From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos
Jul 5, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour
Santa Cruz Island
Santa Cruz Island is the second largest of the Galápagos. It is home to the Galápagos National Park Service and the Charles Darwin foundation. These institutions are charged with protecting the environment. Scientific research is carried out in fields like geology, marine biology, herpetology, etc. in order to better understand the value of each species of plants and animals.
In the morning we paid a visit to the Darwin Research Station. Here we found our first giant tortoises. They come from different islands and all of them are under a captive breeding program that started in the late sixties. The breeding program has been successful. Over the years entire tortoise populations have been restored.
At this time of the year the forest is lush and the grass is green. These conditions are right for giant tortoises; this means lots of food and opportunities for breeding. Here at the tortoise reserve we explored the forest and a lava tube.
Lava tubes are common on the islands and they are the signs of the violent volcanic past of the archipelago. These formations are the remnants of large rivers of fiery lava.
Later on as we explored forest and grassland we found several giant tortoises grazing. The season is changing and the highlands are turning cool with a layer of mist locally known as Garúa. The Garúa is actually a misty rain that will keep the vegetation in top condition to benefit the iconic giant tortoises.
What a great day on Santa Cruz!