Posted by: tim ellis | December 30, 2008

Galapagos – Thursday 10th July 2008 (Santa Cruz)

Breakfast is at 7:00, and the weather is a very damp mist which turns to steadily increasing rain as we tour the Darwin Research Centre, where we see many different sub-species of giant tortoise – including some born this year as part of the repatriation process. We also see, though only at a distance, Lonesome George, the sole surviving representative of the Pinta tortoise. Then we walk down through town doing some window and/or souvenir shopping on the way. I buy a new rucksack for $9.95 as I have noticed the strap is going on the one I am using, and I’m not sure it will last all week.

By chance all the Europeans meet up in a cafe – as we leave, Jeff, Carol and Tim pass by, and are tempted by the remnants of our drinks to come in. Since the place does not seem that busy, the Cachalote must have bought them a lot of trade! The rain has stopped when we leave, but I pop into a shop to buy a T shirt, and it is pouring down again when I leave.

Lava Tunnel

After lunch it is back to Puerto Ayora to take a bus ride up to the highlands to see wild tortoises. We have a bit of a wait as there has been a hiccup in communication, and the bus driver was expecting us later, but at least the rain has stopped and the sun is trying to come out. Hubert claims it is because he and Jane bought rain ponchos this morning, so Tim offers to buy them a beer to repay them if it works. As we arrive at the farm which is the entrance to our walk, Hubert gets off the bus saying “Looks like your beer is safe…” Yes, it’s raining again!

We borrow wellies from the farm as the ground is quite muddy, and set off following Franklin. We find 7 or 8 different tortoises, some of which are quite active, also some Galapagos pin-tail ducks. There are several other tours around, and I see Laurie and Rich, who I met up in Sacha Lodge. 

 Quite apart from the animals this afternoon, we also find a wide variety of edible fruit, including passionfruit, guava, grapefruit and papaya. Then it is off with the wellies and back on the bus to the lava tube – an underground tunnel created by volcanic activity. It is mostly large enough to stand up in without any problem, and wide enough for several people to stand side by side, although there is one section you have to crawl to get through.

Then it’s back to Puerto Ayora for a last chance to shop, or just watch the locals playing volleyball before returning to the ship for dinner, where I become an honorary vegetarian for the night, as dinner is spaghetti, and the vegetarian one is made without a cheese sauce.

After Dinner, Tim shows us some of his pictures on the TV screen, as he has bought a suitable AV cable with him. Then Tim and I look at some of Christopher’s on his camera screen. No one has given us the running order for tomorrow, so we decide to assume it will be 7 am breakfast again and turn in for the night.

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