Galapagos Islands

– Traveler;
– Photographer;
– Computer network specialist;
– Candidate of Biological Sciences.

Punched by the study of high-mountain ecosystems, travel photography and human behavior in extreme environmental conditions.


Everything happened, as usual, quite trite. In early 1535, the bishop ship of Panama Thomas de Berborg, who followed the course in Peru, got into full calm and was forced to drift to the West for several days. And the ambush was that freshwater stocks were on the outcome. However, on March 10, the island was seen with vegetation on the shore and the unmeasured number of turtles, sea cats, iguan and other livelihood. But! No fresh water. Generally. I do not know how the bishop, but I was exactly shock from the awareness of this fact: there is life – there is no water – no. None of the 13 large and 108 small islands.

Black and brown lava, green mangars and ocean from the height of a small plane.

The largest island of the archipelago – Isabella in bad weather.

Bishop with their people survived due to the pulp of induction cacti containing a large amount of moisture. So, having engaged in cacti and swore from the island to the island in search of fresh water to return to the continent, they opened the Galapagos Islands. The bishop itself did not call them. He, he, not before. The very same name comes from the Spanish word Galápago, which means the type of horsepower. The fact is that the shell of some local turtles is very similar to the saddle.

One of the numerous small islands.

Officially, however, this group of the islands was named Archipiélago de Colón, in honor of Christopher Columbus, which, by the way, never attended this region. And the name of some of the islands is related to the famous I fog into a new light. For example, Pinta and Santa María islands were named after the two ships. Fernandina and Isabela – in honor of his patrons, King and Queen of Spain. Pinzón – In honor of Martín Alonzo Pinzón, Pinta Ship Captain. Here is such a story.

Volcanoes and Lava.

Galapagos – Oceanic Islands. They appeared as a result of volcanic activity about 5 million years ago and have never been part of the mainland. In fact, these are tops of the mountains sticking over the surface of the ocean. The youngest islands are located in the northern and western parts of the archipelago, while the oldest are in the south-east. This is due to the fact that it was on the western border of the archipelago that the volcanic-active zone of the earth’s crust is located, known as the Nask Plateau. Plateau slowly shifts to the southeast, about 7 centimeters per year, dragging the islands. The first educated islands moved from the zone of volcanic activity, and new ones were formed in their place. Accordingly, the west is the island, the more vollacanically active. The last eruptions on Isabel Island were marked in 1979 and 1982, and on Fernandine, located west, in 1978, 1984, 1988, 1991 and 1995.

Part of the ten-meter caldera of Sierra Negra Volcano on Island Isabella.
It is not worth descending – the breakthrough of gases and lava takes place regularly.

Ultimately, the islands will connect with the South American continent, it will be true that it will not be very soon.

Galapagos volcanoes are distinguished by the presence of huge crater slides, referred to as calderars and reaching up to 10 km in diameter. Down is better not to descend – the volcano actively highlights gases. Basalt Lava, cooling after eruptions, acquires one of two base forms. The first is a smooth, pulling form, called Pehoyekhoye-Lava (PAEHoehoe-Lava). The second, called AA-Lava (AA-Lava), is broken, torn and very difficult. Lava last eruption – black. Old lava is oxidized and becomes red.

Harrow Aa-Lava.

Missing water.

I do not know what an explanation of the possibility of life without water found for myself Bishop de Berborg, first seeing Galapagos. Perhaps referred to the traditional phrase: "All the will of God". Maybe this answer and arranged the team of his ship, but scientists – hardly. Despite the fact that the archipelago is located almost at the Equator, two seasons are clearly pronounced here. Cold, lasting since June to December, caused by raising the cold Peruvian flow, carrying water from Antarctica. Warm (from December to May) caused by the brings of warm masses from the coast of Panama. It is due to this flow of the bishop and the islands were open.

Famous Galapagos Turtle.

Mangrove thickets with salty swamps – typical on the edges of the big islands of the archipelago.

Galapagos Islands

The preciputes fall out, as a rule, only in the cold season, but in quantity, obviously insufficient to maintain the life of most plants. And if the mangrove thickets adapted to get salty water, and cacti – they and cactuses to squeeze moisture directly from the air, then due to which the rest of the plants live – I could not understand. Could not until I went to the volcano. Imagine a huge lava field with rare bushes and idic cacti. You wind kilometers on this desert, but as soon as you start typing the height – the vegetation is transformed, becoming all the thick and diverse. In a semi-kilometer above sea level, you get into the real jungle.

In the jungle, where water does not run by the streams, but simply. hangit. Powerful dense fog, which is instantly condensed on face and clothing. And the volcano, like a caring mother, keeps shawl-covered fog around him, giving life to everything around. This phenomenon is the local people call Garúa. So live: plant, but do not watered – and everything grows.

Citrus Plantation in Garúa.


According to the latest research, the vascular plants of the Galapagos Islands are represented by 863 species, subspecies and variations, of which 749 – flowering plants. 216 species of flowering – endemics, that is, they live here and no more on the planet are not found. Seven groups of flowering plants have achieved such specialization, which began to stand out from nearby groups at the birth level. Some five million years have passed, and formed as seven endemic generics of plants. This is Darwiniothamnus, LecoCarpus, Macracea and Scalesia from a family family; Brachycereus and Jasminocereus from Cactic and Sicyocaulis Rights from Pumpkin Family.

Sea iguana. If there is a ridge – it means the male.

Darwiniothamnus Alternifolius Lawesson & AdSersen. Darwin Shrub – Endemic Isabella Island.
It grows only on the slopes of Cerro Azul and Sierra Negra Negra Islands Islands and Sierra Negra.

Jasminocereus Thouarsii Var. SCLEROCARPUS (K. Schum.) Anderson & Walkington. Cactus Candelabre, another representative of the endemic kind. This variation is growing only on the islands of Fernandina and Isabella.

By the way, if you compare with Hawaii – the same volcanic islands, but with older, already 32 endemic genus grow on them. Another 271 type of plants are the aborigines of the archipelago, t. E. colonized the islands on their own, without human participation. About 90% of them arrived here from South America. The remaining 262 species has a man. Currently, this process is stopped: all arriving on the islands undergo careful control for the importation of fruits and seeds. You can only carry those plants that are already growing on the islands. Those who do not understand this can say goodbye to the Galapagos forever, and not see them: the local department prohibits entering and sends mountain travelers back to the continent to the closest flight.

Crabs on the galapaghos – the favorite food of all who are not too lazy, but it does not get them less. In the picture – the female.

Galapagos Islands

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