Dec 14, 2018 - National Geographic Islander
Today we woke up anchored at Academy Bay, on the southern side of Santa Cruz Island where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located. After breakfast, we disembarked in the town of Puerto Ayora, the largest settlement of the Galapagos, and after a short bus ride, we visited the captive breeding program of giant tortoises and land iguanas. Here, we were able to compare the different shapes of shells that tortoises have to adapt to the different environments of the islands.
The Research Station offers the opportunity to learn about the many efforts to repopulate species that became locally extinct or are threatened because of human activity. It is the aim of the national park to restore these islands to how they were before human intervention. Galapagos has yet to lose a species and that makes it special in a planet affected by a massive extinction.
After the visit, we walked the town of Puerto Ayora and took a bus to the Highlands to visit a lava tunnel and a farm where we saw how sugar cane, moonshine, and coffee are made. Some of our guests chose to visit a school funded by Lindblad National Geographic instead. Later we had lunch in a nearby restaurant and visited tortoises in the wild. It is impressive to see them roaming the pasture as if they were bison in North America.
The day ended with music and dancing after dinner on board National Geographic Islander. Another great day in paradise ends.
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