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Cruising Active Transport
We left San Francisco on September 7th 2008 and are off to see the world in our Tayana 37 Pilot House cutter.
Active Transport's Photos - Santa Cruz Island Highland Tour
Photos 1 to 14 of 14 | Cruising Active Transport (Main)
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This photo gives you an idea of the size of these critters.
The famous Galapagos tortoises provide one of the interesting examples of adaptive radiation of animals in the Galapagos archipelago.  The only island we saw the tortoises on was Santa Cruz.  These creatures live to be well over 100 years old and are extremely well adapted to the pre-human environment of the islands.  Unfortunately the domestic animals that people brought with them have damaged nests and habitat.  Early sailing ships also liked to use the tortoises as "meat on the hoof" for their long ocean crossings.  They are said to have slaughtered the animals piecemeal over several days.  The animals remained alive and the meat remained fresh.   Ships would load up with tortoises and store them on their backs on board the ships.
Here is John with one of the giant tortoises.  Please note the extremely stylish boots provided by the tourist operation for use when stomping around out in the field with the tortoises.
Being smart was obviously not a trait that impacted survival in the pre-human Galapagos.  These critters are slow.  Eating seems to consume all the cerebral apparatus they have.
The tourist shop/restaurant had a display of carapaces of dead tortoises on display.
They also had a collection to femurs and other bones.
We took a taxi to a farm where the tortoises are allowed to roam free.  Many of them were clustered in a field near the tourst shop but here is a pic of Shawn photographing a wild one that crossed our path as we were leaving.
This is another shot of our "wild" tortoise crossing the road in front of our cab.
Another of the tortoises.
One of the "highlights" of our tour of the Santa Cruz highlands was a walk through a 1/4 mile long lava tube.  This was a creepy experience.  The cab drive left us off at one end of the tube and told us that he would meet us at the other end.  At least we thought that was what he was saying.  After walking down a switch back trail we came to the entrance to the lava tube.  Here is Shawn getting ready to enter the tube
A view back at the entrance as we descended into the tube.
Lava tubes form when the outside of a lava flow cools and insulates the molten lava inside the flow.  The liquid lava then slips out of the hardened outer part of the flow leaving a tube that is frequently high enough to walk through.  Did you ever see the Southpark episode about Lemiwinks?
The lava tube was lighted by a series of single light bulbs strung on a wire that ran along the top of the tube.  The quality of the electrical work was marginal and I could not help but wonder what we would do if the lights went out.  I would never do this again without a flashlight.
This was the creepiest part of the lava tube transit.  Some sort of collapse had occurred and the roof of the lava tube fell down to a couple of feet off the floor.  Someone had left a piece of carpet on the floor but it was so dirty it did not help much as we crawled through this constriction in the tube.
 
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On the hook in Tomales Bay
Who: John and Shawn
Port: San Francisco, California
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