| Apr 10, 2013
We’re on our way to Peru from Ecuador. Peru will sadly be our last stop on the trip and country 27 in our year of travel. The last week in the Galapagos was truly exceptional and maybe our best stop so far. Charlotte says that I say that after every country, but this time I really mean it.
The Galapagos is not like other national parks. Sitting 600 miles from the closest land, the Galapagos is more like a museum of nature than a traditional national park. In 1959 the government of Ecuador had the foresight to make the 15 main islands and more than 1,000 islets of the Galapagos a protected reserve. An astonishing 97.5% of the land and all of the surrounding waters were closed to development, cultivation or even habitation. Along with protected status came a series of rules that admittedly seemed a little heavy-handed at first (i.e. no visiting the islands without an approved itinerary, no visiting the islands without a naturalist certified by the park, no straying from the well-marked paths, no flash photography and no touching any plants, shells, rocks or animals).
After a week of walking and swimming among a multitude of animals that have absolutely no fear of humans, it’s abundantly clear that the rules work. It’s also clear that the Galapagos sets an enviable mark as stewards of a natural resource.
My memories of the Galapagos are many, but two stand out among the rest. First, is the lasting impression of raw nature as uncorrupted by man as I’ve ever seen. I will always remember the times we spent snorkeling among the turtles, sea-lions and penguins that were as curious and eager to play with us as we were with them. Second, I’ll always remember the learning we shared as a family about Darwin, natural selection and evolution. As peers we read books, watched BBC documentaries and actively learned about these weighty topics of science. I’m sure our takeaways from the week’s learning are all different, but hopefully the memories of learning as a family is something we all five share.
Read More about their trip in the Galapagos Islands