Galápagos Close-Up: Santa Cruz Island

Charles Darwin and the Galápagos are inextricably linked in many people’s mind. After all, this archipelago and its inhabitants gave birth to his theory of evolution. Darwin only spent five weeks on the islands, but what he observed resulted in his masterpiece On the Origin of SpeciesSanta Cruz Island is the most populated island in the Galápagos and home to the Charles Darwin Research Center. Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Santa Cruz Island”

Galápagos Close-Up: Santiago Island

Only a few miles away as the pelican flies, Santiago Island is as different from its neighbor Rábida as night from day. Its stark cratered surface reminded me of the moon.  Sea lions, marine iguanas and American Oyster Catchers were abundant, and we saw fur seals (which are actually sea lions – a fact that caused great confusion) for the first time. yellowwarbler_santiago

This bright Yellow Warbler with its colorful plumage was a standout, especially on Santiago’s moon-like surface. Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Santiago Island”

Galápagos Close-Up: Rábida Island

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Rábida Island is relatively small, with steep rocky cliffs and only one beach where it is possible to land. The distinctive deep red color of its sand is due to the high iron content in the lava. The island is known for these maroon beaches and its abundance of birds. (The small black bird mid-photo above is a penguin!) Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Rábida Island”

Galápagos Close-Up: Isabela

While many people associate the Galápagos with Charles Darwin and his theories of evolution, what they may not realize is that the islands themselves evolve over time as well.   The tectonic plates that caused the volcanic eruptions that became islands continue to move eastward at the rate of a few inches a year.  Continue reading “Galápagos Close-Up: Isabela”

Seven Wonders of The Galápagos

There are few places in the world more “wonder-full” than the Galápagos Islands. A magical combination of wilderness (only three of the 19 islands have any resident population of the human kind) and wildlife, activities in the archipelago are strictly regulated by the Ecuadorian government and its National Park Service  in order to preserve this UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I cannot think of another place I have visited where a picture is indeed worth more than a thousand words. Accordingly, my Galápagos posts will present a photographic record of a week beyond my imagination — with a few fun facts thrown in. As an introduction, here are seven of the infinite wonders we saw in just one week.  Continue reading “Seven Wonders of The Galápagos”