RIP Lonesome George

Lonesome George, circa 2005

I met George on several occasions on my trips to the Galapagos. Originally from Pinta Island in the archipelago, he was the last of his sub-species. He was relocated to the Darwin Research Station on Santa Cruz island, where he lived out his life well cared for, and visited by thousands of tourists.

Efforts were made to introduce other tortoises with the hope that he would mate and continue the lineage, but alas, he leaves no heirs.

George was thought to be at least hundred years old when he died. Imagine what he saw in his lifetime…

Once upon a time there was a very healthy population of these giant tortoises in the Galapagos Islands. Unfortunately, they were almost eaten into extinction by the sailors who made landfall there. Tortoises were favoured by the ships’ cooks. They could be stacked, alive, in the hold, requiring no water or food for a very long time. The cook would lop off one appendage at a time, and make a turtle stew to feed the crew. An ignominious fate for sure.

Through careful conservation the islands have been re-populated with giant tortoises, with the current population levels at a healthy number. Alas, no more Pinta tortoises to add to that number, unless somehow they clone George.


George Chillin'

On the move...

About Judy G Diver

Born and raised on the west coast of Canada, I have always felt a strong connection to the sea. But for many years, I stayed on the surface, afraid of what lurked down deep. When I was in my early 30's, with three young children (aka the P's), my husband (aka Mr G) signed us up for a SCUBA certification course, as a surprise. Although I had my fears, my stubbornness prevailed, and somehow I made it through four murky, frigid, cold water dives in Vancouver to successfully pass the course. Soon after we went diving off the west coast of Mexico, in the Sea of Cortez, where my eyes were opened to the beauty and other-worldliness of the life down under. And the rest, as they say, is history. I currently have well over 2000 dives under the belt, and I have been fortunate to travel and dive in Indonesia, Thailand, Australia, Fiji, Palau, Philippines, Galapagos, Costa Rica, Hawaii, California, Egypt, Mexico, several islands in the Caribbean, and here in British Columbia. In addition to this blog and my personal website (, which is linked at the top of the blog, my stuff has been published in a variety of magazines and websites, including a regular monthly feature for Scubadiving Magazine for several years. All links to this work can be found in this blog.
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