Feb 27, 2019 - National Geographic Islander
For those who rose early today, the sunrise was fabulous; a pink and orange glow among gray and white billowing cumulus clouds. We were anchored off the town of Puerto Ayora before dawn, and following a bountiful breakfast we boarded our fleet of Zodiacs and motored to shore. We visited the Charles Darwin Research Station and saw the captive tortoises that are part of a very successful breeding program. Hundreds of tortoises have been hatched and then repatriated to islands where their numbers were dangerously low.
After a walk-through town to shop and take photographs, we climbed on buses and drove up into the lush green highlands. Here we descended into an immense lava tunnel, sampled coffee, brown sugar, and cane alcohol at a small family farm and then had a delicious lunch at Rancho Manzanillo. In the pastures surrounding the restaurant tortoise were feeding, resting, and mating. We walked among them and took many photos. Later back on the ship we were treated to a lovely music and dance show by the local group, EcoArte. Today we saw a different side of the Galapagos, and we had a marvelous time!
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