July 7, 2022
Hey EGP 2A parents!
We are waiting to check in for everyone’s flight back to Atlanta and savoring this final time together over the 150 rolls of sushi we just devoured, some KFC chicken and some baskin robbins ice cream! During this time, all your kids wanted to quickly reach out before they board their plane and give you all a quick shoutout! Your kids are all so great and we will miss them as they fly home!
Taylor and Will
Freddie – thanks for sending me on this trip! I had a lot of fun!
Hudson – thanks for sending me on this trip! I had a lot of fun! I’m ready for food.
Alex – thanks for sending me on this trip! I had a lot of fun! Lemme get a cfa sandwich with extra pickles when u pick me up please.
Jackson- thanks for sending me on this trip. I had fun seeing the tortoises and sea lions. I had a lot of fun!!
Caroline- hi. Trip was lit. Had lots of fun exploring nature! Like alex, I would like a #1 meal with no pickles and a Dr Pepper from cfa pls:) thank you for letting me go on this trip, I am so thankful! I’ve missed y’all lots and can’t wait to see y’all and sammy. Love y’all.
May- Hey, thank you so much for giving me this experience. I have made so many new friends and can’t wait to get to visit them all. I had so much fun and I’m so thankful. LOVE YOU and see you soon.
Sydney- hi parents. I had so much fun on this trip! We did so many cool things! Can’t wait to see you guys and eat some healthy food. Love you
Theodora- hello! So the trip is coming to an end. Kinda sad but I am so so excited to see you all! Happy early birthday mommy! I hope everything has been fun at home and you guys enjoyed Fourth of July. I missed spending it with you but our leaders made it fun! Thank you for sending me on this trip, we saw such cool things and I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I am home! SEE YOU SOON! I love love love you!
Catherine: hi mom and dad, I miss y’all so much I cannot wait to get home. I’m currently walking to the table to get my sushi from the airport(kinda hard to type). The trip was a very fun time and I will miss South America! I will board in about a few hours. I missed the 4th of July with you guys. I hope mom you got my Galapagos post card via email haha(sorry dad I forgot your email :() And I got both of y’all gifts that I hope you will enjoy. Mom if you saw I took 50$ out of my account it was for y’all’s gifts so don’t worry I used the money for good. Anyway see you guys tomorrow morning. Can’t wait. Much love Cat.
Mary: mom, dad, carol- hey hey! Had the best time EVER! so thankful and happy!!! Miss you and CFA fries tons! Love y’all sooo much! See you soon!
Ridley: Hey mom, dad, and Lars!!!!! I had so much fun!!! Galapagos was so beautiful and I’m so thankful for the experience I had there! Although I’m sad to leave I’m excited to be back at home and see y’all! I will tell y’all all about it when I get back! We are at the Quito airport right now. I also got y’all gifts!! Miss and love y’all!! Love, Ridley
Trey- Thank y’all so much for sending me on this trip. I’m so glad that I was able to explore the Galápagos Islands as opposed to moving houses. I’m hoping that I’m able to come back straight to new house to sleep in. I just had sushi from the airport and I ate 5 rolls, thought y’all would want to hear that. Also, whenever I get back, I’m dying to make an early morning Waffle House run. Love y’all, see all of you soon- TP
Spencer-Thanks Mom and Dad for sending me on this trip. I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to explore a new country and experience things I can’t nowhere else.
July 6, 2022
Hola from EGP 2A! We have had a phenomenal time getting to know each other and the Galapagos Islands. From the last update we boarded a boat and went from Isabella to Santa Cruz for a short stay on this central island. After a great lunch and a few more penguin sightings, we boarded our boat bound for Santa Cruz. On the boat ride, Trey was a trooper, sitting in a seat that was in the splash zone! He weathered the water with a grin and many laughs before moving to a new spot in the center of the boat.
