Posted by Cassie, October 26th, 2010

We spent an amazing week in the Galapagos, and we had a fun time hanging out with the wildlife. The animals are not afraid of people so you can go right up to them. On San Cristobal island, sea lions were everywhere! While walking in town, there was a sea lion walking down the street! The sea lions also would sleep on the benches in the parks.

San Cristobal Island

Sea lion walking down the street!

We really enjoyed watching the giant tortoises. It was especially fun to watch them eating. They don’t have any teeth, so they’re not very efficient at eating. It takes them a while to eat their food, but since they’re tortoises, they not in any hurry.

A huge tortoise who came right up to us

All of the islands have tortoise breeding centers to repopulate the islands. Ships used to stop at the Galapagos Islands and take the tortoises for food on the ship. Tortoises can live a long time without food or water, so they were a great source of fresh meat on the ships. However, this decimated the tortoise population, and a few species went extinct. The breeding of the tortoises has been very successful, and we saw lots of cute baby tortoises. They keep them at the breeding center until they are five years old, and then they are released back to the wild. While we were on Isabela Island, we saw several baby tortoises fighting over some food, even though there was plenty of food for everyone. One tortoise in particular was being a bully and knocking all the other tortoises out the way. Another tortoise retaliated against the bully and knocked him on his back. The tortoise slowly flailed his arms and legs, but didn’t make much progess towards turning himself over. Then, the same tortoise that knocked the bully over onto his back took a “running” start and knocked him back over to the front side again. It was hilarious!

Baby tortoises fighting over food

Bully tortoise that got knocked on his back

The marine iguanas were also very cool. They were hard to spot because they blended in so well with the black lava rocks. The marine iguanas have to regulate their own body temperature, and they get very cold after swimming in the ocean to eat algae off the rocks. So, when they get out of the water after feeding, they pile on top of each for warmth. It was so funny to walk along the trail and see an enormous pile of marine iguanas.

Marine iguana on Isabela Island- they are the biggest on Isabella because food is so plentiful

Piles of marine iguanas

Check out the rest of our photos:

San Cristobol Island

Santa Cruz Island

Isabela Island

We had an amazing time in the Galapagos, and it was hard to leave. Our hotel on Isabela Island was right on a beautiful white sand beach, and it was a little slice of paradise. Staying at such a lovely place for our last couple nights made it even harder to leave.

One last walk on the beach before we left

Us with our wonderful guide Felipe

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