Thursday 22 August 2013

Rules, Rules and More Rules

Galapagos Island National Park and Marine Reserve Map
Galapagos Island National Park and Marine Reserve Map

Preservatin of Blue Footed Boobies You've finally made it - you're in the Galapagos Islands.  You want to have fun, adventure, freedom, play on the beach, glide gently through the mangroves, climb inside a volcano.  Who knows what interesting or sometimes even crazy things you may want to do once you get here.  Your imagination may be running rampant.  And, believe me, you will have a marvelous time.  You will find yourself responding to new and unusual animals, sea creatures and birds with wonder - sometimes even the wonder of a child.  You'll swim with sea lions, watch all types of animals mating, walk on lava, see Mars-like vistas and the beautiful crystal clear ocean and you'll experience the most amazing sunrises and sunsets imaginable. 

Owl on Genovesa Island
But, I have to be perfectly honest, all of your adventures will be subject to "the rules."  There are lots of rules here and it's essential that you follow them.  All of the Galapagos Islands - both land and sea - are part of a vast national park that is environmentally protected and maintained by the Galapagos National Park Service.  The Park Service's primary responsibility is to keep the land and water here natural and untainted. After all, the animals were here first - and we want them to stay here "forever."  This is their home and they indulge us by allowing us to infringe on their environment.  They aren't the least bit afraid.  And that behavior is as intriguing as anything else you will experience here.  But bear in mind that part of the reason they are unafraid and don't mind our encroachment is that there are rules that prevent us from intentionally or accidentally interfering with their freedom, their food source and their habitat.  The rules are good ones - definitely not meant to be broken.  And, broken rules may lead to serious consequences not only for the one breaking them but for the wildlife and flora as well. As you will be told time and again, the ecosystem of the Galapagos Islands is delicate.  It is your responsibility to help us maintain nature's delicate balance.

So, let me explain: