Charles Robert Darwin, 1809 - 1882

When you say "Galapagos Islands", I immediately think of Charles Darwin. On November 24, 1859, Darwin published "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection". His observations of the novel bird and animal species and their differences from island to island ultimately laid the groundwork for evolutionary biology.

In his introduction, Darwin wrote, “Although much remains obscure, and will long remain obscure, I can entertain no doubt, after the most deliberate study and dispassionate judgment of which I am capable, that the view which most naturalists entertain, and which I formerly entertained – namely, that each species has been independently created – is erroneous. I am fully convinced that species are not immutable; that that those belonging to what are called the same genera are lineal descendants of some other and generally extinct species, in the same manner as the acknowledged varieties of any one species are the descendants of that species. Furthermore, I am convinced that Natural Selection has been the main but not exclusive means of modification.”

Our long-awaited trip to the Galapagos last month was a chance to see the islands that Darwin explored during his voyage on the H.M.S. Beagle in 1835, and to see some of the animals that shaped his revolutionary theories. I tried to imagine what it was like to land on those remote, volcanic islands and to witness strange and beautiful creatures for the first time.

Our group leader, Richard Salas, organized this trip on the Galapagos Master, Deep Blue.  We dove seven of the islands and went on two land tours.  Captain and crew were outstanding.  Although quite a bit was packed into a 10-day trip, it never felt rushed because everything was so well organized.  We enjoyed very detailed dive briefings and we also learned about how the islands were formed from volcanic eruptions and the movement of tectonic plates.  There was fairly stout current sometimes at Darwin and Wolf islands, but Natalia & Juan Carlos kept us together for 60 minute dives.  Water temperature ranged from 68 - 81 degrees.

Each evening, we had a little meeting in the salon.  We could present one of our photos from the day and Richard would show us ways to process it using Lightroom and Photoshop.  This was such a helpful hands-on approach to improving our images.

We met absolutely delightful new friends with whom we hope to dive again.  What a fun and interesting trip!

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