18th June 2013 - spent the night in port so slept well combined with been so tired after such a busy day out and about yesterday. Breakfast at 7am and then at 8am we took the dingy onto the island of Santa Cruz and visited the Charles Darwin research station. Here they have serval breeding programs for the land tortoises. This was also the home of lonesome George before he died in 2012. They breed and raise hundreds of animals a year with the aim of releasing them into the wild once they have reached maturity after 6 to 10 years. They also have land iguanas and bug breeding and research programs.
Them we had some free time in the town of peurto aryuo. Looked around the shops and made use of the wifi.
Back on board for lunch and rest before heading back onto the island where we were meet by a bus and headed to the centre of the island. Stopped along the way to look at the organic coffee that is grown on the island. The trees have a green pod that ripens to red, inside the beans are white. We then drove a little further to see the land tortoises in there more natural environment. They had a small collection of bones showing the difference between old bones and with no collagen and scaring and younger bones with no wear. They also large shells that we were able to crawl into and look at how smooth they are on the surface compared to the younger ones which are bumpy and lots of ridges, but these smooth out as the shell grows. We then saw a smaller female walking around and eating the grass. The ones on this island have a concave shell because they eat grass on the ground. There was a large male taking a break in a swamp pool. Another male also walking around feeding on fruit that have fallen to the ground.
Also drove to look at a lave tube. This is a natural tunnel formation when the lava on the top of the flow cools quickly but the middle keeps following resulting in a hallow tube formed. It was really long and much higher than I expected, was over 3 meters tall.
Then back into the town where we had some more free time before back on board for dinner and then sailing through the night.