Today we spent exploring the lush highlands of Santa Cruz Island and the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest human settlement in Galápagos with a population of about 18,000 people. Our time in the town included a behind-the-scenes tour of the Charles Darwin Center and a visit to Tomas de Berlanga, a bilingual, open-air school supported by the Lindblad Expeditions-National Geographic fund. Our summertime expeditions often sail with large families, and this one was no exception. Our young explorers aboard had the opportunity to see a school that kids their own age attend. Some families brought along books to add to the school’s library, and the schoolchildren in Galápagos showed us their new piano, which until recently had been in the lounge aboard our ship National Geographic Endeavour.
At the Charles Darwin Center we had the honor of meeting the islands’ most famous tortoise, Super Diego. The “Diego” portion of his name comes from San Diego, where he spent several years of his life living in the city’s zoo. He was repatriated to the islands when it was discovered that he was among one of the last tortoises of his kind. Since then he’s sired over 800 offspring, which is where the “Super” part of his name comes in.