Monday, February 9, 2015

Tortoise Nirvana

This is why I came to the Galapagos. Giant Tortoise spotting. There’s a family picture somewhere of me at the London Zoo riding a giant Galapagos Tortoise when I was a wee kid. These guys are pretty stately. At 80 or 100 years old, they still move like teenagers – teenage land tortoises. They estimate that before the European ships started to arrive on San Cristobol, the island was home to 100,000 tortoises. Each inhabited island now has a ‘Galapagueria’, such as this one, dedicated to breeding and re-introduction of the tortoises.
cristobolIMG_6856 Check the size of these compared to my large stature. I’m wearing my Del Mar Race Track t-shirt to impress the folks at the Tortoise Races. 
cristobolIMG_6832  This guy is running off at the race start.
Enjoying the limelight in the winners circle.
In a very strange Darwinian twist, the Galapagos Tortoises are born with an early form of yellow bar-code on their shells.
OK, it is hard to see and bit voyeuristic, but here’s two Giant Galapagos Tortoises making baby tortoises. Its a lot of work with a lot of grunting and hissing involved.
We hiked to the top of Mount Junco in the mist. You can see the shoreline in the haze. Junco is an extinct volcano with a large lake in the caldera. All the Galapagos islands are remnants of extinct, and some not quite extinct, volcanoes.
The caldera lake is the only freshwater source that is continuous year-round on the island.
Frigate birds fly up here after a tough day of stealing fish from other birds down by the sea to wash themselves in the fresh water.
The shore view from up high after the mist clears off.

No comments:

Post a Comment