Tortoises

It turns out we have way too many favorite photos from the Galapagos so far, so my next several posts will be a bit unconventional. Instead of telling you what we’ve done day by day, I am going to post some pics animal by animal. I’ll start with a general overview of our cruise in this post, and then I’ll follow that up with tortoise pictures. I’ll later have an outrageous amount of pictures of sea lions, penguins, Sally light-foot crabs, marine iguanas, birds, etc. I’ll do my best to upload as many pics as possible in the next few days, so keep on coming back. The Galapagos is like a zoo, but without all the bars. It’s amazing how close you can get to the animals, especially since they are not afraid.

So, our 4-day cruise began on Thanksgiving. We set out from Puerto Ayora with 14 other passengers, plus 6 crew members and a guide. On our first day we headed southeast toward an island called Sante Fe. We snorkeled (in freezing cold water), then went on a brief hike ashore. This was our first chance to see sea lions and land iguanas.

The boat on the left is the “Yate Amigo,” our sturdy vessel.

The next day we visited an island called Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) and Puerto Egas on the island of Santiago. We snorkeled, hiked, and saw loads more animals.

This is a 90-passenger boat we didn’t take, thank God. Do you know how long it took to unload this beast??

This is another boat that we almost took. It looks like a badass pirate ship, but supposedly the accomodations are very cramped.

Our third day brought us to Sullivan Bay (on the other side of Santiago) and Bartolome island. More snorkeling, hiking, and animals.

Sullivan Bay was the site of a fantastic lava flow. The landscape was quite dramatic and interesting.

I was trying to flow like the lava…

While most of the lava landscape was black, some of the gases left rainbow colors as they cooled.

In one direction, we could only see the lava landscape; in the other, we could see a gorgeous beach. That’s the Galapagos for you.

This brilliantly colored, solar powered light was perched atop the mountian on Bartolome.

And this stunning picture was taken with that same light at our backs.

We finished up our fourth day after visitng Playa Bachas on the northern side of Santa Cruz. This was where we saw flamingoes.

Obviously we followed a stricter schedule than we’re used to, but we had a great time. We got up early everyday (before 7:00!), and enjoyed three square meals at set times. Our cabin was tiny but nice, especially since we got one of the upstairs rooms that opens up to the deck. Big windows and less engine noise were a plus. Our fellow passengers were mostly Germans (who all spoke English), but there was one English couple our age and one older (70s?) Canadian/English couple. Most of the time we talked to Lisa and Mikey (the English couple) who were on a six-month honeymoon, or Monica and Chris (a German couple about our age) with whom we ate all of our meals. It was fun to spend a bit of time amongst other tourists. Our guide, Miguel, was a bit odd and perhaps not the most knowledgable, but he spoke English and offered some relevant tidbits of information. The crew was nice, but seldom around.

Well, that sums up our cruise. I’ll be offering more snipets of info as I add more pictures from the trip. For now, I’ll just add some pictures of tortoises, which we actually saw before we went on the cruise…

These baby tortoises are part of the breeding program at the Charles Darwin Research Station. Aww…

This tortoise was one of the older ones hanging around the CDRS. One of the islands contained a sub-species of tortoise that was only found there. When scientists discovered that only 14 of that species were left, all of them were moved to the CDRS. Now they’re busy making babies.

Speaking of making babies…

Here’s a nice profile shot of one of the tortoises at the reserve in the highlands of Santa Cruz.

How rude of Mike to take a picture of this tortoise with his mouth full!

Num, num, give me some!

Mike is posing with one of the turtles on the reserve.

Although “Mike the Turtle” doesn’t have such a nice ring to it, he sure looks great in a shell.

The shells are so heavy and awkward, I could barely lift mine. By the way, these are actual tortoise shells. They’re no longer colored because when the tortoises are alive these boney shells are actually covered with thin tile-like plates.

Well, that’s it for now. Next time I’ll feature sea lions or marine iguanas or something…

Comments
3 Responses to “Tortoises”
  1. Karen Brady says:

    Wow, what an adventure! Your stunning picture really is stunning! The tortoise really is quite an odd creature, isn’t it?!? I’ve never really thought about it, but their ‘bodies’ really are about the size of a human, aren’t they? That shell Mike is in looks so big (and Jackie’s, too). Glad you are having such a good time and have treated yourselves with a cruise for the holidays!Can’t wait for the next animal lesson!Love, Ma

  2. Anonymous says:

    I thought Mr. T (Kitty’s tortoise was big–but, the pictures you took are a loooong way bigger–babies, too. Great pictures! You keep us well entertained! Love ya–keep healthy and safe! Gma

  3. Kristen says:

    You make a nice tortoise couple 🙂 I also enjoyed the picture where you are trying to “flow” with the lava – very entertaining. glad you’re having so much fun! love yaKristen

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