Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos

Yesterday we had the opportunity to visit the city of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. This is where the Charles Darwin Research Station is located and where we would have been able to meet Lonesome George had he survived just 40 days longer. Alas, no George. Still, the station was well worth the trip as we were able to learn about the breeding program designed to increase the population of giant tortoises around the islands.

After our visit to the station, we were able to spend some time wandering around the town. Approximately 20,000 people live here, so it’s less of a town and more of a city, I suppose. Still, compared to Denver, it’s small. The best part of the day (well, aside from standing in the Santa Cruz highlands just feet from giant tortoises) was a small fish market we encountered in town. There was a crowd of tourists gathered with cameras when we got there. There were the usual fish market thieves (pelicans) and this time there were a couple other added guests…sea lions. They stood at the foot of the fish counter where the fish were being cut and begged like dogs at a table for scraps. Cutest thing ever. A fellow passenger on the cruise told me yesterday that he read that sea lions here are like dogs in wet suits. No wonder I like them so much.

San Cristobal Island, Galapagos

Me and my new best friends

I have always loved sea lions. Their little ear flaps, long whiskers, and deeply inquisitive eyes make them my favorites. On San Cristobal Island in the Galapagos I had the opportunity to sit within feet of them and observe them. It’s true what they say of the animals here. They are not the least bit fearful of humans. Birds land at your feet. Fish swim right up to you. Sea lions jump and splash in the water where you are swimming. I had one sea lion today stop on the beach, its flippers resting on my feet. Amazing. I am in awe of this place. You hear that it’s magical, but you have no idea until you’re here. I am blessed.