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Galapagos Part II

Last Saturday I embarked on my second trip to the Galapagos Islands.  Nothing is more hair-raising than taking 30 kids to a foreign country.  With my handy SPF 30 in one hand, and a travel size johnson & johnson baby powder (a self-proclaimed sponsor of my summer European travels) in the other I felt like I was ready for anything the Equator had to throw at me.  Sadly, in the end the Ecuadorian sun got the best of me, especially when I had to give up my touristy hat to a British student who needed it far more than I did.

Animal shots below, Landscape shots coming up in a few weeks.

Each of the three islands we visited had its own unique flare.  San Cristobal with the snorkel at Kicker Rock and the streets that were overrun with sea lions.  Isabella Island with its crystal clear water, 2,000 inhabitants and an active volcano.  It was also the first time I have ever seen penguins in the wild. Finally Santa Cruz, home to one of the premiere scientific field stations in the world.  A week of science, photography, snorkeling and hiking that won’t soon be forgotten, and tortoises, we shouldn’t forget about the tortoises…

Evolutionary Mecca, The Galapagos Islands

Nearly 180 years ago Charles Darwin came to the islands as a 25 year naturalist who would rather draw barnacles than have a girlfriend.  Legend has it he was not always an old frumpy looking bald man with a beard, but a kid with a serious knack for Biology.  The statue of Darwin at his foundation is the Darwin that no one seems to think about, or at least the version that I have overlooked, the mutton-chopped naturalist who did all of the fieldwork that modern day Biology is based on.

I know what your thinking, did I see any Komodo dragons???

The answer is NO…  Since Komodo Dragons are not found in the Galapagos…. I did see lots of other animals, a lot of which are only found on the island chain.

I also met someone who appreciates terrible American touristy Spanish accents more than I do, and he happened to be a naturalist for National Geographic, and our guide for a few days.  He took us on a biological whirlwind of adaptive radiation, botany, invasive species, marine biology and ecotourism.  It made the 4 day scouting trip seem like two weeks,  more mentally challenging than physical, because lets be honest, not too many people want to discuss Biology outside of us foolhardy science teachers.