We say goodbye to our wonderful guide Vico this morning. Vico was born and raised in the Galapagos and his intimate knowledge and passion for the islands have endeared him to us. He has also been wonderful with the boys. We join another group for a short morning tour of the Arnaldo Tupiza tortoise breeding centre. The tortoises on Isabela island were nearly extinct and this breeding and release program has wonderfully boosted their numbers again. We also take a short hike through some mangrove areas to view a flamingo lagoon. After our return and a quick lunch, we board the fast boat again for our trip back to Santa Cruz Island. The 2 hour boat ride has lost a bit of the initial charm and it is also incredibly warm, we are not feeling that great by the time we arrive back in SC. We did however see some dolphins and possibly sharks (debated amongst the passengers!) during the ride. After checking in to the Red Mangrove for our final evening, we take a stroll through the town of Puerto Ayora. This town is quite cute but touristy, all shops are souvenir oriented (with hugely inflated prices from mainland ecuador). Steve almost buys the ''I Love Boobies'' t shirt but somehow resists. We pass the small port where fisherman are chopping up their fresh catches for the locals. There are pelicans and sea lions everywhere hoping for falling scraps! A mother seal barks away her baby who recoils sheepishly away and hides behind us as we watch the scene unfold. I will miss these beautiful animals and these extreme close encounters!
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