240 Photos

Leaving the Enchanted Islands
Viva Ecuador

squirrel monkey foragingsquirrel monkey foraging (Stuart White)
Those of us leaving the Coral went with Jose to the Principio tortoise reserve where we borrowed Wellingtons to slog through the mud in search of the lumbering giants. It brought to mind my personal stake in the survival of an animal closely tied to the Galapagos Islands in the world's perception. A branch of my family came from Nantucket, where, about the time Darwin was exploring the archipelago, some of my ancestors were certainly among the whalers that preyed on the tortoise population for fresh meat, driving some species to the edge of extinction. It is reassuring several generations later that vigorous efforts to restore tortoise populations have reversed the decline.

Before we knew it we were back at the Baltra airport, and under cover of umbrellas provided by AeroGal we boarded our flight back to the mainland in the rain.

It felt almost like home to be back at Hostal de la Rabida.

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