Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Thinking about the Galapagos

Today I was driving home from my work training (yes, I have a job that I haven't mentioned—more on that another day) and listening to NPR. They were talking about the volcano that is erupting on Fernandina Island in the Galapagos. It got me thinking about our trip to the Galapagos in 2004. We visited Fernandina Island. I think that is where I took this picture of a marine iguana that lives only there. They are the only iguanas that live in the water, though they spend the nights on land.

Ray and I are not rich, at least not in the financial sense of the word, but we have given ourselves the luxury of as much travel as we have been able to swing over the years. I think it is the best thing you can do for yourself. I don't want to die having known only my own small corner of the world. We are not fancy travelers. We have no interest in resorts, or cruises or hanging out on beaches with other Americans. We prefer to experience other cultures insofar as American tourists can. We eat the local food and stay in local hotels and inns. Our trip to the Galapagos was not on a huge cruise ship (we saw them there) but on a small, 10 passenger boat with a local guide.

The Galapagos Islands, where Darwin got his ideas for his theories and his book On the Origin of the Species, is hard to describe because it is so unique in all the world. So unspoiled, so beautiful and so rich with life. It is awesome and humbling and in some way a mystical link to that ancient, authentic order of life and creation. It is as it should be, and being there made me more aware of what we all should be and how we all fit.

Tortoise at the Darwin Research Station.
They are trying to save these incredible creatures from extinction.

Famous blue-footed booby. They really are that blue.

After long, hot days of hiking over volcanic rock, we'd arrive back at the boat to white tablecloths and beautiful dinners on the deck as the sun went down. Note the bunch of bananas ripening on deck.

The Islands were created entirely by vocanic eruptions at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean near the equator. I can only imagine how thrilling it would be to see molten lava flowing into the sea. I wish I was there.

Of all the things that this economic crisis is depriving us of, I think I miss traveling the most. But I'm happy I have memories and photos.

Page from my sketchbook. Espanola Island in the Galapagos, April 7, 2004


  1. Beautiful pictures and drawing.
    I would love to go there too one day.

  2. What a fantastic sounding trip. I feel very fortunate to have been able to travel as much as I have. I think traveling opens people's eyes and minds in myriad ways. :-)

  3. Thank you for this travelog. I've never even seen a pictue of a blue footed booby before. Amazing color. That's the way to go. Your sketch is lovely.

  4. Thanks for sharing these photos.

  5. I missed my evening NPR commute both yesterday and today. I guess I will have to go online and listen to this report. The Galapagos Islands are on my list of must see places some day. What beautiful pictures and journal page.

  6. Your comments on traveling reminded me of a quote I love from Mark Twain..."Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime."

  7. Great pictures! I love to travel,too,and have had some wonderful experiences.
    Have you made a quilt of that blue-footed booby? But then who would believe the color?!

  8. I think I might've told you that, after we visited the Galapagos, I stopped reading the newspaper for several years. Daily human events seemed so inconsequential by comparison. Still do, in fact.

    Jer and I were just talking about how lucky we were to've traveled so much over the years, including the eclipse-chasing we did for a while. We're such homebodies at this point, but that feels right for now, too.

  9. Love the pictures. Will get there one day. Bless you.