Christopher Newport Ecuador + Galápagos

Santa Cruz

Friday, May 28, 2021

Today we started our day bright and early at 6 AM. We took a two hour long boat ride to the island of Santa Cruz. A bus took us to the entrance of the Tortuga Bay trail. After a 45 minute walk down a lava lizard lined trail, we arrived at a beautiful sandy beach. We saw baby black tipped reef sharks, a sting ray, marine iguanas, and blue dragon nudibranchs!
A boat picked us up and, after a very bumpy ride, dropped us off near our lunch reservation. Next, we visited the Charles Darwin Center where we saw another tortoise breeding operation. One tortoise named George was the last of his species and they could not successfully breed him so once he died the species went extinct. He is still being preserved at the Darwin Center and his shell is more round than the typical dome shape. We learned about how scientists found 12 female and 2 male Galapagos tortoises on Espanola island. They did not want to breed until the US gave them their tortoise named Diego. Once Diego arrived, he began to breed and all the other males learned from his behavior. They were able to hatch 2,000 new babies and 50% of those came from Diego so he is now known as super Diego. The 3 males and 12 females were released back on their island after successful breeding.
We spent some time in town shopping (as there are more options than on San Cristobal) then headed back to San Cristobal. On this boat ride, some of us saw a Waved Albatross and were very excited about it! At least 3 people were completely soaked by the end off this boat ride! By the time dinner got to the hotel we had already lost multiple people to bed... and the rest of us will be heading there shortly.

Sabrina and Katarina

You can check out more trip photos here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/8eDMdvX8mXmMNTzx5