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Today would be a “non-water day” so unfortunately no snorkelling. We are to go onto shore in the morning and staying there all day. This is so that we have time to explore the highlands, another important aspect of the Galapagos. First stop was the Charles Darwin Research Centre. No research actually happens here (its all done in the field) but it is home to ‘Lonesome George’ the last remaining tortoise of its kind. To make his existence not so ‘lonely’ he lives with two girlfriends (different species of tortoise) and is surrounded by thousands of babies from the breeding program. We also had a small talk about an endemic cactus and how cacti work in general. In short their leaves are the spines, this way they don’t loose water, their trunks are capable of photosynthesis and they can store huge amounts of water in their sponge like core. When an El Nino year occurs (the sea temperature warm, rain falls heavily and is followed by a drought-called El Nina) they are the only vegetation to survive.

Lunch was a BBQ in the highlands in the fine misty (where’s misty?) rain. Then we went in search of wild tortoises. These huge guys (J comfortably managed to fit himself inside an old tortoise shell, that is how big they are) migrate from the top of the hills to the bottom depending on the season. The round trip takes them 12 months. We did some calculations and found out that this means that their average speed is 2.75 meters an hour.

A small bus ride took us to a ‘Lava Tube’. This is a long tunnel formed by molten lava flowing underground. Everyone went down into the tube but only a brave few continued all the way through, crawling on their stomachs through the last 10 meters. The afternoons activities came to a close at around 3:30 so we had free time to explore the tiny town. After buying some stuff V&J went and did what they do best, weight lifting in the bar. They were soon joined by most people from the boat before it was time to head back.

Dinner and NO briefing (because the extremely wealthy Mexican family that are going to give a huge tip weren’t there. Apparently the rest of us weren’t worth it.) Everyone having had a few beers were up for some more. So took the Panga back into town. The usual affair of drinking and chatting was supplemented with a load of awkward, underaged Americans getting hammered in the bar. One who was especially good at falling over and pretending he was break dancing.

Back on the boat V was leading the way, accusing the Israeli guy of having smuggled an M16 in his ass and generally abusing the other passengers. It came to a climactic end with some dancing, graffiti on the whiteboard and V talking into the tanoy system. J unimpressed at V’s last move went to bed before things got even more out of hand.

  1. Han (Reply) on Wednesday-4, 2010

    OMG Bung bung you nut head!! love the piccy!!!
    Sitting watching your videos with Phillip Williams and loving it!!
    He says that you guys better be up for joining him jumping out of another plane at Headcorn the day after you get back!!! – Now that you guys are skydiving professionals!!!
    Loads and loads of love to you both! xxxxxxxxxxx

    • V & J (Reply) on Thursday-5, 2010

      Yeh that just shows you how big the Tortuga is right! Frecking HUGE!.

      Not sure about throwing myself out of more planes, might give that one a rest for a bit.

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