I’m writing this from our lovely hostel while a group of us is preparing dinner for tonight. We’ve had a long day, starting at the Charles Darwin research center where we were able to see the famous Diego along with some other adorable young tortoises (would anyone notice if we adopted one?). The tortoises are crazy dinosaur like creatures that are more than 180 million years old — it can feel like prehistoric times to see them wandering around! Today we saw how different tortoise populations from the various islands have evolved, including the large ones from Santa Cruz and the saddle back turtles from Isabella. In the afternoon we walked over to the station beach and saw an array of sea creatures including sharks, rays, eels, puffer fish and more!
All of this is after a few days of exploring Santa Cruz where we’ve been surprised by so many unique plants and animals. When visiting the threatened endemic scalesia forest yesterday we were accompanied by some short eared owls (in the daytime!) and in town have seen iguanas, pellicans, frigates and of course sea lions. Yesterday we even spotted the rare paint billed crate bird! The most amazing thing is how the animals hardly take notice of us, and don’t scare at all by our presence.
Tomorrow we’re headed off to Bartolomé, fingers crossed we see some blue footed boobies and maybe even a penguin!