Galapagos Cruise Report: Santa Cruz Island

From the National Geographic Islander in Galápagos August 31, 2010

The group accompanying us this week aboard National Geographic Islander, Caltech Alumni Association, was very enthusiastic about today’s exploration. We visited what could be considered one of the most successful restoration projects of an animal population in the world – the Galápagos giant tortoises. Professor Rob Phillips, our guest lecturer, had already sparked a great interest in genetics and adventure with his first presentation onboard.

Everyone went to see the giant reptiles in captivity, to learn about them, and in the wild in order to experience a moment of absorption with nature in their company. But the giant, gentle creatures are not the only ones to be seen in the highlands. A large number of Darwin finches of several species congregated in the area, stirring the air with their tiny flapping wings. There, we were also able to identify the uncommon large tree finch and cute warbler finch.

When the bus dropped us at “Los Gemelos,” we spotted an intensely red vermillion flycatcher. As we walked along the short path that covers almost one-third the circumference of one of the collapsed crater, we met with a dove perched on a wooden handrail – as lonely as could be – as if it were inviting us to rest our arms on that same rail to contemplate the paradox of life.

Enjoyed this Galapagos cruise report? View the detailed cruise itinerary…

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