We have arrived on Santa Cruz safe and sound! My heart skipped a beat with the first sight of an arboreal cactus as we were landing on Baltra, and I was dazzled by the blueness of the water on the ferry to Santa Cruz. Finally here. It is as beautiful as I thought it would be, and not nearly as hot!
Amazingly, we had no problem getting through customs with our 12 pieces of luggage, and all of the equipment seems to have arrived without damage. The whole crew is together now, and we saw the tortoises today (they seem like part of the crew, too). Ben, Garrison, and I had actually seen them yesterday when we were looking at the other tortoises at the CDRS, but we didn't realize that they were the ones. They were much livelier than the other larger tortoises, and one looked curiously at us for a long time - an instant connection. They are a lot bigger than I thought they'd be, which is good for the restoration aspect of the project (bigger tortoises have more impact), but maybe not so good for the porters who have to carry them up to the good habitat in the middle of the island!
We have begun scouting out the supermarkets for the food that we will buy early next week, and it looks like we will be able to get everything we need, if not everything we want. On Monday we will begin the process of attaching the transmitters and loggers to the tortoises. We will be leaving for Pinta on Sunday night of next week, which means we have to get everything ready by Thursday morning for quarantine.
I will post again soon with pictures. Now I am tired, and would like to gaze at the brilliant array of stars a bit before hitting the hay.
-Elizabeth, Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos