Day eight. Santa Cruz Island is the most heavily populated of the Galapagos Islands with 15,000 residents, but we came for geology, birds and tortoises. A bus met us at the north side of the island at 7:00 AM and we headed up to the Highlands to see the huge volcanic craters named Los Gemelos and to look for the vermillion flycatcher. The flycatcher showed up, but it was far enough away that Aaron can still torment me about how great his photo from the last trip is. Following the craters we headed off to look for giant tortoises, and several of the beasties accommodated us, included a pair who were getting hot and heavy – Scott is a master of weird talents, and impersonating the sounds of a giant tortoise having sex sadly is one of those talents that we may be hearing for years to come.
Following the tortoises we did a quick hike through a one kilometer long lava tube, include a belly crawl at the end, before eating lunch at an amazing restaurant. Greg’s family joined us, and a group shot of firewater completed the meal. The final group event of the day was a trip to the Darwin Research Station, followed by free time in town. Eleven of us returned to town for dinner, and despite being given views of the restaurant from a couple of different tables and then being treated to plenty of time to exercise our arms waving for the waittress we managed a fun evening. Tomorrow is a 5:30 AM wakeup with almost non-stop activity, so we’re all heading to bed before what promises to be a rough crossing to Genevosa (Tower) Island.