The land life of San Cristóbal Island

After a couple weeks of exploring and volunteering on San Cristóbal, I was able to get some pictures of the wildlife here. The pictures are extra awesome because they were not taken at a zoo – these animals are just roaming the streets/beaches/forests of the Galapagos Islands. You don’t even have to go off the beaten path to see them. It’s like they’re used to all of the people that come to these islands because you can walk right up to them and they don’t even back away.

The first sighting was at the Galapaguera tortoise reproduction station because we worked there two times a week cutting down the lantana and reforesting the endemic plants that are found in the area. I took way too many pictures of these guys, but I just have one here. See my previous post for more.0B939D5E-77C4-47DB-B796-D7E207FEA2B4

The other day while we were working closer to the Jatun Sacha station, we saw this owl just hanging out in a tree while we worked. Luckily we caught her (I think it looks like a girl) before we chopped down that tree. She was beautiful!IMG_1041_2

El chancho (wild pig) – definitely invasive but still cute. This is Ozzy, the Jatun Sacha pet, which will be domesticated and eventually neutered to keep from reproducing. He was more like a dog than a pig. 5305F738-E4B3-4A32-A2EB-53DD20414E05

Just walking along the malecón in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, you see a ton of animals all around… This is the most close-up picture of a pelican I’ve ever taken.88A26D93-5F18-4D13-9C69-F08C75D41518

This is the infamous Blue-Footed Booby. This might be my new favorite bird.634389C7-19CB-4C68-BC90-E3B22F2C0089

On Saturday, we went on a hike at La Lobería where we saw a ton of sea lions and marine iguanas. The iguanas were huge and blended right in with the volcanic rocks so you had to really focus to try not to step on one. The further in we got, the more there were. They would remain immobile, even when we crept up to them, and then they would spit out salt water about every 5 minutes.09A301B4-BEF1-4A33-83D6-B605D727D25160EC4ACC-D753-4911-8E5D-10F19D331CB7This is a male – apparently the males are more colorful.


The finches were flying and hopping all around me at the beach. If you eat crackers on the beach, they will even hop right on you. Even this ordinary-looking bird is cute on the Galápagos!513951D8-1AB8-4398-935B-A90686118938

Now for my favorite part: the sea lions were literally EVERYWHERE. They don’t stop being cute! They are on the sidewalks, benches, rocks and beaches all around the island and I can’t seem to get enough pictures of them. The tortoises and sea lions have almost filled my memory card. You can get so close to them and they don’t wake up for anything. They are a lazy bunch but fun to share the beach with – albeit a bit smelly if you get too close.EB0BA4A3-378C-4BDF-AB54-C52908EAEFBA

I guess this is how the sea lions have their fun. This water slide is not for people.6A1A52E3-AD14-499A-A5FE-0FC2A4DF651F

Feeding party!B28C5C97-CA8E-47A3-9828-E13A0E501463

I can’t believe I took this with my own camera…IMG_1026_2

Let this be the last image you see before you sleep tonight.AE677507-F170-480D-BE6F-960899CA99BF


La Galapaguera

El martes fuimos a visitar La Galapaguera, el sitio de reproducción de las tortugas de la isla de San Cristóbal.  Este sitio no existe simplemente para que le gente pueda ver a las tortugas gigantes sino para preservar la especie y ayudarlas a reproducir.  Hay otras especies de tortugas en las otras islas pero las tortugas grandes que se encuentran aquí vienen de su ámbito natural en el noreste de San Cristóbal.47E1EAAB-6A3B-4660-AC84-89C1E5C3FCA3

Últimamente, los animales invasivos como los chanchos (cerdos) salvajes y las cabras han resultado en el retraso de la reproducción de estas tortugas. Cuando las tortugas ponen sus huevos (ponen como 8-12 huevos cada vez) estos animales invasivos corren encima de los huevos o los desentierran. Por eso, el Parque Nacional de los Galápagos decidió tomar acción para conservar la especie y prevenirla de la extinción. Hoy en día, toman algunos tortugas a su tiempo de reproducir para que puedan poner sus huevos en su ambiente protegido que se llama La Galapaguera. Aunque La Galapaguera no sea su hábitat natural, es semi-natural – o sea tienen casi todos los recursos que se encontrarían en su ámbito natural – y allá pueden reproducir sin problemas.36364A9B-ABB2-40EF-A15A-DD7A09F30B84Cuando las tortugas reproducen, los bebes se quedan en jaulas hasta que sean más grandes y puedan cuidarse bien. Cada tortuguita que nace en La Galapaguera recibe un numero que marca el órden en el que nacieron. Luego, les ponen en la otra parte del parque donde tienen mas libertad. Cuando cumplen cinco años de edad, las devuelven a su ámbito natural de nuevo.ADF08744-0983-4132-AFDC-34BB47361F42


