Galapagos Adventure, June 2001


Galapagos Itinerary

Sunday, June 3
AM: Visited Charles Darwin Research Center to see "Lonesome George" and other giant tortoises where they’re being bred.
PM: Took "panga" ride to see birds along harbor at Puerto Ayora.
Boarded Parranda in the evening, headed to first stop. Met Richard Polatty, our naturalist for the rest of the trip.


   On Sunday AM we hiked over to the Charles Darwin Research Station for a tour. The Charles Darwin Foundation, Inc. is a non- profit membership organization dedicated to promoting conservation, education, and scientific research in and on behalf of the Galapagos Islands. Part of their work centers on breeding giant tortoises.
   The Darwin Institute's most famous resident is Lonesome George, the last remaining Pinta giant tortoise. All of George's relatives were killed off by human visitors who used them for food. Sailors especially liked them, since they could last for months without food or water. So they captured the tortoises and threw them on the ship, butchering them whenever they wanted fresh meat.
   One type of tortoise ate leaves from the trees and cactus. It grew, by natural selection, to have a long neck and the uplifted shell you see here. The shell prompted its name: the saddleback tortoise.
   At the Darwin Center, you can mingle with some of the tortoises. Here's Karen and one of the smaller of the giant tortoises.
   One of the goals of the Darwin Center is to breed tortoises to increase the papulation. They are not shy!
   After lunch, we took a panga ride around Puerto Aroya harbor. It was beautiful, and the shores were covered with Pelicans, Herons, Boobies and other birds.
   Here are two young herons at their nest.
After our panga ride, we packed up and headed for the dock and another panga ride out to the Parranda for our cruise of the Islands.

Monday, June 4

Return to home (home page, that is!)