Friday, March 4, 2011

Santa Cruz

I've spent the last couple of days in Santa Cruz with my parents. We stayed 2 nights in a beautiful hotel (with a pool!) and I got to see the town again and pretend I was a tourist. We ate at a couple of new places and it was nice to be in a large town again. I'm going to go through culture shock when I get back to Quito and see all the people.
We went to the Charles Darwin Station to see the giant tortoises

That afternoon while my dad was sick and resting, Mom and I went shopping and exloring. I've seen the Sea Sheperd sign on the building previously when I was in Puerto Ayora, but never had the chance to stop by.

We walked up the stairs and a man got up from his desk and opened the door for us and welcomed us inside. He began to talk to us about the work that they were doing around the Galapagos. Basically what they are doing is trying to join efforts with the park service and the government to come up with ways to enforce the laws about shark finning. He said that just the other week the park found a boat with 100s of hammerhead shark fins. I was amazed because I had no idea that this was happening in the Galapagos. While I'm sleeping every night illegal harvesting of shark fins is taking place. The law against shark finning is already in the constitution, but the problem is that there is no good way to enforce all these laws. There is also illegal fishing of sea cucumbers an lobsters during the off season for these species.
What they are working on is requiring every boat to have one of these "AIS" devices that give off cordinates of the boat every 15 seconds. When a patrol boat is out at night and sees 5 boats with lights on ahead of him and only 4 boats popping up on his "AIS" screen, he knows that the boat is probably up to no good. Also, at the end of the year you can look back at the patterns of movement and when a boat goes to an area that they are not permitted to, they can be fined or have their boat taken away.
Anyways, the Sea Sheperd office was amazing. A dream come true. It made my day. There were giant flags hanging up on the walls, pictures of the Steve Irwin and Bob Barker and other programs that they were enacting in the Galapagos like shark education for school aged children. The guy was super nice and openly talked to us for a half hour, gave me a nice pamphlet, and told me to come back and visit. It was awesome.
This morning my parents left and I headed back home to Isabela. This is the first break where I can truthfully say I am excited to go back to school. I still have the entire weekend before the next class, Marine Conservation, starts on Monday, but I am ready to start using my brain again.
my parents leaving to go home


  1. Just don't end up on the Steve Irwin getting attacked by Japanese whalers!

  2. Don't worry- I have no desire to be on one of those boats! (but the stuff they do in the office is pretty cool)

  3. Wow, that's really sad to hear all of that is going on. I can only imagine if that's going on in the Galapagos how much worse it must be everywhere else where it's less enforced.