February 1, 2019

Darwin Research Center

We started our day today with a visit to the Darwin Research Center. One of the main projects at this center is the preservation of the many different species of tortoises on the islands. Many of which were hunted to near extinction by whalers or pushed out of their habitat by goats, dogs and cats. The tortoise in the image below is a saddle back! A close genetic relative of “Lonesome George” that last true Saddleback that died a few years back. You can see that they have very long necks which is an adaptation for eating the cacti on the desert islands of the Galapagos.

And of course we saw many of the Galapagos Tortoise both at the Darwin center and later on in the wild.

Another highlight of the day was our chance to participate in Celebrity Cruise Lines reforestation project. Many of the native Escalesa trees were choked out by the blackberries that were imported by the settlers on the islands. With a lot of work the blackberries have been culled, but now Celebrity is working to replant many many acres of forrest with native Escalesa trees. To date Celebrity and their guests have planted nearly 40,000 trees, and I’m happy that we got to participate.

As an added bonus we all got to wear the super stylish rubber boots!