After months of preparation we are now all waiting for the implementation phase to begin...which will be tomorrow at 3 PM when the 39 tortoises will be loaded on the Galapagos National Park's Sierra Negra, a large and fast work ship. The park guards who will do the actual work of the release will follow next at 6 PM, as will the science support team. Together we will all plow through the night aboard the Sierra Negra, first through the waters around Santa Cruz Island, then thread our way past Santiago Island and finally take a beeline to Pinta Island, where we will arrive at dawn, have a quick breakfast and start the process of unloading tortoises, ferrying them to shore, and cutting the trail up to the release area. The guardaparques will carry the tortoises. The plan at present is 4 guards per tortoise, with 4 other following in reserve to provide some relief. Some of the tortoises are in the 90 kg range - not so easy to carry on a litter over broken lava, through thick brush, and in intense heat. All the science crew's food, water and gear must be moved to shore and camp assembled. It will be a busy 3 days, and maybe 4 if more time is needed, to get all the work done.
- James Gibbs, Santa Cruz Island