The Tortoise And The Whale – What Does The Galapagos Have To Do With Moby Dick?

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I know it is random, but Wildlife Wednesday allows me to “do something” with the beauty that I see in the animals that I photograph. Plus, everyone has their favorite type of animal (or three) and maybe I will stumble on yours. Here is a close-up of a tortoise. It’s a small-ish type of Galapagos tortoise, just about half the size of the kind that people could ride, if they were slightly cruel.

Did you know that the whaling crews that used to leave New Bedford, Massachusetts in the 19th century would make a stop at the Galapagos  islands to hunt the famous tortoise? Did you know you could hunt tortoise with, pretty much a shoe. The crew would grab up a few of them and just let them roam around on the ship or in the cargo hold. The tortoise would live almost a year without food. It was horrible, but the poor little, OK, giant land turtles would essentially be slowly starving to death. But these were a source of meat for the whalers. It’s like having a flock of really easy to catch, large goats, that are not biblically described as clean, for eating, on board.

To tie this post in with my movie reviews, I totally recommend the movie “Heart of The Sea” about the whale ship Essex. In the movie, they leave out this non-PETA approved activity (not to say that many people at all approve of tortoise hunting these days). That’s why it is good to read the book, which is what I was totally impressed to do after the movie. Don’t tell Mrs. Cameron, my high school literature teacher, but I never completely read Moby Dick. I figure I’m good now, what with the real events being chronicled and all.

This photo was taken at Lion Country Safari in Palm Beach County. This remains one of our favorite spots. We’re talking three generations of our family (and in my brother’s case, four) have ambled through the living safari in our cars.

Have you ever been to a “drive through” animal safari or zoo? If you have been to more than one, what is your favorite?


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