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First encounter with the tortugas.

Got up pretty early, back to the Quito airport, flight to Baltra. Our tour guide, Richard, was waiting for us and somehow picked us out of the crowd. Within minutes we were in a truck and headed to the boat ferry to take us to Santa Cruz Island. Then we headed up to the highlands, but stopped at a lava tube first to explore. I noticed the change in vegetation as we made it up to the highlands- there was more moisture in the air in the morning. We suddenly stopped on the side of the road and saw a couple of Holsteins- being a native Wisconsinite I wasn't too impressed until I saw the 400 pound tortoises five feet away wallowing in the mud and eating scrubby plants. I think I could have watched them for hours-it was amazing to be in the presence of these living dinosaurs. Richard explained the differences in the shells- smooth without white lines to pick out the oldest. We made our way to town- Puerto Ayora- but not before picking some grapefruit from the side of the road. The hotel looked just like it's picture and it's resident sea lion was lounging in a chaise by the pool- a couple of iguanas and a pelican were poolside too. We quickly changed and got in our inflatable ocean kayaks. We made our way along the coastline and in and out of little inlets- we saw multiple sharks and rays through the clear water. Back to the hotel for a dinner of very fresh fish. I can't believe we did so much in one day and we just got here.

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