We spent our one full day in Santa Cruz seeing some of the best sights that the island had to offer. At Las Grietas, everyone jumped in the crystal clear blue water sandwiched between two large cliffs. We spent an hour at this protected site, relaxing and taking the experience in. Alex especially did some cool tricks off the jumping platform. Freddy sunned on the rocks by the water, meanwhile the girls got their best underwater “mermaid” swims in and recorded on the GoPro! After this we went to the Charles Darwin Research Center and got to see some more tortoises! The kids love these tortoises and are going to be sad not to visit them once they return home! After this we ate a quick lunch before heading on to Tortuga Bay, a beautiful, protected beach on Santa Cruz. Here we all splashed around before having a game of “1,2,3 look up and don’t make eye contact with each other!” If you made eye contact with someone else you would have a “moo off” and immediately start “mooing”. Whoever mooed the longest time would be the winner and stay in the game. Hudson was a champion moo-er not once but twice, taking on everyone in the game and mooing longer than them. After this we continued relaxing on the beach. Theodora challenged everyone to do their best Michael Jackson impression and then Sydney and her took over the GoPro to do our vlog!
The next day we packed up once again and took off for San Cristobal! After another few hours boat ride, we arrived to the beautiful island of San Cristobal. This is the second most populated island of the archipelago and we stayed walking distance to the sea lion-lined beach. This was our final stop of the trip, so we settled into our hostel prepared to soak in our last few special days together. We had an incredible lunch before heading out for the day. The place we ate was renowned for its sushi, so Taylor and I ordered some sushi for the group for everyone to try. Afterwards we picked up some snorkel gear and headed to Las Tijeratas, a popular snorkel bay where Charles Darwin first docked when he came to the Galapagos! Here sea lions came up to us to play, twirling and swimming around us.
The next day we gathered our packs and went to explore some local markets in the town. We all feasted on some great empanadas and Morocho, before trying even more different foods. Catherine courageously tried a local fruit that we had never seen before, and other kids slowly started to try other things as well ranging from mini bananas, tropical apples and more. After our market adventure, we loaded a bus and went on to Puerto Chino, a beautiful beach in the north of the island with some amazing waves. We all had fun splashing around and bodysurfing the waves here. The guides we worked with even pulled out some paddle boards for us to try our hands at actual surfing. Caroline and Sydney went together trying to surf and with both making it up, riding the waves to the shore. Everyone tried to surf and had a great time on the boards! We also enjoyed relaxing on the sunny beach too. Theodora and Sydney were the last two in the water, diving under the coming waves every time a new wave came crashing in!
The next day we went to do our service project on the island! We went to an organic farm in the highlands of San Cristobal. Here we learned about composting, organic farming practices, and got to assist in helping the vegetables and animals. We started picking tomatoes and cucumbers before moving on to picking peppers that would be eventually converted into an organic insecticide. Spencer and May bravely tried some of these orange peppers, quickly grabbing water after but also noting the fine quality of the peppers. We later got to meet and feed the cows, Guinea pigs, and chickens of the farm. May continued to be brave by carrying the bucket of cow manure (with gloves!) along with her fellow leader of the day Jackson. Soon after, some of the kids picked some food. Ridley, Catherine, and a few others learned to pick pineapples and pulled some out of the ground. These pineapples were a fresh treat to us between picking fruit and digging new trenches for new fruits and veggies to be planted. We ended our day at the farm with an amazing chicken and rice meal, before heading back to our hostel. We had some relaxation time then, before going on to a nearby beach, where Jackson found a tasty looking snow cone that he bought. He made it look so yummy that Hudson, Taylor, and I all followed his move and bought some ourselves! That night we ate at a Mexican restaurant on behalf of Trey’s inspiration, and all had a great dinner before heading back for Moonup and bed.
