We started our day with packing up camp and leaving Quito. After an hour or so bus ride, full of chatter and music, we ended up back at the Quito airport and went through customs. Finally, the squad boarded the plane and took a two-ish hour flight to the islands. Once we landed and got our passports stamped, we ran off to catch a bus. As we looked out the window it wasn't anything like Quito; it was very vast and dry, stretching for miles without any habitation in site. The bus took us to a ferry where many admired the varying blues of the ocean as we went to Santa Cruz Island.
We finally halted all of our traveling and got to explore the tortoise ranch. As we wandered through the wilderness, we came across many a meandering tortoises. Learning fun facts along the way and even encountering a tortoise over 100 years old. With the sun beaming down and the day coming to a close (or so we thought) we were surprised with a lava tunnel/cave exploration instead. The squad carefully stepped on slick ground as the water dripped down on us and the light only slightly illuminated the way. Thinking this cool air and dark tunnel was a blessing we once again were in for a surprise. Ahead was a (roughly and slightly exaggerated) 17.23 inch opening (which was very muddy) from the floor of the cave. With doubt in many eyes we nimbly found a way through. Some mastered the art of the "plank-shuffle" while others perfected the "roll".
With this side adventure dominated we headed to the hotel to wash up. Our evening in brief including walking down to the docks, seeing tiny sharks, watching the "aliveness" of the streets, see-sawing in an ocean view park, eating (of course), taking pictures with a seal who found comfort on a bench, and debriefing about our thoughts on the island so far. Overall, it was a solid 9.3 out of 10 day and I feel quite privileged to be in such a beautiful, indescribable place with such incredible opportunities.