A Brand New Way to Re-Discover the Galapagos Islands

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Issue #103, September 2003

1) Galapagos Human History Part 1
2) The Largest Bird in the Islands
3) Galapagos Climate Update
4) Family Travel On Board M/V Santa Cruz
5) Galapagos Amazing Facts?

1) The Galapagos Human History, Part 1: The magic of Galapagos officially starts the first time there is a documented version that talks about them. Let's go back in time some 468 years...

1535: Galapagos is officially discovered by the Bishop Tomás de Berlanga.

1570: Galapagos appears for the first time in Abraham Ortelius's map "Theatrum Orbis Terrarum". They were called "Insulae de los Galopegos" (yes, no spelling mistake)

1593-1710: Pirates use Galapagos as a refuge (British, Dutch, French)

1793: Establishment of Post Office Bay (Hathaway's Post Office) in Floreana Island. Today, following this historic tradition of 200 years, the barrel continues to be visited.

1832: Ecuador takes official possession of the Galapagos Islands (in Floreana Island). An Ecuadorian party, led by Don Jose de Villamil establishes a colony that at some point had some 300 persons.

1835: The HMS Beagle visits the Galapagos Islands for a 5 week period. On board a young man, Charles Darwin, experiences the most revealing trip ever taken. The basis of the theory of natural selection takes examples from the Galapagos.

1859: Charles Darwin publishes a book that will change western thinking forever: "The Origin of Species". The Galapagos Islands receive the reputation of being a living laboratory of evolution. On its publishing date, the first edition becomes a sold-out item in less than two hours.

1892: The Galapagos Islands are renamed as "Archipielago de Colon" (Archipelago of Columbus). Spanish names are officially given to the Islands.

2) Waved Albatross Reproduction on Espanola Island: Without a doubt, one of the best visitor sites in Galapagos Islands is the island of Espanola (Hood). Not only this Island is one of the oldest ones, geologically speaking, but it has a high number of Galapagos' endemic species, and some are even Island endemics.

The largest Galapagos bird, the Waved Albatross (Diomedea irrorata), nests exclusively on this spectacular Island from April to December.

Its population is been estimated between 20-22 thousand individuals. The albatrosses migrate out from the Island during the hot season months.

Their migration naturally happens with the arrival of the warm waters from Central America, where food sources for marine birds normally decrease.

With the return of the southeast trade winds (beginning of the dry season), albatrosses find their only terrestrial paradise: Espanola Island.

You will be delighted by their courtship display, their tameness towards visitors and what is best by the simplicity of their beauty.

See More About the Waved Albatross

3) Galapagos Climate Update: This year, the Dry Season arrived in a fast and efficient way. What was believed to be a hot season anomaly, ended up being a normal year with no extreme conditions (temperature and rainfall).

When the dry season finally walked in, the lowering of sea temperatures, however, was rather abrupt and faster than expected. This has led to think of a possible La Niña season. If the El Niño anomaly implies warmer waters and rains in greater proportion, the La Niña anomaly is exactly the opposite.

This is going to be a very productive season for all sea-depending species, like boobies, penguins, albatrosses, etc.

To comfortably enjoy all the marine attractions Galapagos is famous for, we highly recommend to bring a shortie wet suit (1/8 or 1/4 inch thick). You will be able to snorkel for over an hour, and that simply means more fish, more sea lions, more penguins, more ever lasting memories.

More About Galapagos Climate Here

4) Family Travel On Board M/V Santa Cruz: Take advantage of an incredible promotion to cruise Galapagos Islands on board Santa Cruz ship. Book your travel now, more details here:

Galapagos Islands Cruise On Board Santa Cruz Ship

5) Galapagos Amazing Facts:

  • Inside the calderas of Cerro Azul and La Cumbre Volcanoes there is a mineral lake
  • Flightless cormorants only inhabit Fernandina Island and the western shores of Isabela Island
  • The Nazca Booby was called, until about a year ago, Masked Booby
  • Out of the three booby species, only the red-footed booby nests on tress and bushes
  • Baltra Island ("The Rock") was occupied as a USA Military base during the 1941-1948 period. Today's airstrip is the original one (of course, it has been reconditioned several times)

More About Galapagos

Recommended Galapagos Books

Galapagos Islands Pictures

Galapagos Green Sea Turtles

Galapagos Volcanic Eruption

Top Galapagos Tours

See you in the next issue of Galapagos Expedition and hoping you visit Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands soon...


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