This was the final morning of our Galapagos Cruise on the MV Daphne.
We had an early start with breakfast at 5.00 am and then we and our bags went ashore in zodiacs at Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. This is the biggest town in the Galapagos with a population of about 12,000 people.
From the town, we were taken by bus across the centre of the island to the Ferry Terminal at the north of the island. On the way, we stopped at a cattle farm in the highlands to see giant tortoises in the wild.
This farm borders the National Park and the NPS have done a deal with the farmers. If the farmers don’t put up fences, the tortoises will roam onto their land and the farmers can make some additional income from tourism.
As we drove along the road to the farm, from the highway, we could see an occasional tortoise in a paddock – a bit like seeing a slow moving rock in a sheep paddock. At the farm where we stopped, there were many of them. Most were lazing in shallow wallows. It wasn’t very warm and they were not moving at all. Tortoises are reptiles and cold blooded so they need warmth for energy. We were fitted out with gum boots (mine were a bright yellow) and then we went for a walk around the area to see the tortoises.
Afterwards, we were back on board the bus for the last part of the trip where we clambered aboard a small ferry bot to travel over to Baltra Island. We then waited a few minutes for a bus to the airport and then onto our two-hour flight back to Quito.
I am leaving Quito today, stopping over in Lima for a night and then returning home from Santiago after a spending a day there.