Galapagos Islands

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Carole and I spent the Y2K New Years visiting the Galapagos Archipelago, a cluster of 13 volcanic islands in the Pacific ocean, six hundred miles off the coast of Ecuador. The islands, maintained as a nature preserve by the government of Ecuador, are known for their many species of unique wildlife.

Map of Galapagos Archipelago

Island of Floreana

This is not Charles Darwin

The island of Floreana is starkly beautiful, with sharp lava outcroppings evidence of its recent geological birth. Although the equator passes through the islands, the climate is moderate. The dry season is September through January.

Charles Darwin visited the Galapagos islands in 1835, and his observations of unique wildlife helped him develop his ideas about evolution and natural selection. This is a photo of Carole, not Charles Darwin. Nutrient-rich ocean currents, geological isolation, and an equatorial location have evolved species of plants and animals found nowhere else. Being quite a unique species herself, Carole was right at home on the islands.


Jim and his buddy

Blue-footed Booby and Chick

There are many species of Galapagos iguanas, ranging up to six feet in length. (That's the iguana on the left.) Iguanas look ferocious, but are actually quite docile and passive.

Nature red in tooth and claw. This blue-footed booby and her chick were keeping a wary eye on a Galapagos hawk circing nearby. (Actually, it might be his chick, since males and females share child-raising duties and are hard to tell apart.)



Galapagos Tortoise

E.T. Go Home

Giant Galapagos tortoises can go three years without food or water. Pirates in the 19th century would stack living tortoises upside down on the decks of their ships and butcher them months later for fresh meat.



Nobody knows the life expectancy of the Galapagos tortoise. Charles Darwin took a young tortoise from the islands to Australia in 1835 and it is still going strong, 165 years later.

Sea-Lion Pup


This little sleepy-head is as friendly as he looks. Galapagos wildlife have never learned to fear man.

The 80 passenger Polaris was our home for our trip. The Polaris is owned and operated by Lindblad Special Expeditions.

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