The Galapagos Islands Monday 1 October 2012 Isla Santa Cruz: Tortoise Reserve AM Crater Gemelos Highlands PM

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It turns out this day was entirely on Santa Cruz. It was a 6am start for breakfast, then early to the tortoise breeding centre. We saw dozens of tortoises ranging from weeks old to over 100 years old. We saw Lonesome George’s enclosure, who died earlier this year. He was the last surviving tortoise from Pinta Island.

After we said our goodbyes to those who were leaving for the airport, we walked into the town. There we spied a very tempting group of lobsters at the open fish market and it wasn’t long before we were scheming to buy ourselves some for lunch. Mel, Jo, Damien and I each bought a whole lobster. They were $20 each but the very generous fisherman sold them to us for $15 as we purchased four. There were big smiles all round!

We spent the next couple of hours souvenir shopping, buying some Chilean chardonnay to go with our lunch. Damien and I enjoyed a couple of Coronas as we tuned back into the world again at the internet café. It did feel slightly weird being back in “civilisation” after days at sea with just us and the creatures of the Galapagos. I really did feel like my little Galapagos bubble had been burst when we awoke to the sights and sounds of human beings that morning. Anyway, it was fortuitous that we spent some time interneting, as Damien read a story about and Aussie and an Pommie who had been kidnapped by paramilitaries in the nature reserve in a part of the Eucadorian Amazon (Cuyabeno) that we were planning on going to. This coupled with the fact that the girl at the South American Explorers Club told us of a similar kidnapping in the area 5 years earlier made us decide that it may be safer to go to the Amazon in Peru instead.

Back on board we enjoyed a couple more beers in the glorious sunshine out on the front deck of the boat. Mel and Jo joined us and it is fair to say we were all feeling quite merry at the prospect of our lobster lunch! We were all stoked to spy the magnificent frigate birds on a nearby boat, their red necks puffed out and on display. I now know that these are the same species of bird that I saw flying above the boat on our first day in the Galapagos.

We enjoyed our sumptuous feed of garlic lobster and I dare say there were a few envious eyes (and stomachs) on the boat! After lunch we went back on land to get more supplies but didn’t make it back in time before the next activity. Thus we were whisked away to walk amongst giant wild tortoises about 45 minutes inland.

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