We followed up our project day with a day at a recycling center of the island. This day was especially exciting because it was also 4th of July! Taylor and I started off the July 4th in Ecuador with a wakeup call of “American music”, blue balloons, and red white and blue beads for the kids. After a truly American meal of pancakes, we headed off to the recycling center. We were all amazed to learn that our off the charts guide Pepo’s parents owned this property! Here the house and surrounding gardens was a tribute to sustainable living; all the furniture and decorations were made of recycled and reused goods. It was all centered around a beautiful ceiba tree and a boat in a tree “tree house”. After helping prepare a swordfish for our eventual lunch, we explored the property and saw how many things could be recycled in such interesting ways. Jackson tried his hand at slack line walking and all the kids loved exploring the cave under the tree and the treehouse itself. The boys fed the ducks and Alex made a new friend with the dog there named cupito. Meanwhile, we also were taught how to recycle glass Gatorade bottles (a normal product we have come to see often here) into glass cups. Caroline creatively decided to instead make a jewelry holder with her bottle. After an amazing lunch of steamed swordfish, rice and more, we set off for La Loberia beach. Arriving close by, we mounted bikes and took off riding toward the beach. We enjoyed snorkeling here and avoiding the “beach master” — a big and territorial sea lion! We even got to see some amazing and big sea turtles. Trey recorded some incredible videos on his GoPro while Spencer stayed out in the water as long as he could absorbing the unique fish. At the beach we observed more sea lions, and I had a great conversation with Mary and Ridley about deserts! We had another awesome dinner at a local Italian restaurant, before heading back for a Moonup led by leaders of the day Theodora and Spencer. By this time, all the kids had July 4th bandanas that we had surprised them with, and we ended this Moonup with a “fireworks show” of Taylor and I throwing glow sticks in celebration.
We spent our final full day in San Cristobal, boarding a boat to go off to the beautiful and protected island of Los Lobos. Here we walked up to blue footed boobies and other incredible birds that uniquely call the Galapagos their home. Afterwards we boarded the boat again for a time to relax on our boat with some watermelon and plantain chips as a snack. Mary bravely jumped off the boat doing a cool twist, while Freddy and Hudson jumped off and swam to the beach, where they laid in the sun like the sea lions around them. Spencer, Jackson, and Trey stayed in the water to get one final Galapagos snorkel in! That night, we had our final dinner together in a cooking class led by one of our guides’ mother! Together we cooked chicken and bean tacos with watermelon and orange juice. Catherine, Ridley, and Trey worked together on the orange juice while Mary showed off her cooking skills cutting all the chicken. After eating together and learning more about cooking we went off to get ice cream, before having our final Moonup. Our leaders of the day Caroline and Alex led this final sentimental Moonup. We started the Moonup with the song “Rivers and Roads” as we lead into a discussion of the ways and avenues that we as an EGP 2A family will stay connected after this trip. Everyone left the Moonup with compliments from their peers, as we have all grown to know each other so well during our memorable two weeks together.
Today, we have been traveling back to Quito for our final goodbye to each other. As I write this now, we have collected our bags and our preparing for a final dinner together of 150 sushi rolls — we are all excited! Parents, thank you so much for your kids for this trip. We had an amazing time getting to know each other during our travels through the Galápagos Islands and are so glad our trip had every single child on it. Collectively, thank you so much to all the parents — we truly had an amazing time the past few weeks. Until next time — hasta luego!
June 29, 2022
Hello from the beautiful shoreline of Isabela Island! We have had an absolute blast getting to know this group and can’t believe that we are already on day five!
The group arrived safely in Quito with smiles on their faces after a long travel day. Small talk and laughter erupted on the bus as we headed to our first hostel. After all the students put their bags away, we met up in the lobby for pizza and more name games. Shortly after, we gathered around the hot tub for our first Moonup where Will and I challenged the kids to think about a goal that they have either for the trip or their lives. We then chose our first leaders of the day, Trey and Sydney.
