Or at sea depending on your view. It’s so hard to choose a defining image or moment from our week long cruise in the Galapagos Islands, aka the Enchanted Isles.
Each day we were surrounded by brand new and special scenes of mating, courtship, territorial disputes, birth and death and every other extreme of wildlife up close and personal.
Maybe it was snorkelling with the giant green pacific turtles, swimming with the sea lions, watching penguins feeding underwater while a Golden Ray glides by in a shallow lagoon.
Or maybe it was watching marine iguanas feeding, the “sunburt” sally lightfoot crabs lazing about or giant sun fish (Mola-mola) chasing our zodiac on the middle of the ocean.
Flightless cormorant protecting their eggs and young from mocking birds known to steal tourist’s water bottles. A bright orange sally lightfoot crab scavenging a dead sea lion.
A snake devouring a lizard for lunch.
Or a blue footed booby consuming an oversized fish, all the while we are in the water swimming just metres away, this is the sort of experience one sees on Discovery Channel and here we are swimming with these creatures, that is me you see can in the picture!
In the main the wildlife dismissed us as a mere curiosity although sea lions attempted closer playfulness at times. Unfortunately this lack of fear has contributed to the extinction and near extinction of some species of the archipelago.
In my search to see why we could get so close to these animals I went searching and found an excerpt from Darwin’s book “The Voyage of the Beagle” which reads and I quote:
“In regard to the wildness of birds towards man, there is no way of accounting for it except as an inherited habit: comparatively few young birds, in any one year have been injured by man in England, yet almost all even nestlings are afraid of him: many individuals on the other hand, both at the Galapagos and the Falklands have been pursued and injured by man, yet have not learned a salutary dread of him. We may infer from the facts wager havoc the introduction of any new beast of prey must cause in a country, before the instincts of the indigenous inhabitants have become adapted to the strangers craft or power.
The Galapagos is a dreamlike wonder of natural beauty and we can see how Darwin would have been filled with inspiration to fuel his theory of evolution.
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