Galapagos Islands: Sharks & sea turtles

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Posted by Merry on March 17, 2020 at 19:41:16:

When you say "Galapagos Islands", I immediately think of Charles Darwin.

On November 24, 1889, Charles Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection". His observations of the novel bird and animal species and their differences from island to island ultimately laid the groundwork for evolutionary biology.

Charles Darwin

In the introduction, Darwin wrote, “Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained – namely, that each species has been independently created – is erroneous. I am fully convinced that species are not immutable; that that those belonging to what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species. Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.”

Our trip to the Galapagos last month was a long-awaited chance to see the islands that Darwin explored during his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in 1835, and to see some of the animals that shaped his revolutionary theories. I tried to imagine what it was like to land on those remote, volcanic islands for the first time.

Darwin’s Arch

The rugged formation of Darwin Island belies the wealth of marine animals below.

The reality of diving at Darwin is: Claw your way against a fierce current to the cleaning station, hang onto a rock and wait for the scalloped hammerheads to appear.

Our exceptional dive guide, Natalia Cifuentes Vivante
Watching scalloped hammerheads coming in to be cleaned.

Grab a rock and hang on.

Phil loves current
There was definitely current.

Scalloped hammerhead shark, Sphyma lewini

Silky shark, Carcharhinus falciformis

Eagle ray, Aetobatus narinari

Our fearless leader, Richard Salas, with wonderfully informative dive guide Juan Carlos Balda
No problem spotting Juan Carlos!

Hawksbill sea turtle, Eretmochelys imbricate

Green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas and a black jack, Caranax lugubris

White-tipped reef shark, Triaenodon obesus

White-tipped reef shark with a rainbow runner

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