My Last Couple
Days in the
April 11, 2007
Since I was back on in Puerto Ayora, I felt it was only fair that I give the residents of the Darwin Center another visit.
‘Are you lonesome tonight…’
Sorry. That’s the song in my mind after visiting Lonesome George. This big guy doesn’t realize how lucky he has it. He is the
remaining survivor of the Pinta Island Tortoise species. The reason for this is because when the idiot humans came to these islands
for whaling, etc. they brought introduced species with them. The goats ate all of the vegetation and left nothing for the native
And then there was one…
So now they have found two females that are of another species of tortoise but genetically the closest to George. However, George
wants none of it. How many tortoises would give their shell to be in his place? George does not realize the opportunity that is at his
fingertips. So it seems as if George is choosing his lonesomeness…
Three is a Crowd…
After observing some other tortoises, it is safe to assume that three is not company. These tortoises gave me quite a show. Two of
them were, um, ‘busy’ tending to tortoise-lovin’ activities. Then the third one came along (let’s call him the ‘stalker tortoise’. He had
his eye on the tortoise who was the recipient of the lovin’. This was obvious when, as they were in the act, he went up to the giver of
the lovin’ and starting biting his leg and then went after his neck. Let me say this again… The tortoise was doing this as the other
two tortoises were getting it on. Then when the tortoises concluded their session o’ lovin’, the stalker tortoise went up to the
recipient tortoise and got on its back. The tortoise was now walking with the stalker one on its back just like it was giving it a piggy
back ride…or shall I say a ‘tortoise back ride’. It was only a matter of minutes when the one tortoise managed to escape from the
April 12, 2007
I made yet another visit to the Darwin Center when I returned to town after diving this morning. After all, I needed to say good-
bye to the land iguanas and tortoises before I head out of the island tomorrow. I didn’t observe any behavior like yesterday.
Probably a good thing. I did feel a bit like a voyeur.
On my way back, I ran into my Irish friends – Lisa and Dara. This is the couple I met on the bus and ended up hanging out with in
Guayaquil. What a fun surprise! We caught up on the past 1½ weeks of each other’s lives. They told me a couple of unfortunate-
yet-typical-South-America stories. They got robbed. Twice in a twenty-four hour period. The first time was on a bus to Quito. Dara’
s bag got swiped from the overhead. They reported it to the police. Then while on a bus later that day to the rainforest, Lisa went to
get her backpack from underneath her seat (that she twisted and tied to the bottom of the seat so that nobody would take it). The
zipper was open. The guy behind her ended up taking her camera. Not only that – he also managed to find the charger and the
rechargeable batteries at the bottom of her backpack. Unbelievable. It sounded like she had a tearful lunch in the town and then
they hopped right back on a bus to Quito so that they could go back to the police.
A person can never let their guard down over here. Westerners have to do away with that innate trust that we have pre-
programmed in ourselves. Trust just can’t exist in South America. How sad is that? But it just can’t.
April 13, 2007
Oh my gosh! What a fun surprise today! I saw Scott and Kirk at the bus station. It turned out we were going to be on the same
flight to Quito. I found out about the final days of their trip…and how much they missed the original crew (let’s face it – this was
what I wanted to hear).
When I got to the airport I went to get my boarding pass for my flight. If only it could have been that simple…
The only reason why I decided that I would go ahead with leaving San Cristobal to head to the more happenin’ Santa Cruz island
was because the TAME office switched my flights with no problem. I told the man I wanted the same date and same time but
leaving from the other island. “No problemo” was what he said. He assured me it was changed and everything had been updated in
the computer system. While I was at the ticket counter getting ready to head to my flight, I found out that the guy back in San
Cristobal botched my flight. He booked my ticket for a flight tomorrow. I told him this was impossible and that I would have never
agreed to such a thing. Luckily the baggage guy took a liking to me because the ticket agent didn’t want to waste more than ten
more seconds dealing with me. He told me the flight was full and that I was on the flight tomorrow. I asked if there was anything
they could do since this was not what the TAME agent had told me a few days ago. “No” was his answer. The baggage guy was still
concerned for me.
I knew there was only one thing I could do in this situation.
I said that I had an international flight out of Quito tomorrow morning. That was the ticket (literally). Magically (and grudgingly)
the ticket agent handed me a boarding pass. At least the baggage guy was rejoicing with me in the good news. Of course I don’t
really have a flight leaving tomorrow – it leaves the next day. But I really wanted a couple days to wander around Quito. Now I will
A land iguana resident of the Darwin Center.
A tortoise-back ride.
A funny tortoise position.