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Published: December 4th 2018
Having already arrived in Santa Cruz, it was a very calm night on the boat, but some of us stayed up a bit too late so nearly everyone was quite tired. After the usual 07:00 breakfast we left for our dry-landing onto Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz which is on the opposite of the island from where we landed by plane on Monday. Today was our Giant Tortoise day, but our first stop after being bundled into a mini-bus, was to walk around a couple of old volcanic craters within Galapagos National Park where Fabian explained some details of the flora. As we drove up from the port Fabian told us to look out for tortoises as they make their way up from the lowlands to the highlands..
After the crater walk we were driven to a private park called Rancho El Chato and this area is on the main route for the tortoises to the highlands. Here we were able to really get up close and personal, although you have to stay at least 3 metres away from them. It is an amazing sight as you watch these majestic creatures slowly moving along. This area also has lava tubes and
we were able to walk through those as well. We spent about 90 minutes in this area. Back at the port we bid farewell to another 6 people, Thijs, Julius, Dennis, Elisa, Signe and Louise as they were on the shorter 4 day cruise, we had already farewelled Yael the night before because she had to leave the boat very early this morning.
It was then back on board for lunch and rest before returning to the port and walking to the Charles Darwin Scientific and Breeding Centre. We stayed here for nearly three hours as we walked through the exhibits and Fabian explained how they retrieve the tortoise eggs and incubate them. The babies are kept in the centre until they are old enough to be release into the wild. They have a 100% chance of survival at the centre because they are protected from predators which is the reason for the centre.
After that we had about an hour of free time to look a little more around the centre and do shopping. Back at the port at 18:30 and here we met a new lot of seven people, Christof and Nicole from Frankfurt Germany, Waleed
and Jaclyn from LA, David and Anna from Poland , but now living in Colorado and Skylar from Taupo, New Zealand, who we got to know better over another delicious dinner on board.
At the briefing, Fabian told us that the next navigation was a long one of 11-12 hours to Isabella Island, the biggest island in the Galapagos and that we would set off around 20:00, straight after dinner, so Daisy and I decided to get to bed early to avoid having to ride out another rough ride. Initially, the boat was moving a lot up and down but luckily we both managed to get to sleep quickly. It's strange but we both feel okay as soon as we lie down. Around 03:00 I woke up and was surprised that the boat was going very smoothly. I later found out that they actually put the sails up because of the good wind conditions, so only the first hour or two was rough.
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