June's Sabbatical travel blog




lava tunnel-first found when farmer lost his cow!





cocoa beans

cocoa beans



girls fighting over lonesome george

lonesome george hiding from the fight!

This morning we stayed on land! Our first excursion was to Santa Cruz Island where we went to the highlands to look for the giant tortoises, and lonesome George as well. What a contrast the highlands of the island were. We went from heated sand to boggy muddy green land in about 7 minutes. We stopped at the rubber boot station and kitted ourselves with rubber boots for our search of the tortoises. They are all protected and can wander where they like. As it had been raining very hard the mud was almost over our boots a lot of the time. But this only adds to the adventure. Some people complained though! We did find several tortoises wallowing in brackish water or munching the vegetation. They are not as large as I thought they would be. After we went to look a two pit craters in the Scalesia forest that were bubbles of larva that had burst and caused the sides to collapse when they cooled. I could not see to the bottom of one of them. Lunchtime we took a panga ride to the hotel owned by Metropolitan Touring and had margaritas by the pool and a wonderful lunch. There was a huge pool there but I decided it was too hot to swim. After we went to the Charles Darwin Centre and had lectures and video of the work that is being carried out there. It is a breeding sanctuary for the tortoises, that are kept there for two years until they are old enough to look after themselves. They will be placed back on the islands once they are big enough. We did see lonesome George and his harem of two female tortoises and I managed to catch a picture of them cat fighting! After that we had some free time to go shopping. There was an amazing art gallery there that I would have liked to buys some of the hand woven baskets and wall hangings. I shall get the email address from one of the other guests and take a look at what they have on line. Back on board we had our lecture for tomorrows activities and had a nice supper and a reasonably early night.

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