We started our Galapagos adventure with a visit to the Charles Darwin Research Center. More than 200 scientists and volunteers are researching there about how to best preserve this fragile ecosystem. You learn a lot about how the islands were formed by volcanos and how they were inhabited by animals from the main land. And also, on how those animals adapted to the conditions on those volcanic islands. Further on we also learned about invasive species, how they harm the ecosystem and how the people from the research center try to get rid of them.
The other big thing at the research center are the Galapagos Giant Tortoises. They truly are giants and some of them more than 100 years old. But as their number had been dramatically reduced to 3’000 before the observation started, the researchers started to collect their eggs, and nurture them at the station until they are about 4 years old and 1.5kg heavy to release them back into their habitat.
The afternoon we spent at Tortuga Bay. It’s a 2.5km walk through a cactus forest until we reached this perfect white sandy beach with stunningly turquoise water. And when walking in the soft sand we soon spotted loads of Marine Iguanas. They are fascinating dragon like creatures who learned to dive and feed from algae when they arrived on the island. We passed some big groups of them until we reached Playa Mansa. It’s a bay protected from the waves and therefore perfect for swimming and relaxing. There are Marine Iguanas and pelicans passing by and as soon as you open a bag of cookies a bunch of Darwin Finches are all over you.