So, it is the final night before we put all of our belongings into quarantine - everything that we own except for the clothes we´re wearing except for (maybe) a toothbrush. Park staff will then go through our things to make sure we won´t be transporting any invasive species. Two days of being smelly and then we get on the boat and we´re off to Pinta on Sunday night!
We´ve had many successes and a couple of problems in the past few days. On Monday and Tuesday we were able to outfit all of the tortoises with their movement monitoring devices and give them their final deworming. Now they are in special corrals, patiently waiting for their freedom. They are such beautiful, gentle animals, and I can´t wait to see them in their natural habitat, eating cactus and plowing down vegetation. Today we bought all of our food for 2 months, which went rather smoothly after all the lists and preparations we made.
Our main problem right now is that our satellite modem is still not working - although I´ve tried everything I can think of to make it work. This is a severe bummer, but it seems that we will still be able to rent a satellite phone from CDF and send text messages to post on the blog. The messages are limited to 160 characters, so we will have to practice our haiku-style writing. I will try:
Today I watched the tortoises fight over a giant leaf in their corral. I wondered if they would continue to stick together on Pinta or if they couldn´t wait to get away from each other.
Darn, that´s 182 characters. We´ll have to practice, but I think we will be able to convey some good anecdotes in a few text messages.
The other exciting news about town is that the Today Show film crew will likely be coming down for the release on Monday or Tuesday! Combined with the presence of the Minister of the Environment, this is turning out to be quite the event. I´ll tell the tortoises to be extra charismatic for the cameras, but I don´t think they´ll have to try too hard.
-Elizabeth, Santa Cruz, Galapagos