The Galapagos Islands are fascinating in at least three ways. One is experiential - the profligacy and diversity of animals on land and in the sea. Another is historical - Charles Darwin visited in 1835 and his theory of evolution was in part inspired by his observations of the animals. In addition, the geology is unique.
This is one of the few places in the world where you can photograph one animal, such as a sea lion or a blue footed booby, and several other species of animal will also appear in the photo. These may include iguanas, lizards, and crabs.
There are several symbiotic relationships between species, with once finding food by eating what are pests for another. So crabs help iguanas, lava lizards help sea lions, and finches help giant tortoises.
The animals have no fear of humans and no interest either. So it is possible to get very close to them.
The geology is fascinating. Islands are created above a volcanic hot spot but are then slowly carried away by movements of tectonic plates.
Up to five ocean currents mingle, creating the unique ecology. These are the cold Humboldt current from Antarctica, The warm Panama current, the cyclical El Nino, the Cromwell current, and the South Equatorial current.
For more on the ocean currents, see http://www.galapagosonline.com/nathistory/Oceanography/Currents.html
The 2008 BBC documentary: GALAPAGOS THE ISLANDS THAT CHANGED THE WORLD is both beautiful and informative. It has been published on DVD.
by Charlie Nelson