Module 3: Homework, homework, and more homework. Oh and turtles!

Module 3 is complete! This was my hardest class by far, but also the most fun! The class was called Marine Ecology, and we were lucky enough to have it co-taught by one professor from USFQ in Quito, and a visiting professor from Cal State who is on sabbatical doing research.

As part of the class, we helped our professors with their coral research, completed our own group research projects, along with normal class activities. We’ve done research projects in all three classes that I have taken here, but this one was my favorite by far! My group studied the relationship between turtles and the fish that are always seen swimming alongside/around the turtles “cleaning” their fins and shells.

An example of fish "cleaning" turtles. These are Rainbow Wrasse fish eating the algae off of a Green turtle!
An example of fish “cleaning” a sea turtle. These are Rainbow Wrasse fish eating the algae off of a Green sea turtle!
This is a Hawksbill turtle! They are not very common in the islands, so we were super lucky to see one during our research!
Hawksbill Turtle!

We got to go snorkeling and searching for turtles at 3 different beaches everyday for 10 days as “homework” (take notes please, Linfield biology department).

With the little free time I’ve had outside of class the last 3 weeks, I have tried to see the few spots of the island that I have yet to see. On an island as small as San Cristóbal, after about a month of exploring there’s not too much new stuff to see. But, it has been fun to explore the whole island, and really get to know my favorite places.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of my favorite places on the island:

-Playa de los Marinos: This is my favorite beach to go to, and it’s one that people aren’t allowed on! It’s where all the sea lions hang out, so it’s full of mamma and baby sea lions all the time. If you’ve never seen a baby sea lion, they are the absolute cutest animals ever and if I could bring one home with me,  I would.

A cute group of sea lions cuddling on the beach
A cute group of sea lions cuddling on the beach

-La Lobería: This is my favorite snorkel spot on the island, and one of the best spots to see sea turtles and lots of cool fish. It also has lots of cool hiking trails around it that lead you up to cliffs overlooking the ocean.

A turtle seen while snorkeling here!
La Lobería beach

-Sabor Cuencano: Not outdoorsy, but this the only café on the island that has both air conditioning AND wifi, a real rarity here. They also have the best sweet treats to munch on during studying 🙂

-Playa Mann: This is the beach right across the street from my campus, and is one of the nicer beaches for just hanging out and swimming. Although there are lots of beaches around the island, most of them are super rocky and not really the type to go and hang out at.

Sara