After a rather bumpy sail during the night which had the boat pitching from side to side (I slept through it!) We woke up anchored in the port of Santa Cruz Island. Only 4 of the Galapagos Islands are inhabited and Santa Cruz is one of them. Over 10,000-the most populated. We visited the Charles Darwin Research Center and saw the large tortoises, the iguanas and turtle restoration programs.

We also saw Lonesome George, a huge giant tortoise. He was found all alone on an island–the only one of his species left after pirates found and killed the others for food. George has been at the Center for 26 years. Attempts have been on going to breed him and there is a female tortoise with him in his enclosure–when the moment arrives, she’ll be ready. A while ago, the Center had a woman from Switzerland (-l’m telling you, those swiss gals!!!) Who manually stimulated old George’s peter and collected his sperm (there wasn’t a lot of it) to study it. 

The naturalist told us that a tortoise quickie lasts about 2 hours, a fact I tweeted about which elicited a few funny comments (a woman who asked to be introduced to George). One comment worth noting said that as tortoises live to about 150 years, a 2 hour quickie is the equivalent of 20 seconds for one of us. (We’ve all been there at one time or another, right?)

We took a bus and drove up the mountain and saw the varying vegetation areas–the transition zone where there is a continual drizzle, like a fine mist rather then a rain. This is why it is so lushly vegetated. There is agriculture here as well including coconut, avocado, mango and banana trees–none native.

Some of us walked the 70 meters through a lava tunnel. It is slippery and you had to stoop over some of the time so I passed on that adventure. 

Everyone in the group seems to be having fun. We are a diverse crowd–from the point of view of race, age, socio-economic status but everyone’s having fun and getting along.

This afternoon we’re walking through pasture land to find the giant tortoises in the wild. Farmers 
and tortoises have learned to live together. I was surprised that there were people living on the mountain but the guide explained that the families had been there since the early 1900s and were grandfathered in but have to follow very strict rules about land use.

I’ll be ready for a nap when we get back to the boat.

Because people have asked for it, Michele (CEO of GCAPP) and I will give a short talk during cocktails about the organization. 

See you next time.

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  1. Sounds like you are doing well on your bad knee. The spirit can often over ride everything else!

  2. I read him when I was a youth, and other naturalists such as Conrad Lorenz, who loved geese and studied them. Geese are very loving — was just visiting a white one the other day in the park. Oh, you look so cute with the tortoise, a very philosophical photo…at last, true enlightenment! In Darwin’s day, they collected specimens to send back to England. Theory was a gradual process. Think how much easier it is to study and to learn today, and to visit exotic places so easily.

  3. Such great photos. Hope you are having the best time and that your knee is not too much of a pain. Thanks for sharing all of this with us.

  4. Gotta real knack for pictures.

  5. Hi Jane,
    It’s interesting how some of the terrain is so stark looking while other parts of the islands are so lush. Great slide show! I loved the yellow iguana and it’s interesting to see that there are pelicans there too.
    Thanks for taking us with you on this marvelous trip!

  6. Love the pictures.!!

  7. Thank you for the wonderful pictures with all the information! I feel like I’m right there!! Such fun seeing the animals! Hope your leg isn’t bothering you to much!

  8. I am very glad you enjoyed your trip around these Archipelago. The Galapagos Islands are the most incredible living museum of evolutionary changes, with a huge variety of exotic species (birds, land animals, plants) and landscapes not seen anywhere else.

  9. Jane,

    Absolutely beautiful photo logs. So grateful you freely share your life’s journey’s. Inspiring all to truly live life passionately.
    The giant tortoises are quite a site, and seem unaffected by you.
    Know the G-CAPP speech stirred hearts for the cause. Look forward to each new post.
    Stay Well, and Blessed

  10. I never thought about the two hours seeming like twenty minutes for a tortoise. I forgot that they live to be 150 (or so) years old.

    Still…the Swiss gal…manually collecting sperm from Lonesome George. I suppose that day he was no longer lonely!

    It looks as though everyone is having quite a grand time. I hope the rest of the trip is just as interesting!


  11. I wanna go!!!

  12. I’m lovin’ these blogs, Jane! LOVIN’ em!!!

  13. You are just too cool for school Jane!

  14. That’s hilarious about the “tortoise quickie”!

  15. i have to say you are the coolest 71 year old woman in the world!
    Lovin the pictures looks like a really beautifull place you are so lucky and that bit about the tortoises just made me laugh out loud.
    Enjoy the rest of the trip.

  16. Your pictures are wonderful. I spent a glorious summer in Ecuador many years ago. It is a magical country. If you have the opportunity, you should travel up into the Andes outside of Quito and visit some of the small villages. I spent the night at an awesome Chateau & Relais up there with 5 star dining, charming accomodations and eating breakfast outside as the clouds rose. It was total shangrila! The people are wonderful and the scenery is unbelievable.

  17. You will have a pang in your heart for the Galapagos Islands, I know I still do! Love your witty writing, thanks for sharing your sojourn!!

  18. This is so much fun! Even though I am in Africa, I go on your website and suddenly I am transported to wherever you are! Last week on Broadway in NYC and this week seeing lizards and seals and islands! Thank you for sharing your life with us. It is a great ride and you are a fabulous writer. Looking forward to what’s next – a trip into surgery for a knee replacement?! Enjoy……

  19. Love the pics…quite a change from Broadway, to say the least! George looks like a presence to be reckoned with! Thanks for sharing the adventure…

  20. Wow,it is great fun to visit this site which Darwin made it world famous.You spared time for such adventure is worth noting seeing your overbusy schedule for other activities with which you are involved.Wish you nice time ahead.

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