Rapa Nui | More Moai and Some Wild Horses

Ahu Tongariki_15 Moai facing the Quarry
The Moai at Ahu Tongariki face their “birthplace”

After visiting the quarry at  Rano Raraku ( Rapa Nui | Seeing is Believing Pt I ), it’s time to explore the island to see how far and wide these monolithic statues traveled. No one knows for sure how the Moai were transported.  NOVA’s  Secrets of Easter Island  provides an excellent overview of prominent theories. Continue reading “Rapa Nui | More Moai and Some Wild Horses”

Rapa Nui | Seeing is Believing Pt I

Approaching the Quarry
Approaching Rano Raraku

Miles from nowhere – the nearest inhabited land is 1289 miles away – Rapa Nui (also known as Easter Island) is one of the most enchanting and remarkable places I have visited. In the tradition of great things coming in small packages, this 63 square mile triangular-shaped island has enough wonderful sites and activities to warrant spending at least a week. We barely scratched the surface with six full days of hiking, biking and exploring and hope to return one day.  Continue reading “Rapa Nui | Seeing is Believing Pt I”

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: 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”