Lonesome George

25th September
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George strides with his 70 year old gait through his harem of females, some of whom he´d had his way with just this very morning. We know this because the act had been carefully logged by The W

George strides with his 70 year old gait through his harem of females, some of whom he´d had his way with just this very morning. We know this because the act had been carefully logged by The Watcher. Georges´s craggy face and mournful eyes seem to convey the immense responsibility that goes with being the very last member of your species. Discovered in 1971 on the Galapagos island of Pinta, by goat hunters, Lonesome George is the last tortoise of his particular genus. He was transferred to the Darwin Research Institute on Santa Cruz island in an attempt to mate him with females who are most closely related to him, genetically. Up until recently all attempts to arouse him have failed. When our group visit Lonesome George at the Darwin Centre, there is great excitememt, because now at the age of 70, George has finally reached tortoise adolescence (he can expect to live to at least 300 years) and has become interested in the opposite sex.

 Lonesome George


Handsome

His mating habits are being carefully monitored and several clutches of eggs have been discovered. Hopes are high that fertile baby tortoises will be the result. It goes without saying that most of the day, of our visit, is peppered with jokes about the sex life of tortoises. The diversity and abundance of wildlife in the Galapagos is truly astounding. Our excursions, over the course of eight days, to a few of the many islands of the Galapagos reveals that each island has their own unique landscape and ecosystem. From lava landscapes, mangrove swamps, volcanic sands to barren deserts, life is, incredibly, everywhere. Sea Lions laze languidly on sandy beaches; while marine iguanas clamber out of the sea to silently sprawl, limbs draped over other warm bodies, in large groups on the volcanic rocks; lava lizards stand guard over their egg containing burrows; Blue Footed Boobies dance, while whistling and grunting at each other, in comic mating rituals; overhead pre historic looking Frigate birds soar; Albatrosses circle over rocky cliffs preparing for clumsy landings; multitudes of Darwin´s Finches gather in social groups and giant tortoises gather slowly in the grassy highlands or scrub bushes. Snakes, hawks, flamingoes and herons are accasionally spotted.

Blue Footed Booby
Blue Fotted Booby

Its a Sea Lion´s Life
Its a Sea Lion´s Life

The Sea Lions Win Hands Down In The Lazy Competition


These Guys Get Really Big
These Guys Get Really Big



Sally Lightfoot
Sally Lightfoot

Marine Iguanas Digesting
Marine Iguanas Digesting

More Iguanas
More Iguanas

During our daily snorkelling sessions (water 22 degrees) curious sea lions swim playfully amongst us; giant turtles, spotted eagle rays and white tipped reef sharks glide below us; and fish of all sizes, shapes and colours are everywhere. Our boat, The Samba, and her crew are perfect hosts. Juan, our guide is extremely knowedgeable, animated and has perfect comic timing. The group of fellow passengers (14 in all) get along extremely well, and the amazing meals (cooked by the best cook in the Galapagos, Alfredo) are always sociable.

Los Passageros Del Samba
Our trip to the Galapagos ends up exceeding our already high expectations.
 

The blue one is the Samba
The blue one is the Samba

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7 comments
  • 25th September by scheungy

    Really enjoyed this - some amazing pics!!
    Let's hope George was succesful with the ladies so his breed doesn't die out


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  • 26th September by darrenlep

    Great story & stunning photos, once in a lifetime !!


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  • 28th September by Fintown Trekker

    Great opening line. You must have had all senior readers heart's pacing! Well written and excellent photos - really liked dancing blue foot and the seals watching the gull. And I was amazed at the photo of your group - I learned something new of the Galapagos. I always thought I was far too young to yet afford a trip there but methinks few of that group started their wanderings in the mid-80's!! Oh, I envy the younger traveller of today.....


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  • 19th October by Kavey

    This is a really great experience. I think it's really representative, written well and I love all the photos!


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  • 26th October by ttbko

    really interesting piece and some lovely pictures, particularly that awesome crab! doubt i'd argue with it... it was also really nice that you took a picture of george (or one of his neighbours) with people in it. a wildlife shot without some form of scale is really hard when it comes to working out, just how big is "big".
    much thanks
    pam


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  • 5th November by Taniya

    Having just returned from a very similar journey to yours, I really appreciated this one - well done. The latest on the egg situation re: Lonsome George is that they are currently incubating 3 eggs to become male and 5 to become female. I'm sure the expectant father is over the moon!


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  • 17th November by travelbug

    Good story and stunning pics... thanks


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