The next morning, we quickly packed up and headed to the airport to catch our flight to the Galapagos. We arrived on the sandy shores of Baltra Island where we took a bus and a boat to get to the highlands of Santa Cruz Island to see the giant tortoises. We had a warm lunch of pasta and teriyaki chicken that was absolutely mouthwatering before we put on our rubber boots to explore the lava tunnels and get a closer look at the tortoises. The kids were stunned to see how massive the tortoises were and were fascinated by the magnitude of the lava tunnel. Afterwards, we took our bus back to the hotel and were able to explore the unique town on Santa Cruz. Then we concluded our night with a moonup on the rooftop of our hotel.
On day three, we had an early morning and caught a boat ride to our next island, Isabella. After three travel days, our whole group was ready to settle down at our luxurious hotel with a pool, beach access, and a soccer field right next door. When we first got to the island, the group visited the giant tortoise breeding center where we saw…well lots of breeding. After an interesting afternoon, we met up with our guide, Juana, and gathered our snorkeling gear. We then went to a crystal-clear bay and jumped right into the cold waters. Most of the girls vlogged the whole experience. Jackson stayed out the longest with the guide and Will and even spotted a giant stingray! We then headed back to the hotel where Jackson, Trey, Freddy, Spencer, Alex, and Hudson played some locals in a soccer match. Theodora practiced her Spanish by cheering on the boys and even befriended some local students that have become close friends of our group as we have come to know this island. Jackson and Trey even scored some points and Spencer served as a great goalie! It’s fair to say that even though our boys lost by a ton, they had the best sideline cheering them on. We closed the night with the best moonup to date where Alex and Mary challenged us to think of something we would go back and change about our lives. Parents, all of you would be proud because most of their answers involved spending more time with their family before, they go off to college.
The next morning, we woke up and prepared for our 12-mile round trip hike to a volcano. We started off in the wetlands sliding up and down a muddy path-so muddy that Caroline and Taylor took off their shoes and decided it was better to go barefoot. Meanwhile, Spencer and Jackson started a small business where they would carry peoples bags up the volcano for extra snacks. Very resourceful and very helpful. After a very wet part of the hike, we walked into a very dry section, and it looked incredible! Large cacti and volcanic rock were scattered throughout the setting. It looked like we were exploring a different planet! We learned so much here about volcanos and the Galapagos archipelago! On the way back, everyone compared how muddy they got. Mary and May detailed the day’s journey in a vlog. Then we all jumped in the ocean as soon as we arrived back to our hotel home. Here we body surfed and played chicken fight — Hudson was our chicken fighting champion! Later on, we played more soccer, beach volleyball, and beach tennis with some of our local friends we have made here. Catherine especially shined in the volleyball game, showing off her skills. After a great dinner and moonup, we all went out to the beach where we sat and watched an amazing clear sky, full of beautiful stars before turning in for the day.
The next morning, we gathered our stuff to go biking to the Wall of Tears. Here we learned more about the history of the Galapagos as a historical home for prisoners. It was a tough ride up but everyone really enjoyed the way back, where we zoomed through the downhill ride. During the ride, Alex was super friendly in sharing some of his gushers from home with the rest of the group, helping us fuel up for the rest of the day. After a great lunch, we went to go sea kayaking in two-seater kayaks. Caroline and Catherine especially worked well together, yelling their “right” and “left” motions to ensure their synchronization. Ridley and May were together in another boat, where sea lions kept popping up their heads and jumping out of the water around them. Out in the water we all saw penguins, sea lions, and the Galapagos signature animal, blue footed boobies. On the way back in, Hudson and Trey tried to surf a wave into shore, wiping out and falling out of their kayak! They got back in, finishing their final kayak into shore. On the way back to the hotel, Theodora and Sydney entertained the group with a fast song of the different state’s names. We later finished the night with churros and milkshakes after dinner before having another great moonup led by Spencer and Catherine.
Today we are headed back to Santa Cruz to further explore that island! We loved our time in Isabella and are so excited to continue getting to know each other and seeing what else the Galapagos has in store for us!
Until next update!
Taylor and Will
June 25, 2022
Hello Ecuador + Galapagos Families!
We heard from our leaders late last night that the group has landed safely in Quito. The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!