AUTHOR Caroline Eaton
At the end of October we hosted yet another successful EPI Mentoring cruise onboard an Ecoventura yacht. Two boys, Israel Robalino, 17, and Ibrahi Rodriguez, 15, joined us for a week of discovering what life is like as a crew member while seeing Islands for the first time. They were able to experience their land deeper and learn more about the wildlife they have studied in school. These are two boys, who we might see in the future, working on board when they get older!
Israel Robalino is from Loma Linda School in Puerto Ayora and a member of the EPI ecology club, Mola Mola. He is a pro-active boy who enjoys interacting with others and is learning about how to be a great leader. He says his biggest motivation is to always make his parents proud and to be a role model for others.
Ibrahi Rodriguez is passionate about surfing and reading. He is a student at Tomas de Berlanga school in Puerto Ayora. He has always been curious natured and the ocean and its depths have always fascinated him. This was the first cruise that he has been on and enjoyed practicing his English with the guests while onboard.
The career shadowing program is a community experience that allows these students to observe naturalist guides and crew members as they perform their regular jobs and learn more about the tourism industry. It allows them to see a path between their educational experience and their career choice.
The boys spent time with the naturalist guides, Ivan Lopez and Yvonne Mortola, the captain and crew, including those working in the engine room onboard the Letty. With the mentorship program, they were able to see what life is like on board and how their life would change if they were to chose a career in tourism.
“I enjoyed watching the naturalist guides teach the tourists the history of the Galapagos and how the Galapagos National Park rules helps us protect the wildlife. Also the evolution of all its biodiversity” – Ibrahi Rodriguez
They learned that the job of a naturalist guide is not as simple as they first thought since they have to be prepared for every question or situation that could happen during the trip.
The shadowing experience not only helped them see what their day-to-day would be like, but the crew gave them suggestions on how to further their education, even outside of Ecuador.
Ibrahi said, “The most interesting part of the shadowing experience was to discover more of the biodiversity of the islands, like the seahorses, the red-footed boobies, the juvenile Nazca boobies and more. Also, I was able to visit islands I’ve never been to”
“I learned a lot about how to manage and interact with tourists from other countries, also how to better identify certain species of animals and plants” – Israel Robalino
The guests onboard were able to interact with the boys and ask them questions about living in the Galapagos Islands. Juan Sebastian Torres, Director of EPI, joined the two boys during their experience. He walked the guests through what EPI is all about and how they are working to inspire change in the islands.
They all returned home raving about their time on board!
They are planning on recommending the experience to their friends, because they told us this mentorship trip is an experience that not many people who live in the Islands have an opportunity to enjoy.
Learn more about the EPI Program: