Jimmy our host never came home last night so this morning we made our own routine on the farm and got stuck clean into it and I have to say, I enjoyed it. As we haven’t had much time to plan what we are going to do this month we thought today would be great to head into town, sit in a café with WIFI and enjoy a coffee, cake, and being connected to reality for a few hours while researching the do’s and don’ts of Galapagos.
As well as the coffee and cake, we both really wanted to check out the fish market and the Charles Darwin centre to spot the first of our giant tortoises. These are both MUST DO’s on Santa Cruz, each bustling with amazing facts, wildlife and energy and not to mention they are both free!
I’ll start with the Puerto Ayora market which out of my whole month in Galapagos this was my most traveled to and favorite location. This features a small fish market where vendors sell fresh fish and lobsters from the catch of the day. However, it bringing with it not just tourists and locals to buy the beautiful fresh fish but as the vendors give the scraps to the local wildlife, we were amazed to see many pelican, frigate birds, sea lions, herons, marine iguanas, all chilling our enjoying the hustle and bustle of daily life, hoping to get a quick feed.
The next location was the Charles Darwin Centre. The foundation has supported a program which raises young giant tortoises and then releases them into the wild, and it is possible to see some of the small turtles in their pens as well as the giant tortoises who live at the centre. Unlike a zoo, these animals have so much space to live, roam and play so going there is highly worth it to learn about the work done on the island to protect these giants. This program is important because the tortoises are most vulnerable when they are little, as introduced species (particularly ants and rats, but also cats and dogs) can prey on them before their shells get too large and their skin gets too thick. This program is run in conjunction with the Galapagos Park Service. Since 1970, more than 2,000 tortoises have been hatched, raised and released.
From there, we stumbled across 1835 a small local hole in the wall café and I have to say it is now my go to on the island. The coffee is unbelievably good as its Ecuadorian (one of the best in the world), we had a 60% Ecuadorian chocolate brownie which was also awesome and then finished with a pepperoni and cheese empanada, all while sitting comfortably in pretty reliable WIFI. Leo and the guy who served us got chatting and turns out he is playing the football in the café on Tuesday, so I imagine we will be back there for some footy and more cakes – YES, YES YES! I already can’t wait.
We then headed back to the farm equipped with ideas for the month, tummy’s full of cake and I could spend the afternoon editing so I was super happy. I have really enjoyed my day today and I am stoked that I have my mojo back. My parents also managed to get on their flight this afternoon home, so that may be another reason why I my mood has changed, knowing they are safe and headed home as much as it is devastating, is also a feeling of relief as I was so worried.
In other farm news, as I have taken the role of mother hen – literally, I witnessed the birth of 5 baby chicks today and they are now my little responsibility to make sure they are ok. I feel quite blessed as I like baby animals, just not human ones so now I have a purpose here I will begin to enjoy it more.