Day 10 – Santa Cruz Island

We woke up today at the harbor at Puerto Ayora, on the southern shore of Santa Cruz Island. We had a dry landing near town and visited a tortoise breeding facility. While walking to the dock to meet our dingy, we visited a fish market – frequented by pelicans, sea lions and, occasionally, humans. In the afternoon, we visited a lava tube and a tortoise preserve.

The harbor at Puerto Ayora
A pelican perched at the bow of our boat, the Archipel II.
A pelican perched at the bow of our boat, the Archipel II.
Our first stop of the day was the Darwin Research Station
At the Darwin Research Center
More about finches
A plaque about finches
A finch on a cactus.
Tortoise
Tortoises
The boardwalk at the Darwin Research Station
Manzanillo -  also known as
A tourist shop on the road to Puerto Ayora
A colorful cemetary on the way into Puerto Ayora.
More shops in Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A smooth-billed ani  - not a native species, it was imported.
Inside of a lava tunnel
A map showing the extent of the lava tunnel
Boots arranged by size
Tortoises
A look at a nearby forest
Tortoise shells
Tortoise bones
Tortoise bones
Giovanni and Peter provide scale for this Tortoise shell
The inside of a tortoise shell - facinating.
Another tortoise shell
Evening view of the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A Lava Heron by the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A Lava Heron by the harbor at Puerto Ayora
A pelican by the harbor at Puerto Ayora

The harbor at Puerto Ayora

As seen from our boat.

A pelican perched at the bow of our boat, the Archipel II.

At harbor at Puerto Ayora

A pelican perched at the bow of our boat, the Archipel II.

At harbor at Puerto Ayora

Our first stop of the day was the Darwin Research Station

At the Darwin Research Center

More about finches

See also wiki page: Darwin's finches ( link)

A plaque about finches

A finch on a cactus.

Might just be a Galápagos Cactus Finch. I am not sure... Near Puerto Ayora.

Tortoise

At the Darwin Research Station

Tortoises

At the Darwin_Research Station

The boardwalk at the Darwin Research Station

Manzanillo - also known as "little apple of death"

"The name "manchineel" (sometimes written "manchioneel") as well as the specific epithet mancinella is from Spanish manzanilla ("little apple"), from the superficial resemblance of its fruit and leaves to those of an apple tree. A present-day Spanish name is in fact manzanilla de la muerte, "little apple of death". " This tree is "one of the most poisonous trees in the world." "The manchineel tree can be found near to (and on) coastal beaches. It provides excellent natural windbreaks and its roots stabilize the sand, thus helping to prevent beach erosion." "The tree and its parts contain strong toxins, some unidentified. Its milky white sap contains phorbol and other skin irritants, producing strong allergic dermatitis. Standing beneath the tree during rain will cause blistering of the skin from mere contact with this liquid (even a small drop of rain with the milky substance in it will cause the skin to blister). Burning the tree may cause blindness if the smoke reaches the eyes."

Quotes from Wikipedia. (link)

This looks like a curse worse than poison oak.

A tourist shop on the road to Puerto Ayora

A colorful cemetary on the way into Puerto Ayora.

More shops in Puerto Ayora

We walked though town looking for an internet cafe. We wanted to check our email as we had not had internet access for a few days.

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

...yes, that is a pelican.

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora

As you can tell, we really enjoyed this place.

A smooth-billed ani - not a native species, it was imported.

A smooth-billed ani (Crotophaga ani) "are so called because they tend to rid grazing animals of parasites. They may have been introduced by humans [to the galapagos. native to the mainland] for this purpose, as an imported livestock management custom." "Smooth-billed anis were recorded for the first time in the Galapagos in the 1960s."
Quoted from "Conservation and restoration of island ecosystems CONTROL AND ERADICATION OF INTRODUCED ANIMALS" (link).
See also: Galapagos Conservancy (link).

Inside of a lava tunnel

A map showing the extent of the lava tunnel

Boots arranged by size

We are at a private tortoise preserve. This place provided us with Wellies for tromping around on the marshy soil.

Tortoises

A look at a nearby forest

Tortoise shells

This preserve had some tortoise bones and shells available for people to examine.

Tortoise bones

Tortoise bones

Giovanni and Peter provide scale for this Tortoise shell

The inside of a tortoise shell - facinating.

Another tortoise shell

Evening view of the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A Lava Heron by the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A Lava Heron by the harbor at Puerto Ayora

A pelican by the harbor at Puerto Ayora

The harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A pelican perched at the bow of our boat, the Archipel II. thumbnail
A pelican perched at the bow of our boat, the Archipel II. thumbnail
Our first stop of the day was the Darwin Research Station thumbnail
At the Darwin Research Center thumbnail
More about finches thumbnail
A plaque about finches thumbnail
A finch on a cactus. thumbnail
Tortoise thumbnail
Tortoises thumbnail
The boardwalk at the Darwin Research Station thumbnail
Manzanillo -  also known as
A tourist shop on the road to Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A colorful cemetary on the way into Puerto Ayora. thumbnail
More shops in Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A fish market on the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A smooth-billed ani  - not a native species, it was imported. thumbnail
Inside of a lava tunnel thumbnail
A map showing the extent of the lava tunnel thumbnail
Boots arranged by size thumbnail
Tortoises thumbnail
A look at a nearby forest thumbnail
Tortoise shells thumbnail
Tortoise bones thumbnail
Tortoise bones thumbnail
Giovanni and Peter provide scale for this Tortoise shell thumbnail
The inside of a tortoise shell - facinating. thumbnail
Another tortoise shell thumbnail
Evening view of the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A Lava Heron by the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A Lava Heron by the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail
A pelican by the harbor at Puerto Ayora thumbnail