The Galapagos Islands. November 2011

09th December 2011
The Galapagos Islands were named after the giant Tortoises that live there (Islands of the Tortoises) but also called The Enchanted Islands mainly due to the dense fog that conceals the Islands and makes them seem to appear and dissappear at will. I found them Enchanting for another reason - the magnificent wildlife that lives there totally unafraid of man! Imagine standing beside a pair of Albatross as they go through their farewell rituals before parting for 18 months on the wing or watching as new born sealion pups call out to you while older pups in groups harass the marine iguanas as they sunbake on the rocks. The wonder of watching Blue Footed Boobies fishing right beside you and also experience the excitement of a chick being fed! Nowhere else in this world can you become part of the wildlife as on the Galapagos Islands!

When I left on my adventure I found that so may people who asked me where I was going had never heard of the Galapagos Islands so here is a very brief summary: The Galapagos Islands are an archipelego of volcanic islands distributed around the equator in the Pacific Ocean, 972 km west of continental Ecuador. They are a national park and a biological marine reserve. The islands are famed for their vast number of endemic species, which were studied by Charles Darwin during the voyage of the Beagle (1835). His observations and collections contributed to the inception of Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. It was the endemic Galapagos Mocking Birds that Darwin first noticed to vary from island to island. Straddling the equator, islands in the chain are located in both the northern and southern hemisphere. Although located on the equator, the Humbolt Current brings nutrient rich cold water to the islands which in turn brings the penguins and sealions. The Galapagos Islands are unique and truly a wonderful experience! Where else could you snorkel to the utter amusement of curious sealion pups?