Tuesday 29 April 2014

Galapagos and 21st Century Technology - Can You Hear Me Now?

Old-Time Communication
The title to this post is a bit of an oxymoron.  Yes, we do have technology in our cities - internet, wifi, cable t.v. and cell phone service. But, 21st Century technology in Galapagos is a world away from what you expect at home.

For those coming to Galapagos who live in large cities and take their connectivity for granted, a visit to the Galapagos Islands can be eye-opening; somewhat like when Dorothy was in Oz and told, "You aren't in Kansas anymore." Here, you are at the frontier of technology, not the cutting edge.
Tuesday 22 April 2014

Palo Santo Trees

Palo Santa Galapagos Wikipedia Image
Common Palo Santo
One of the interesting and unique flora in the living museum of the Galapagos Islands is the Palo Santo tree. We have two species of these trees here, one endemic and one more widely seen throughout South America.  Bursera graveolens is native and Burseraceae is endemic, meaning it evolved in the Galapagos and can be found no where else in the world.  There are even some Palo Santo trees that appear to be a hybrid of the two classified species. Most of the year, the tree has a gray/white bark. During the rainy season it displays bright green leaves.

Palo Santos Line the Lava Fields
This tree is often called the Holy Stick, not only because of its appearance, but also because of the incense-like scent that emanates from the oil and resin in its branches. The aroma is pleasant and not harsh.  The smell of the branches is reminiscent of what you may have experienced in church. The words Palo Santo translate to "the saint's wood."  In fact, because of this distinguishing feature, the common variety of the tree is actually used to produce incense.
Tuesday 15 April 2014

Daphne Major and Daphne Minor

Daphne Major and Minor with Galapagos Sunset  by Daphne's Mom Flickr Creative Commons
Daphne Major at Sunset
Visitors will not be scheduled for landings on Daphne Major or Daphne Minor, and your boat is likely to circumvent these islands during your cruise. Still, the scientific research that occurs on these two islands is important. Both also provide excellent underwater diving opportunities.

Daphne Island approaching from a boat  by SATaylor Flickr Creative Commons
Daphne Major consists of a tuff cone (for an explanation of tuff cones, see my earlier post on volcanoes) and a largely barren landscape. At its highest point the island is just 394 feet above sea level and it is 1.9 square miles in size.
Tuesday 8 April 2014

Charles Darwin Research Station - Fifty Years of Conservation

Charles Darwin Research Foundation
A "must see" destination for any visitor to the Galápagos Islands is The Charles Darwin Research Station. Once known primarily as the home of Lonesome George, now that George is gone, visitors are recognizing it for so much more: a major center for scientific study and the preservation of all species on the Galapagos Islands.

The scientists and conservationists responsible for founding the CDRS showed tremendous insight and foresight.  Long before conservation and sustainability were trendy, the CDRS saw that human intervention was needed to assure survival of the diversity and uniqueness of the Galapagos Islands.

Tortoise Breeding Project
This endeavour started in the 1950s when a young researcher, Irenäus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, came to the Galapagos Islands and became fascinated by the uniqueness of the islands fauna and flora, but likewise concerned about its future survival and the need for conservation.  He shared his findings with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), among other organizations, and strongly advocated for a biological research station for study and laboratory experimentation. Originally established as a center for tortoise breeding projects, CDRS has expanded to the forefront of organizations determined to protect endangered species and restore them to unprotected status.
Tuesday 1 April 2014

Galapagos Eco-Lodge Featured in Video Review

The Galapagos Eco-Lodge is so proud to have been featured in a video review that we want to share it with all of our friends and guests.

To learn more, visit the Galapagos Eco-Lodge website and Facebook pages and see additional reviews in The New York Times and on Trip Advisor.