A Visual Orgasm on the Galapagos Islands


All photos by yours truly

So I've been in the Galapagos for 5 days, and it seems like every dispatch I've written brims with doom and gloom—I've hit on the islands' huge water management issues, the problems with education, and an illegal ongoing sea lion penis harvest, to name a few. I feel like I haven't adequately addressed why these islands are worth such extraordinary consideration and attention.

Put simply, the reason is this: They are awesome.
Today, I accompanied the teachers on our first immersive tour of the Galapagos Islands' illustrious ecosystem. We embarked for Espanola, one of the scenic, uninhabited islands in the Galapagos archipelago.

It was easily one of the most stunning places I have ever been.

Rather than merely explain what I saw, I thought a few photos would do better justice to the island's singular beauty. Bear in mind that these pictures were taken by yours truly, the most amateurish of amateur photographers, and that all were taken in a span of about two hours. I hope they at least begin to convey the almost alien nature of the spectacular ecosystem: giant marine iguanas lounge about in the sun oblivious to the sea lions' gargling calls on the beach, blue-footed boobies engage in mating rituals while tourists stand merely feet away, and sea lion pups curiously waddle up to you while waved albatrosses and Galapagos hawks soar overhead.

Anyhow, here's a look:

An Amateur Photo Essay of Espanola, Galapagos

Blue-Footed Boobies and Marine Iguanas


Sea lion pup


A curious Nazca bird


Marine Iguana close-up


The Galapagos Hawk


Me and a sea lion pup

Selected Reactions from the Teachers Upon Touring This Island:
"This is a biologist's heaven . . . I think I'm going to teach only the Galapagos for the rest of the year." - Pat Arndt

"This is the most incredible place I've ever seen." - Elizabeth Lockwood

"It's a visual orgasm. There's nothing else to say." - Eduardo del Solar

30 of the top teachers in the US are making a trek from the Florida Everglades to the Galapagos Islands in order to engage a series of global conservation issues in the Toyota International Teacher Program. I'm traveling alongside the educators to report on what we discover about the threats and wonders on modern day Galapagos.

Tags: Conservation | Ecuador | Endangered Species | Galapagos | Tourism