Posted by: Waheeda Harris | July 15, 2013

Slow and steady tortoise

Ecuador - Galapagos - CD Research StationI had the pleasure while snorkeling of seeing a turtle.

Watching it slowly glide along, moving so much slower than any of its marine neighbours, I realized the effortless ability for the turtle to explore on its own terms.

With very few predators, the turtle could swim in the sea as it pleased – a luxury we humans get to experience a lot too.

But I was dying to see a Galapagos tortoise – another of the famed animals made into wildlife superstars thanks to Charles Darwin.

On Santa Cruz Island, the Charles Darwin Research Center is home to many tortoises – and although it was very early I hoped they would be awake.

Since it was a research center, I assumed I wouldn’t get as close to the tortoises and that they would hide in the cooler shade, as the temperature was a sweltering 32C plus humidity.

But lucky me, I did spot a tortoise who wanted to be seen:

Ecuador - Galapagos tortoise

I marvelled at the look in this creature’s eyes, and was told he was as old as my Father, easily 75 years old. He had seen so much, yet he was still thankfully alive, and happily at 7am, awake and curious.

And then there was more:

Ecuador - Galapagos tortoises

But they were more interested in eating – but to see all these giant creatures, made me glad there are places like the Galapagos Islands where they are protecting the tortoise. There’s something that’s hard to explain about why its so amazing to see a creature like this – but it is.

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