Lauren Utter and Tessa Kramer here, writing to you from Guayaquil, Ecuador! It is hard to believe that we have less than 2 weeks left of our immersion experience. We were fortunate to have a break from our clinical work and spanish classes this weekend to explore the coastline, Ruta del Sol.
The weekend was filled with many outdoor adventures that allowed us to see the true beauty Ecuador has to offer. On Saturday, we went on a scuba diving and snorkeling expedition in the Pacific Ocean. Three of the students in our group decided to explore the underwater world with scuba instructors. They had the opportunity to swim through schools of fish, hold bright-blue starfish, and journey through the coral reef. The others enjoyed the view from above, snorkeling and basking in the Ecuadorian sun.
After dining on shrimp straight from the sea, the group went on an intense hike through the rainforest. It was not just any hike. Our guide cleared the path in front of us with his machete and warned us to watch our step. We saw poisonous mushrooms, slid down muddy banks, and tasted bananas cut straight from the tree. The trek was worthwhile as we emerged from the rainforest and were met with the sunset over the Pacific. We collected colorful stones and unique seashells as we headed to our cabins on the oceanfront.
On Sunday, we headed back out to sea, but this time in search of Humpback whales! After a hour of patiently waiting, the magnificent creatures emerged and gave us the show of a lifetime. Waving their fins, smacking their tails, and even jumping completely out of the water; it was as if they had prepared an act for us to see.
We spent the last few hours of our weekend trip on a beach in one of Ecuador's national reserves. The pristine beach was nestled between immense cliffs and lush rainforests. It was a peaceful atmosphere to reflect on our first three weeks of work. We were sad to say goodbye to the sand dollars, salt water, and bright sun.
However, it was a refreshing trip that was much needed before returning to this week's rotations and Spanish classes. We will be sure to keep you posted on the work we are doing!
Lauren and Tessa