Once we arrived at the beach we walked down to the far end and again got a couple more photos of the Marine iguanas.. I just can't get enough of these animals, they seriously look like baby dinosaurs!
We also saw a couple cheeky birds and some beautifully bright red crabs.
They were much more scared of us then we were of them however if we stood really still they would come very close to our legs! It was awesome!
We headed back to town, again getting a big slice of watermelon for a snack and carried on to the Charles Darwin Research Station.
The research station is a nursery for many giant tortoises as part of the islands rehabilitation program.
There are 14 subspecies of Galapagos Tortoise, and many eggs and hatchlings are brought here and protected until they are of an age and size that they can be safely released back into the wild. Most are kept until they are about 5 years old and 30 cm long. Giant tortoises are thought to live to 160 years old, but they don’t reach sexual maturity until 20-25, hence the importance of them surviving their younger years.
Hatchlings are kept together in a litter and aren’t mixed with other subspecies until they are a few years old, when they are put into a kind of tortoise training facility designed to “toughen them up” before being released into the wild. After seeing how big they can grow to the day before, the babies were super cute.
This program along with eradicating introduced species such as rats, cats and goats that both eat tortoise eggs and take their food has helped to significantly increase the wild population in the last 40 years.
Also at the station is the habitat that used to belong to Lonesome George, the last of of the subspecies of the giant tortoises on Pinta Island. In his last years, he was known as the rarest creature in the world. There are many documentaries on him and his life, he passed away in 2012 and was thought by some to be over 100 years old!
That afternoon we booked a ferry ticket to Isla Isabela (the largest island in the Galapagos), did a little research and cooked a tasty tuna pasta dinner back at the hostel. An early night was needed before the 7am ferry to Isabela the next morning.