La Gran Tortuga
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... walking around to learn about this incredible species. We saw tortoises that were close to our age and we saw some that were almost 5 times our age. Last but not least we bough some souvenirs before heading back.
Only a few minutes away from El Chato we stopped as there was the potential to see a Galapagos owl, unfortunately John's lucky spot as the secret hideout for owls wasn't so lucky today.
Another couple of 100m further we entered into a lava tunnel/cave. This ...
HAMMERHEADS! Finally! And about 10 of them over the two dives.
I took the advice of the two Americans I met on Santa Cruz and dove with Pierre from scuba dragon. He operates a one man band from his house/bungalows 10 minutes walk from town. He was not busy and was not planning on diving today but kindly took me out anyway. Normally he requires at least two divers to warrant a trip.
Weather was perfect, the swell was up a bit in the open ...
... a big wave. Apart from the odd one that knocked the wind out of ya, it was really good.
Then the fumes started to get to me. For some reason they collected here at the opposite end of the boat. I had to abandon my comfortable spot and trade it for standing area out back.
4 hours of this! I'm glad I got the boat with the 3 300hp engines and not the bigger boat with only 2 300hp engines.
On arrival we have to unload on the water to a ...
... from egg to birth in test tube bottles - they are in the egg for 4 months before hatching and digging their way out. The nests are without food or water so the hatchlings have to survive on the reserves before getting out about a month later. The staff were kept busy with new arrivals, 183 babies were born in May alone.
Donatello was then brought out for us, he was only a little, 5 month old baby. It was hard to imagine him growing ...
... eye could see except for the odd cactus which grew directly from the lava bed. The wildlife was limited too; apart from the odd lava lizard, we only saw a couple of Galápagos snakes.
In the middle of the lava, there was a small oasis where the lava had collapsed and tunnels ran out to sea. There was lush green vegetation surrounding the pool but just one solitary flamingo - it was hoped there was going to be a flock of them.
Walking further ...