Aug 10, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
Today we woke up at Academy Bay on Santa Cruz Island. After breakfast, we visited the town of Puerto Ayora where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located. This facility is famous for its giant tortoise captive breeding program and land iguanas. Here, we can see the different shapes of shells tortoises end up with after adapting to different environments. Dry islands produce a saddle shaped shell with yellow skin, while wet islands produce a dome shaped shell with dark skin. After the visit, we walked the town and later took a bus to the highlands where we visited a lava tunnel as well as a coffee and sugarcane plantation.
We had lunch at a farm next to the giant tortoise reserve where we saw plenty of tortoises roaming the fields as if they were bison in North America. Tortoises fill the role of the giant herbivore in this ecosystem. When we came back, we had the option of visiting the town of Puerto Ayora or going back to National Geographic Islander where a native band would give us a concert after dinner. What a great day!
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