Galapagos Cruise Report: Española Island

From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galápagos June 20, 2010

Something I like is to be able to come back to the same place, cruise after cruise, and observe the changes that took place at the site. Life and nature in the Galápagos look steady and calm at a first sight. But the truth is that you can see the cycle of life going on, and every visit is different from the previous one. This morning at Punta Suarez on Española Island, I was surprised to observe how active the blue-footed booby colony was, and most of them were already covering a first egg.

The same occurred with the albatrosses, compared to the previous week. A much larger number of individuals were present on the island, and a majority were protecting their recently hatched egg, while we saw no mating display. 

Those are just the two examples of the changes I could appreciate in one week’s time at Punta Suarez. But they just reflect some major movement in the ecosystem cycles that rule life on the Galápagos. The Humboldt current comes stronger and the marine life thrives; whales are coming, birds are mating, soon the marine iguanas nest will hatch. We saw a hawk catching a lizard and struggle for its catch with another one.

This afternoon in Gardner Bay we observed how a turtle hatchling came out of the sand. The frigate birds didn’t allow him too much time wandering before they took to swallowing it. Meanwhile a sea lion pup was pursuing its mum on shore to be fed.

Life is a cycle and every day is given a unique representation where birth and death create a dynamic balance on the ecosystems. This seems so remote to our modern life that it is hard to understand how we are linked to this balance, how much we depend on the ecosystems to sustain a human’s well being.

The Galápagos Islands are a good place to realize our dependency on nature and the priority to build up a sustainable development.


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