Galapagos Islands
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The Galapagos Islands, officially the Archipelago de Coln [Islands of Columbus], are part of Ecuador, having
been annexed in 1832. They lie some 600 miles off the western coast of South America,
 almost centered on the equator. Because of their historical significance, we treat them here on a separate page.
 They are commonly called by the name of the giant tortoises that live there, the Galapagos turtle.
 The special significance of these islands is due to Charles Darwin who visited them in 1835.
 His research here led to his landmark book, "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection",
 published in 1859 and still in-print.  A significantly large percentage of the flora and fauna are endemic
 to the islands, they exist no place else on earth. The entire archipelago is listed as an
endangered UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Click on any picture to enlarge it.

Map Overview of the Galapagos Trip   Map of the Galapagos Islands

This is a broad outline of our trip. We flew from Quito, Ecuador to the Galapagos Islands where we joined our yacht. The right map is an overview of the Galapagos Islands.
 map of Galapagos islands   

Darwin really did put the Galapagos Islands "on the map" and on the world's stage. His landmark work has recalibrated almost all biological research. A new edition of Darwin's landmark work, and a facsimile of the original edition. Click here to see Amazon reviews and editions.
 "charles darwin" "origin of the species"   

  

Jerrold Patz & Naimah Zakaria At the Entrance to Galapagos National Park   Galapagos National Park Marker

Jerrold Patz & Naimah Zakaria at The Charles Darwin Research Station, Inside the Galapagos National Park

Here are three gateway photos, the left, to the Galapagos National Park, and the right, to the Charles Darwin Research Station.
 picture Jerrold Patz Naimah  "Jerrold Patz"  tourist attraction

Until you actually see one, you can't really appreciate the size of these giant tortoises. They are like large, slow-moving, tables. Two other pieces of trivia: the movie character E.T. was modeled on a Galapagos tortoise, and their name is actually derived from an old Spanish word 'galapaga' used to describe a saddle for a horse. The carapace of the tortoise really does resemble a saddle.
 "Jerrold Patz" "Galapagos Tortoise"  photo Jerrold Patz and Naimah

The Namesake Galapagos Tortoise   Us with a Galapagos Tortoise

Giant Galapagos Tortoise: the model for E.T.   Galapagos Tortoises Eating

The Famed Blue Footed Booby   Blue Footed Booby Incubating An Egg

Blue Footed Booby

This was one of my target photo opportunities, the blue footed booby. They are quite incongruous with the odd-colored pale-blue feet.
 blue-footed booby boobies

Their name derives from what the Spanish called them,
 "bobos" which means clowns.

The Galapagos is endemic to many species, they are found no place else on earth. Among them is the marine iguana. Although similar to his terrestrial counterpart, this iguana eats only marine vegetation and is an adept swimmer and diver. It was species like this one, similar and so different from its look-alikes that led Darwin to his research conclusions.
 "Galagapos marine iguana"   

Galapagos Marine Iguanas   Closeup of a Galapagos Marine Iguana

Galapagos Marine Iguanas   Marine iguanas sunning themselves on the rocks

Jerrold Patz with Galapagos Sea Lions   Galapagos Sea Lions

Not So Easy Landing on South Plaza Island

Galapagos Sea Lions were everywhere. They were large, often quite smelly, and quite playful. They often made island landings quite difficult as they ran between our feet (right pictures).
 picture Jerrold Patz  "Jerrold Patz"

The Galapagos penguin is the second smallest in the world (the fairy penguin is the smallest). There was a census of 14 Galapagos penguins at Bartholomew Island, here are pictures of fully half (7) of the population.

Galapagos Penguins   Galapagos Penguins

Galapagos Penguins

White tipped Reef Shark swimming

If you look carefully at about 3 o'clock, you'll see a white tipped reef shark swimming just below the mangrove swamp.

 

Here is a montage of additional pictures.

Mouse over any picture for a description. Click on any picture to expand it into a larger view.

 

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Jerrold Patz Naimah Zakaria "Charles Darwin" tourist attraction tortoise "sea lion" Galapagos Ecuador equator "Pinnacle Rock" Baltra "blue-footed booby" "blue footed booby" "giant turtle" "jerrold Patz"   "sea lion" dolphin zodiac "galapagos research station" "charles darwin research station" "mickey mouse cactus" Joel Paula Frank Sue John  Baltra baltra airport   yacht daphne Yacht Daphne   frigate bird  sunset  rays crabs   Sally Lightfoot crabs