Thursday, June 9, 2022

Visiting the Galapagos: "What is this wondrous place?!"

We flew to Balta, a small island close to Isla Santa Cruz, and then spent three nights in Puerto Ayora.  The animals at first seemed relatively unexotic - the same sea lions and brown pelicans we see at home.  But then, as G said, "What is this wondrous place?" for as we began to explore we noticed that the animals had no fear.  We also saw land iguanas, water iguanas (models for Godzilla and the same poor animals Darwin tossed into the surf again and again), and several varieties of tortoise as we explored parts of the 97% of the island that are protected via boat, surf, trail, preserve, and the Darwin Research Center.  We had guides throughout and they were good at identifying specific animals, though not as passionate about it as our guide at Napo, perhaps because part of their job seemed to be to keep the group happy, recommend restaurants, and other more mundane tasks.  I was glad to be reading a few books about islands, which covered the terrible damage that humans (including naturalists) did and also addressed Darwin's inexcusable racism and very limited exposure to the flora and fauna of the islands.

K is pointing to Isla Santa Cruz and G to Isla San Cristobol

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