the one with the heaviest fish is the winner and of course a big celebration ensues!!!!! Thankfully the taxi driver who drove us back in the evening didn’t take part in the celebrations as he has a tendency to talk on his phone and drink beer at the same time whilst avoiding the pot holes in the road and it is a 40 minute car journey!!!!! Very bumpy indeed!

Very exciting, I have decided to go on a 4 day island hop ( Santa Cruz, Isabella and Floreana) during my last week here with some of the other volunteers, commencing Monday next week returning on Thursday and I will then stay in town for the remaining day as I leave on Saturday 1st for Quito. I won’t see all the islands as that is a very expensive trip but it will be so nice to get a feel for the country as a visitor!

Wednesday 19th February

Today we went around the reserve picking lemons for the kitchen and worked in the garden, thankfully the potatoes are still in the ground!! In the evening we went into town again as it is Election Day, the lady who owns the bar nearby paid for taxis there and back as a kind gesture. * However, when we arrived in town we were all given election tshirts and ushered on to trucks with flags and whistles! I think the candidate wanted a bit more back up!!! So after about an hour of everyone shouting and beeping their horns, the noise was deafening I should say at this point. We began a procession very slowly around the streets, I did ask in jest did we know what his politics were???? The procession continued for 3 hours before we could leave and get some food then back to the reserve in a taxi. The taxis here are not like the ones back in the uk but 4×4 trucks with an open back, three sit inside, if your lucky!!! and also you sit on the back, it can be exhilarating on the smooth roads!!!! They carry up to 11people so it can be a really tight squeeze!

*the lady who runs the bar is running for Mayor!!!

Thursday 20th February

Today is my last full working day on the reserve as I go into town tomorrow.
In the morning we worked in the National Park chopping Morro (black current bushes) and then we tried to move it to another area which was hard work as it was so hot, in the afternoon we all made coffee and I have bought a kilo of beans it smells wonderful! I will be able to say when we drink the coffee at home that I actually made it! In the evening after supper one of the volunteers made some banana cake, it was heaven!!! The mosquitoes were out in force, almost as if they knew I was leaving!! I have so many bites now and I have covered myself in so much repellant that I feel quite light headed most of the time, the mosquito repellant clothes I bought in the UK definitely do not work!!!!

Friday 21st February

I woke up this morning and felt pleased that I can now look at the other islands as a visitor. My time at the Reserve has felt very hard often and I think because this is my first time as a volunteer no matter how much research I did it did not prepare me for the hardship i encountered along the way. However, I am so glad that I have volunteered especially on the Galapagos! as it is a very special place, and I feel very fortunate and grateful to all the people I have met along the way for their kindness and goodwill.
This morning we went to the beach and had a barbecue which was lovely and then into town and here I am writing this in the lobby of the hotel as it has wifi, to finish my week. I will write some about my journey around the islands next week?

   

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