Galapagos Islands – half day and end back to Quito May 21st, 2009
Another start to a good day. Well its my last now. Have a final breakfast this morning. Then we are off to Santa Cruz to check out the Charlies Darwin research station. We go check out all exhibits here and then off to the tortoise area.
Our first stop today was the Charles Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz Island. This center was established in 1964 by the Charles Darwin Foundation to conduct research and provide education for conservation in the Galapagos. The center has a breeding program for Galapagos Land Iguanas and Land Tortoises, which was the focus of our visit.
I have seen photos of the giant tortoises of Galapagos, but pictures really didn’t prepare me for how incredibly HUGE these creatures are up close. WOW! They are like small automobiles! We saw dozens of them — some very, very old (they live about 200 years), collected from individuals who used to keep them as “pets” before the national park was created in 1959. There were also many baby turtles, bred at the center and waiting until their fifth birthday to be released into the wild, each species to the island from whence his breed originally came (each islandThe most interesting guy at the center is Lonesome George. His breed was thought to be extinct when he was found by a student on Pinta Island in the 1970s… the last turtle on the island. He was brought to the center and a search for a mate began.
We meet up with George the Tortioise and some Iguanas. Its a short change over. I would love to stay but now I have to go and catch a plane back to Quito as my time is now up.
We walk back to the area to catch our bus. Had time to buy some souvenirs, some shirts of the Galapagos Islands.
Then take 45 bus back to ferry, ferry then bus to airport.
On flight with LAN back to Quito, I am sitting beside Betty again, who once again talks my ear off like its going out of style.
We make it back to our Rio Amazonas in Quito, hotel.
I go out with dinner with 3 others, including Betty and talk about Galapagos Islands.
MY last dinner is great, I have a chicken soup with the chicken in it and some chicken and beef dish which is amazing.
Then back to hotel and off to bed.
Have to fly to Lima next day then home.