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SOUTH AMERICA 12/09

Buenos Aires | Iguaza |  Mendosa | To Bariloche | Bariloche Day 1 | Bariloche Day 2 | To Ushuaia | Ushuaia
Voyage on the Beagle Day 1 | Voyage on the Beagle Day 2 | Santiago de Chile Day 1 | Santiago de Chile Day 2
Santiago to Quito | Galapagos Day 1 | Galapagos Day 2 | Galapagos Day 3
Return to Quito Day 1 | Return to Quito Day 2
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18 December 2009      Galapagos: Day 3

The day began in mass confusion. We awoke to our third day of rain-mist. At breakfast we were led to believe that we were going to be taken by taxi to two points on the Island where we would hike first to a beach and then to a pool where we might see flamingos.

After breakfast we were picked up by our guide and told that we were going by boat to the same two places. The boat was, well, a scow. Smaller by far than the one the day before and no facilities for getting off the boat to the shore. The people were characteristically nice but the ocean was rough and the personalities of the crew did not make up for the roller-coaster ride.

o let us ashore so we never got off the boat. We motored to Tortuga Bay (meaning Turtle Bay).
It was a nice protected cove where there was a variety of bird and sea life. A number of young people were there swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. (They'd taken the alternate path to get here: walking about 45 minutes through lava and mangroves to get to the beach. No thanks.) We didn't come across any sharks or rays yesterday but today the captain found some for us in the shallows among the Turtle Bay mangroves. We even saw some sea turtles up close. It was low tide so they could not get close enough We ended up not going to the second spot, Garraperata, another 45 minutes through increasingly rough seas. The flamingos, even if they were there (by no means a certainty), could only be seen by getting out of the boat in choppy water and walking 20 minutes.

After spending three days here and hearing lectures both on the cruise through Patagonia and from the guides here, I'm thinking that Darwin's findings had to be less a discussion of evolution in the sense that it is used today but instead more focused on adaptation. The Galapagos Islands must have been a great library for what passed as science in the days of Darwin. The taxonomic classification of species had to be heady stuff when the same species varied from island to island depending on such things as weather, existence of predators, and food. The birds, reptiles, and animals didn't evolve part of a back-to-nature movement into something else; they adapted to fit the ecosystem they were in.

After having spent three days in what is considered the best hotel in the Galapagos, I am convinced that the Galapagos is not a place but a dream. There are environmentalists who see the place as Mecca. But in reality there is not much here beyond a few species of wildlife that are preserved as best possible to mimic their existence hundreds of years ago. Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with anyone's Mecca. It's just that the reality of the place is a little underwhelming to me. It is, because of the large numbers of tourists, becoming increasingly zoo-like.

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Buenos Aires | Iguaza |  Mendosa | To Bariloche | Bariloche Day 1 | Bariloche Day 2 | To Ushuaia | Ushuaia
Voyage on the Beagle Day 1 | Voyage on the Beagle Day 2 | Santiago de Chile Day 1 | Santiago de Chile Day 2
Santiago to Quito | Galapagos Day 1 | Galapagos Day 2 | Galapagos Day 3
Return to Quito Day 1 | Return to Quito Day 2


HOME  |  AUSTRALIA 2003  |  ACROSS AMERICA  |  IMPRESSIONS OF CHINA  |  VIETNAM  |  AFRICA  |  AROUND THE WORLD 2009  |  SOUTH AMERICA 2009  |  LEGENDARY CULTURES 2011
  |  TURKEY AND GREECE  |  CIRCLE THE ARCTIC