Day 13, Tuesday, April 26, 2016 San Cristobal Island land tours
Another early breakfast then back on the panga (rubber boats like Zodiacs used to get to/from the ship) to town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno on San Cristobal Island. We went by bus for approximately 45 min to Galapaguera de Cerro Colorado or Cerro Colorado Galapagos which is a Giant Tortoise Breeding Station and protected area for tortoises. This area is also part of the National Park. This is a large area and facility.
Saw baby Tortoise about 1 month up to 200 years old. Also saw 10 year olds. The 10 to 20 year old ones are only about 15 inches across, they stay separate from the mature ones. The older ones cannot be returned to the wild but the hatch-lings are kept until 5 years old and then released on the island. They try to simulate actual conditions with the hatch-lings so they can be released. Only 14 eggs are laid, versus 100’s for sea turtles. Mature ones can go a year without food or water. Eggs are not sex determined when laid. A higher temp incubation produces female eggs, colder males. According to our guide, the program manipulates the temperature based on what they want to put into the wild.
Tortoises come together to feed or mate, generally they are solitary
Stayed in town after the bus trip. Bought drinks and used WiFi at the restaurant as we didn’t have any WiFi on the boat. We went back to the boat for lunch. Baby sea lion came all the way up to 1st deck and was checking out the shoes, then decided to take a nap.
We sadly said goodbye to the 7 group members that had signed up for just 5 days. Most left before lunch and a few left after lunch. Today 8 more passengers arrived for the last 3 days of the cruise.
Went to a natural history museum for Galapagos after lunch. The architect for the building was our guide Andreas’ father. Covered the history both cultural and physical for the Galapagos Islands. Centro de Interpretacaion Ambiental Gianni Arismeni.
Then went to public beach in town. Went in the water to cool off, surprisingly cold water. Stayed about 1.5 hours there then walked back to town, about 10 minutes. Got picked up by the panga at the dock and went back to the boat to meet our new group members.
Another good day given it was a transition day for the ships crew. Next up Espanola Island with many animals to see.