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SOUTH AMERICA 12/09

Buenos Aires | Iguaza |  Mendosa | To Bariloche | Bariloche Day 1 | Bariloche Day 2 | To Ushuaia | Ushuaia
Voyage on the Beagle Day 1 | Voyage on the Beagle Day 2 | Santiago de Chile Day 1 | Santiago de Chile Day 2
Santiago to Quito | Galapagos Day 1 | Galapagos Day 2 | Galapagos Day 3
Return to Quito Day 1 | Return to Quito Day 2
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16 December 2009      Galapagos: Day 1

The Galapagos Islands are small (and we're on the next largest one), with about 24,000 permanent residents and about 180,000 tourists visiting each year. Everything has to be brought in by boat. Because of that and because we are in a National Park, things are basic even though we are staying in what is considered the best hotel. The number of tourists has increased tenfold over the past few years and at the same time the number of people, and of course, the land mass, has remained much the same. Now is the off-season, rainy in the place we are staying, with patches of clearing as we travel around the island.

We visited the Darwin Center today. It is a private non-profit that works with the Ecuadorian Park Service on conservation issues. At present its focus is repopulating the land tortoise and replanting native plants. One of their strategies to do this is to wipe out the species that were introduced by man and therefore not native. They feel that this is a good idea and very possible in an island environment. The thesis is that things were better when man was not present and so they are trying to turn back the clock. I guess their ultimate goal is to close their Research Center and close the Park.

There are land tortoises wild on the island. Carol saw some on the way to the Center. The pictures we have are of the tortoises in a zoo-like setting. The tortoises are raised in captivity and then returned to the wild. So far, they claim a great success. In truth, the Darwin Center looks like a little zoo.

We were dropped off in the town to shop before returning to the hotel. We bought a weaving. The most fun though was observing a local dock where fishermen sell their catch directly from the boat. The seals and birds all gather around for a handout. Colorful and fun. Frigate birds are everywhere, stealing whatever meal they can including from the sea lions.

At supper (we were the only people in the hotel dining room tonight) we ordered fresh tuna(me) and lobster (Carol), both of which were purchased from the dock that morning. We did not like the preparations the chef suggested on the menu so we sent back to the kitchen suggestions for how we would like the dishes prepared. The chef put out two superb dishes!

PREV  |  NEXT
     
Buenos Aires | Iguaza |  Mendosa | To Bariloche | Bariloche Day 1 | Bariloche Day 2 | To Ushuaia | Ushuaia
Voyage on the Beagle Day 1 | Voyage on the Beagle Day 2 | Santiago de Chile Day 1 | Santiago de Chile Day 2
Santiago to Quito | Galapagos Day 1 | Galapagos Day 2 | Galapagos Day 3
Return to Quito Day 1 | Return to Quito Day 2


HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC