We woke up this morning in the Galapagos for the last time on this Journey, knowing that the time to say goodbye to solid ground for around three full weeks was coming. After breakfast, we got Passage prep done as quickly as possible and then split up like previous days for various activities. Some people visited the Darwin research center (Daphne is going to give you more details about this below!), others went diving (Morana and Carla were lucky enough to swim right next to a giant Manta Ray), and people with no pre-scheduled activities went ashore and did what they wanted out of their free time. Miles and Fargo, among others, went surfing in Tortuga Bay. Like many of my crew mates, I chose to go to a laundry place right before passage and bought some last souvenirs in the lovely town of Puerto Ayora. We stopped one last time at Chocolapagos (so that I could buy a tonne of chocolate, which is not super smart when you live on a boat in the tropics when anything that can melt WILL melt) and, of course, at Darwin + Wolf (a clothing store only in the Galapagos that I think everyone on this boat bought something at) so that Ted could say goodbye with one more purchase (he now owns 3 Darwin + Wolf shirts, a hoodie, a journal, a buff, and some stickers). Then I had lunch ashore and was accompanied by Ted, Daphne, Nella, Cosmo, Saskia, and Owen for some delicious pulled pork burgers and bbq ribs. Before getting into the water-taxi at 4:30 p.m. to go back to Vela, we had a last look at that place where seeing Sharks, Rays, TurtlesandTurtoises, Iguanas, and Sea Lions is as common as walking past a Cat. Dinner was early, at 5:30, so that we could receive aboard the Ecuadorian border authorities to clear out of the country. Since they failed to find all the hard drugs we were hiding, we were free to go, and broke into watch teams for the beginning of that long passage routine, full of exams and projects. Some of us are a little bit nervous. Our patience is going to be tested, but everyone is still super excited to get to our next and final destination: Tahiti!!!
Daphne: William asked me to guest star on his blog because he had free time all day and didn’t think it was interesting enough. Today my group went to the Charles Darwin Research Center. We went on a guided tour to learn more about the Galapagos, the evolution of iguanas and birds, Charles Darwin, and tortoises. At the research center, they have a tortoise sanctuary, where they incubate tortoise eggs and provide a safe place for them to spend their first few years. We saw many young tortoises of different ages and sizes sharing pieces of food, learning to climb rocks (one of them took a tumble that Saskia managed to catch on video, which has probably now been played on the boat a hundred times), and finding shady places to lay. We also learned about Lonesome George, a tortoise icon in the Galapagos. He was the last member of a specific species of tortoise and was unable to produce fertile offspring with the other species of tortoises found in the Galapagos. He died in 2012, so now there are no more tortoises of his species. We also took advantage of one of our last cold soda opportunities for three weeks and got cold beverages at the cafe outside the gift shop (where Ted and I bought matching shark shirts).