Our final full day in the Galapagos was spent on Santa Cruz Island with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) which is a biological research station operated by the Charles Darwin Foundation in the morning. It is located on the shore of Academy Bay in the village of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. During our visit we were able to see Lonesome George’s pen with his two widow tortoises, the new “stud on the block” Diego. We also visited “The Twins” which are two big holes formed by the collapse of a magma chamber. Santa Cruz also contains a gigantic lava tunnel that is over 2000 meters long on the island and was fun for some of our group to walk through. We then visited a land tortoise sanctuary where tourists and photographers frequently get lost. Thankfully, we did not. We finished our tour of the island with a walking and shopping tour (Anna was VERY satisfied with the gift and particularly the jewelry shopping) in Puerto Ayora, the most populated urban centre in the islands. Afterwards, most of us; except for Richard and his family who had dinner in town, returned by panga to the yacht for our final dinner (start the violins). Afterwards, we had to pack as we would be leaving the next day from San Cristobal to the mainland and Quito.
Special moments: learning about the land tortoise preservation strategies; hiking (with a little bit of crawling) through the lava tunnel; photographing the giant land tortoises at the highland sanctuary; relaxing and shopping in Puerto Ayora; and, our final first class meal with our group members on board the Flamingo I. A nice way to end our tour!