Smithsonian Magazine Introduces EvoTourism – An Evolution World Tour

In the January 2012 issue, Smithsonian Magazine is introducing Evotourism. The word isn’t in the dictionary. But they think it’s worth adding to the lexicon because it describes a new kind of travel.

evo•tourism (ē vō toor’ iz’ əm) n. travel intended to promote awareness of evolution.

The article celebrates ten desinationa that span 300 million years and six continents. The destinations include:

  • Kangaroo Island, Australia – Where the Wild Things Are
  • Foraminifera Sculpture Park, China – 330-Million-Year-Old Organisms
  • Wadi Hitan, Egypt – Whales Walked Here
  • The Cradle of Humankind, South Africa – Human Evolution History
  • Jurassic Coast, England – A Fossil Treasure Trove
  • Mendel’s Garden, Czech Republic – Where Modern Genetics Was Born
  • Ashfall Fossil Beds, Nebraska – The Prehistoric Pompeii
  • Isle Royale, Michigan – A Fight for Survival
  • Galápagos Islands, Ecuador – Where Darwin Found Natural Selection
  • Mount St. Helens, Washington – Life Begins Anew

Of these, the last two are destinations visited by small ships (which, of course, excites us at Sunstone Tours & Cruises).

Galápagos Islands, Ecuador

Darwin’s Laboratory

  • Best Evotourism Site For History Buffs
  • Best Evotourism Site For Budding Photographers

The 19 islands of the Galápagos are the tips of volcanoes that began emerging from the ocean some five million years ago, steaming with fresh lava and devoid of life. The plants and animals that dwell there today are descended from castaways that arrived by sea or air. Finches and mockingbirds were blown off course by storms; iguanas floated on rafts of debris; and the tree-like scalesia plants are the overgrown progeny of sunflowers that made landfall via airborne seeds. It’s easy to study the diversity of species here in part because there aren’t all that many species to see.

Before You Go

When to go

January through March provides the calmest ocean, peak snorkeling & scuba diving and observing the mating season for land birds, sea lions and nesting season for turtles. Low travel season, from May 1 to June 14 and September 15 to October 31 will save you money.

Getting There

Fly from your airport to either Quito or Guayaquil, Ecquador, then fly to the Galapagos Islands. Exploring with a small ship cruise company will ensure your entrance to Galápagos National Park.

Read the entire article…

The Galápagos Islands are a stunning travel destination, best seen by a small ship cruise. Typically exploring several of its 19 islands, you’ll experience the full diversity of its wildlife, geology and history. Blue-footed boobies perform goofy mating dances, frigate birds with their inflated red pouches, sea lions and marine iguanas swim curious loops around snorkelers, and the only place on earth where penguins and flamingos cohabitate.

Read the entire article:

View Galápagos Islands Small Ship Cruise Itineraries

Mount St. Helens, Washington, USA

Life Begins Anew

  • Best Evotourism Site For Familes
  • Best Evotourism Site For Budding Photographers

Catastrophic events shape evolution by killing off plant and animal populations and creating opportunities for new species. When Mount St. Helens exploded, scientists seized the opportunity to study the aftermath. “It’s been an ecologist’s dream to stay here for decades to watch how life reinsinuates itself onto a landscape that had been wiped clean,” says Charlie Crisafulli of the U.S. Forest Service, who has worked on the mountain since shortly after its eruption.

On May 18, 1980, at 8:32—a Sunday morning—the volcano set off the largest landslide in recorded history. Rock slammed into Spirit Lake, sending water up the hillsides and scouring the slopes down to bedrock. Another hunk of mountain spilled 14 miles down the North Fork Toutle River, burying the valley under an average of 150 feet of sediment. A blast obliterated, toppled or singed old-growth trees as far as 20 miles away. A column of ash soared 15 miles high, falling across 22,000 square miles. Flows of gas and rock at 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit surged down the slopes, incinerating all life in a six-square-mile area now known as the pumice plain.

Before You Go

When to go

American Cruise Lines sails the Columbia & Snake Rivers from April through November.

Getting There

American Cruise Lines sailings embark from either Portland, OR or Clarkston, WA.

Read the entire article…

American Cruise Lines is currently the only small ship cruise company that makes a stop at Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. At the nearby observatory and interpretive center, you’ll be able to look right into the volcanic crater with its steaming dome, and witness first hand the destructive power and damage caused by this volcanic blast in 1980.

Read the entire article…

View this Columbia River cruise itinerary


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