Day 1: Tortuga Bay & CDRS

Land Iguana

Tortuga Bay is located to the southwest of Puerto Ayora, on Santa Cruz Island. Its name means “turtle”, and the island received this moniker because it is sea turtles favorite place to lay their eggs. Also, The headquarters of the Galapagos National Park Service and The Charles Darwin Research Station are located side by side on the outskirts of Puerto Ayora.Continuing from Day 1, by 2:15 PM all of us completed our lunch and were ready take a 5 mile trek along south eastern coast of Santa-Cruz island. Weather was perfect, with 75°F and clear sky. We reached Santa-Cruz at about 11:00 AM. I described our experience here.

Santa Cruz landscape was amazing, No beaches, No sand, Just rocks, Solidified Lava against which ocean is relentlessly crashing. Some stone gorges have formed with bay waters, that support various life forms.

Seals, many different species of birds, huge pelicans, crabs, iguanas, land and marine turtles, seagulls, boobies, frigates were freely roaming everywhere including the places occupied by human beings. Just amazing co-existence!

We started with visiting Charles Darwin’s Research Station, and followed up with trek along Tortuga Bay.

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Land was only raw cooled lava rocks, with vegetation that was only endemic to Galapagos.

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Inside CDRS there was a huge memorial for a tortoise, which passed away recently. Also there were sanctuaries for Tortoise, birds, and various faunas.

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Here in this island most of the tortoise babies are protected and then released to the wild.

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There were iguanas, birds, crabs, and marine life of many kinds. Pictures follow…

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ALL the pictures were taken with Samsung Android 7 or 8. So the proximity to the animals was critical for the clarity of the picture. We were SOooo… Close! It was unbelievable.

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As we walked through our trek, there were wild iguana’s everywhere…

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… but over all landscape during most of our trek was like below, just rugged solidified LAVA rocks.

Along the path we found SALT deposits from ocean water evaporation. Local residents were scraping the slat of the ground, bagging them (40lb) each and shipping to other paces. This is how they made their living. Some were using tools and some bare hands.

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My sister Anna, and I tried our hands too! Salt was rock solid at places and slushy at others. Amazing experience!

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Overall the land and walk were a bit demanding and treacherous.

Finally We reached the Gorge! The promised land that locals said we’ll find.

Of course my wife asks me, if I want to jump in?

I said YES! (DUH! What was I thinking?)

Return from the TREK…

On the way back, we took a slightly different route, along some more commercially developed entities and were surprised to see many SEALS sleeping all over the benches. They were oblivious of people walking around, No one bothered them and they were OK with it. So Go ahead take pictures.

Though local regulations and people will advise you to stay 3 meters away from Seals and not use FLASH during pictures.

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This was amazing for me, as I had never seen a seal before, other than in pictures or in zoos.

Winding up Day 1

Finished the day, with very relaxing drink&dinner at a local roadside restaurant and walking though the streets.

Taking some pictures along the stroll. My sister hugging the Giant Tortoise Statue.

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Next day we started what they call “Island Hopping”. It is essentially a day trip to a near by island which takes any where from 1 hour to 3 hours. We did NOT venture for islands that were more than 4 hours away. We returned back to the OUR main island, Santa-Cruz every evening.

Of course, prior to calling it a night, there was so much to talk about. Here they are all texting each other 😉

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More picture and adventures on island hopping in my next post.

Till then so long. Enjoy!

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