Galapagos immersion changed student’s life

Photos by Katie Sikora

Photographer captures the glory of nature

The Galapagos Islands are geologically young, volcanically active and isolated in the Pacific Ocean, 600 miles west of Ecuador. Charles Darwin drew attention to the islands in the mid-19th century. He studied patterns of development among the birds and animals, and propounded the theory of evolution that changed the thinking  about the origin of man.

The islands are often referred to as a living laboratory.  They are a place where birds and animals live largely undisturbed and seem to have little fear of people.

I spent several months in the Galapagos on a semester abroad program at the University of Miami. I am majoring in photojournalism and marine sciences, and documented what I saw in the Galapagos with the photographs in this slide show. I had opportunities to get within inches of birds like the blue-footed booby and to snorkel with sea lions and penguins. I lived in a home on Isabela Island with a family that spoke only Spanish. I learned to salsa, surf and speak Spanish.

I kept a journal. I learned so much about the wildlife, the people, and most importantly, myself. It scares me that I ever considered not going because the experience has changed my life and I would not trade it for anything. The only thing left to say is that, Galapagos, don’t you worry. I will be back.

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