Santa Cruz is the most populated island of the Galapagos and only a short boat ride away from Isabela. With a speed boat the trip was done in under one hour and the wake up call at 5:30 forgotten. Seeing the sunrise for the first time on this trip was also a special moment and worthwhile getting up early.
We met our guide right at the dock and just a little later we were on our way to the “Highlands” of Santa Cruz. I love the Scottish ones but the ones in Santa Cruz were completely different. So don’t expect anything similar. What you will see are twin sinkholes and lots of turtles.
The sinkholes called “Los Gemelos” are divided by a highway from each other. The holes itself are not really interesting. I did like the local wildlife there though. Lots of birds and flowers.
On the way to the turtle farm Rancho El Manazanillo turtles already blocked the way. They definitely have the right of way here.
We took a leisurely walk around the farm and saw turtles in their natural habitat. They basically come and go here as they like it. They also make some kind of hissing sound when they are not happy eg. you come too close. I never knew that turtles can make a sound.
Santa Cruz was also the final home of Lonesome George. George was the only survivor of Pinta Island and the last of his species. A scientist found him in 1971 and relocated him to the Charles Darwin Research Station. There he lived out the rest of his days until 2012. Even though the scientists tried to match him with a female, George wasn’t up for it and the eggs didn’t hatch. George is now on display at the station.
A lot more interesting than George were the turtles in all sizes. I especially like the male domination behavior. The longer this was going on the less happy the lower looked. If you want to see the whole lurid act including the lusty cries, please click here. With this slightly disturbing picture in mind we concluded our visit to the research station. Yours, Pollybert