Friday 2 January 2015

Technology: Will the Galapagos Islands Ever Catch Up?

Old Fashioned Communication System
Oh yes - technology. Will the Galapagos Islands ever catch up? For me, this is an incredibly loaded question. Sure, I'd certainly like to have more consistent internet, telephone and wifi service. I'm glad that Google maps is continuing to map our islands. I like the idea that drones can perform research and go to places that people can't and that by using drones above the terrain, humans can avoid disturbing the ground cover and animals. Still, I have to admit feeling a bit of nostalgia for the "olden days"when, like the sea lions and iguanas, I was left undisturbed with my thoughts and nature. Technology means change to the Galapagos Islands, the most prized real estate in the world for maintaining and preserving natural history.
Even with the advances in technology that we feel here, I can be frustrated sometimes. Though I'm more than accustomed to it, it never fails to be exasperating to be on a boat and talking on the phone when suddenly, in the middle of the sentence, I am behind a volcano and lose the connection. I call again; we cannot resume talking. Depending upon where I am going, it quite literally may be days before I get to use the phone again. There are few cell phone towers here. It really can be hit or miss.

As for the internet, I can't say enough about the fact that on a boat there is no internet and even on land we usually have to wait for the internet to connect. I know that your Google search may take .23 seconds for millions of results; it's not the same for me. We, of course, have no fiber optic cable running 600 miles out to the middle of the Pacific Ocean. So, even though we do have wifi, it's availability may be quite sketchy. It's even influenced by how cloudy it is or whether rain or wind interferes with the signal. It's no one's fault.  It's just a fact of life.

But, progress is being made all the time. When I find myself struggling for a connection, I remind myself that we didn't even have electricity 24 hours a day until 15 years ago. Can you even imagine that back there on the mainland? And we had no internet at all until 2012! I know - it's astounding.

Because of my own frustrations with technology, I understand how Galapagos visitors from around the world get exasperated too. If you're used to immediate gratification and can't get your email, it can be tough.

But, I tell all of those who come to Galapagos to do what I do and think about those good old days. Then, take a breath and relax. After all, Galapagos time is slow and meant to be enjoyed.  This is a fundamental truth here and one that I hope all of our guests will understand when they come to visit our paradise. Whether on land or sea; in an internet cafe or a hotel; wherever you are, you have to be prepared to experience communications differently from the way you experience them at home.

For more of my thoughts about communication in Galapagos take a look at my earlier post about Galapagos technology advances.


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