On the fifth day, we woke up anchored off Puerto Ayora and were summoned to breakfast with the ringing of a bell. In just a few short days we have been trained like Pavlov’s dogs to respond to the bell for every meal and activity. We get hungry as soon as we hear it.
Then, it was off to the Darwin Center and to see some turtles. It’s worth mentioning that the town here has a population of about 10,000 – mostly created to support tourism. A big town is not what I imagine when I think of the Galapagos – this island even has a long asphalt highway crossing it. As a result, the animals and humans have to compete for space.
Still, there are protected areas here, like the Darwin Center. Home to Lonesome George: the last of his species. They have tried to mate him with other species, but so far no luck. It was a bit of a sad moment explaining to Bode that once George died, there would be no other animals like him on Earth.
Later, we made a trip to another preserve for giant tortoises where Bode introduced himself to a Swedish girl with the following line – “Did you know that giant tortoises have two penises?” Talk about an ice-breaker. It worked.
That little bit of trivia was supplied by our guide, but I don’t think it’s actually true. Still, it’s an attention getter.
From here, some of our ship-mates headed back to the mainland and we returned to the boat to meet some of the new gang and crew. Then, point the boat north to Isla Santiago.