Friday, 24 April 2015

Galápagos Day 8 - Santa Cruz Highlands

One week down, one to go. We returned to civilisation today with a bus trip on Isla Santa Cruz, visiting the highlands to look for the Santa Cruz Tortoise, Chelonoidis nigra porteri. Our primary destination for the morning was Rancho Manzanillo, one of several private farms that have embraced eco-tourism as a way of supplementing their income while assisting in the conservation of the tortoises.

Rancho Manzillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 82.5mm, ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/160

The ranch supplied gumboots as the ground was very wet and muddy. For the lucky ones (i.e., those with big feet), yellow was de rigueur.

Fancy footwear, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Photograph courtesy of Joanne Smissen

There were plenty of tortoises in various habitats and poses

Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 50mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/200
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 50mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/250
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/400
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 34mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/500
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm f/2.8 @ 50mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/500
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 87.5mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/500
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/250
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/80
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/100
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130mm, ISO 2000, f/6.3, 1/1600

and some were quite amorous.

Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 82.5mm, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/125
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 130mm, ISO 2000, f/2.8, 1/250
Galápagos Tortoise, Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 70mm, ISO 3200, f/5.6, 1/400

There were also several White-cheeked Pintails hanging around an Azolla-covered lake.

White-cheeked Pintail (male), Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 140mm, ISO 400, f/8, 1/320
White-cheeked Pintail (female), Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200
White-cheeked Pintail (female), Rancho Manzanillo, Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Tamron 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 140mm, ISO 400, f/5.6, 1/200

We also visited a pair of volcanic craters, known as 'The Twins', but had time for only a few photographs at the lookout over the first twin before the rain bucketed down and sent us scurrying for the bus.

One of 'The Twins', Isla Santa Cruz, Galápagos
Pentax K-3, Pentax 16-50mm @ 16mm, ISO 800, f/7.1, 1/250 (stitched panorama)

After lunch at a restaurant in the highlands we spent the afternoon in the town of Puerto Ayora, which provided a range of shopping opportunities--souvenirs for some and replacement clothing for others (Jo's shorts didn't survive the lava of Punto Moreno)--as well as internet and phone access. I took the camera gear back to the boat before walking around town so no photos I'm afraid...it was quite a novelty to be without a camera in hand and a bag of gear over my shoulder.

Tomorrow - Barrington Bay on Isla Santa Fé

1 comment:

  1. these Tortoise are magnificent animals and my favourite shot is number 5.

    ReplyDelete

Apologies for the inconvenience but I have had to turn on word verification to avoid spam (I was getting 10-20 a week)

Birding and Natural History Blogs - Australia

Birding Blogs - Worldwide