Algunos viejos se quedan allá para que la gente las vea, pero no hay límites para adonde pueden caminar. Simplemente hay un muro alrededor del parque entero para protegerles de los animales salvajes, pero las tortugas están libres de viajar adonde sea por el parque entero. Hasta van en el medio del camino donde caminan los visitantes. Una vez allí, se ponen en su caparazón completamente, seguro por el miedo de la gente que pasan, pero igual pasan por allí.F2DDEEFB-6C1A-44EC-94D3-1A3A842F35700F17A217-136E-4F84-901E-13271D5EDE15

Visitar las tortugas grandes fue una experiencia muy interesante. Yo tenía tortuguitas como mascotas cuando era niña y desde entonces siempre he querido ir a visitar a Las Islas Galápagos para verlas. Fue muy chévere trabajar aquí con ellos. 3470BF44-FD30-4758-B37D-8D23023984C4976B7A96-BBE2-4196-87B3-F78DFB930506




Jatun Sacha

I made it to the Galapagos! Starting my journey on San Cristobal Island volunteering for Jatun Sacha. I can’t write much because I only have internet for about 10 more minutes until I go back up to the reserve – then cut off from all telecommunication until Friday when I can get back into town.C4133157-DE7C-4C0F-8115-8817DBC239AE

This might be the tiniest airport I’ve flown into.3562B3FE-904C-4A48-97AE-D4A68513F49C0550C333-A31A-4AA8-826F-1B89EF30E60A

The gringo line to pass through immigration.00A552B2-0E5A-4F7D-B6C5-5BAD5E4D000E

Upon Arrival, the driver for Jatun Sacha picked me up and brought me to the volunteer station in the highlands of San Cristobal Island – about 45 minutes from the coast. Halfway through the trip he decided to tell me that all the volunteers were in Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, the coastal town where all of the tourists stay. When I got up to the reserve, I was literally the only one there besides the cook. It was beautiful, but after about an hour completely alone, I got a bit bored without phone or internet. I felt like I was on an Outward Bound Solo. I got some reading done, chatted with the cook, Sandra, after dinner, and then around 7 decided that that was the longest 3 hours of my life and I would like to try to go down to the Puerto to meet the rest of the volunteers the next day. Oh, and it is also cloudy and rainy in the highlands and beautiful and sunny by the beaches. The director found me a room with the rest of the volunteers so I would be able to enjoy some exploring and internet time before beginning my volunteer work for the next week. I will be back down here (or perhaps on another surrounding island) next Friday.

This is where I will be living for the next 2 weeks:CE02ECCC-0A19-40F1-BE60-E01896C094B6

It’s no Marriott but it will do.F9369336-C4A7-453B-9D33-1B3BDD44F646

They gave me a private room. 1B061359-21C7-4422-BAEF-96DC490DF368

Community living space – complete with hammocks and all. 8C413A21-9047-447C-9B7B-A34B7BAAA729


This is where we have to go to the bathroom. I feel like I’m on Crew Orientation all over again, but without the Outward Bound instructors and 9th graders…1E83737D-CF1F-435F-BD9D-E61A02226957

Ozzy, the reserve pet – well they told me he was the pet. He will be while I’m here at least…A22ED4C1-15BE-4443-BC04-0534BA79C442

La cocina y el comedor.IMG_3049IMG_3045

The volunteer schedule. While I’m here we will be using machetes to chop down mora (blackberries) and other invasive species that has taken over the area and therefore resulting in extinction of the native flora of the Galápagos Islands. Sounds like hard work but everyone seems to enjoy it. I’m excited. 34D632D1-0AC8-4C91-9B96-67ABF3B5588A