On Wednesday I left the Jatun Satcha for the last time. It was sad to leave, mainly because there were a few of us leaving and the girls were getting a bit upset! Me and Stefan (a German friend who was leaving too) sat in the back of the taxi pickup whilst all the girls cried, hugged, and kissed – glad to be unemotional blokes! It was a good time to leave, a lot of the other volunteers who I have been working with for the past month have recently left – new people came but with only a few days left I didn’t get to know them too well.
My last day of work I spent digging (for a change!) a new planting bed. It was a good job to finish on – it will be used by future volunteers and will be there for a while. As many friends had left my last few days were a little strange. I was ready to leave, I’d had enough of the work and the mosquitoes/fruit flies. The people make the project, and I have been very lucky to of spent the majority of the last month with some really cool people – including some Germans!!!
Special mentions for:
Ed – from Norwich, England – he went to Uni in Sheffield so we had a lot in common and he is also on a round the world trip (going the opposite way to me) so had much to talk about – good English sense of humour too!
Stefan E – from Berlin, Germany – when I first met him I though he was crazy, getting to know him confirmed my suspicions! Really good fun to be around, plenty of English/German banter, much comedy when he pulled Monica the Ecuadorian cook at the station, and spent most of the four day trip being ill (I did feel sorry for him really!). Hope to visit him in Berlin.
Greg – originally from St Helens, England – now living in Geneva, Switzerland. A mere youngster at the age of 20, constantly giving me grief about my age – “what was it like in your generation?” and Spanish speaking ability, which has improved as a result. A good larf though, talked about Football a lot!
Pippa and David – from Wales – they started the project on the same day as me and we shared a room for our first few days – threes a crowd when theres a couple though and I think they appreciated me moving out at the earliest opportunity. They provided the responsible touch sometimes required at the project and were good fun to be around too.
Tim, from Melbourne Australia – a music teacher back home – often heard playing the guitar or drums. The usual Aussie good natured bloke! We enjoyed mimicking each others accent, I gave him lots of stick for the Aussies love of putting beetroot on everything – he ate my share at the project! Played in goal for the English (commonwealth) team in England v Germany games. Hope to visit him in Melbourne someday.
Stefan, from Constance, Germany. Much quieter than the other Stefan, but no less fun. Worked hard at the project and was always a good source of conversation. He found it hard to understand me most of the time at first – he’s now versed in English slang!
Axel and Toby, from Germany. I roomed with Toby for most of my stay at the project. Both good lads, Toby bit of a ladies man – but he ´s stalking technique was often surprisingly successful. Axel is a semi pro footy player and it showed – in our England v Germany footy matches they beat us every time 🙁
Victoria, from Melbourne, Australia. She’s 26 but often seemed more like my Mum. She patched up my foot when I cut it kicking a tree stump! A good laugh, very popular at the project (they all cried when she left) – particularly partial to Rum, Tequila and vodka! Maybe see her in England when she’s there in the summer.
Roy from Israel, has lots of hair and is generally quiet. At first I wasn’t sure about him, but when you get to know him you realise he has a good sense of humour and is a keen conservationist. Watching England v Israel with him on Saturday in Quito – should be fun!
Lisa from Germany, she wasn’t on the project but we met her every weekend in the town. She came on both the day trip and the four day tour so we got to know her well. Good fun, doesn’t look or act at all German. Fully fluent in Spanish she’s been teaching me some local lingo. Hopefully see her in Berlin too.
Emily and Lydia from England. They left the project a week or so ago but were good fun to be around. Conversation usually involved gossip and they were keen party goers! Maybe catch up with them back home.
Dan, from Aberdeen Scotland. Always seen drinking beer in his spare time (he ´d do anything if you bought him a beer!) – keeping up the Scottish tradition! Suffered much Scottish banter being the lone Scot, but took in good jest. Crazy dancing!
I’ve probably forgotten someone – everyone at the project was really cool. The work and the mosquitoes would get very tiresome if in bad company. Hopefully I will be able to keep in touch with some people. Its strange spending a month with complete strangers that you get to know really well and become good friends with – then you leave and may never see them again, quite sad. Throughout my trip I have exchanged email addresses with many people and have only kept in touch with a few – but having spent so long with most of these people hopefully we will all keep in touch. There is talk of a reunion in Berlin, and I may meet up with a few of them in other parts of South America, which would be cool.
So yep am sad to leave the project as I will miss all these people, but they have all left now anyway so its time to move on. I ´m really excited to be pulling the backpack back on and to explore more of South America. When i started the project I was tiring of doing the sightseeing thing, now I feel refreshed and ready to get back to it.
On Wednesday a few of us took a taxi across the Island to the beach of Porto Chino. Probably the best beach on the island for chilling out and relaxing as it has a sand beach allowing easy access to the sea, its a great place to spend an afternoon.
Yesterday quiet Stefan and I hired a sea kayak and paddled through the harbour to some nice bays where we saw plenty of sea lions (swimming around us playfully)m boobies and frigates. It was hard work in the strong currents but a nice way to spend my last afternoon on the Island. We also saw a large statue of Charles Darwin that is erected on a cliff in the middle of now where. Here’s a photo of me and my old mate Charley having a British moment together!
I fly back to Quito today, where we are having a reunion this evening and going for a curry – can’t wait, hope they have Chicken Tikka Masalla, have been craving a curry for the last month!
The Galapagos Islands themselves have been awesome. They are truly a remarkable and I would recommend anyone to visit. The wildlife is unlike anything I have seen before and its abundance is overwhelming at times – where else does swimming with sea lions become part of everyday life! The work I have done is only a fraction of what is required to assist in the conservation of the Islands. I am pleased to have played a small part in the conservation effort and to of contributed towards achieving the projects goal. An amazing experience!