Floreana highlands

Sat, 2011-07-16 23:15
14. July 2011
With the battered old bus into the highlands. The road is washed out by the rain, and the old vehicle climbs the hill with difficulty.
Soon we leave the arid zone, again with salt grass and balsam trees, and get to the intermediate zone with small bushes and grass; the vegetation is not very high as the ground is made of volcanic ash and obviously not very fertile. The land is marked by craters, many collapsed as Floreana is one of the oldest islands. All islands have their origin in a volcanic hotspot, a stationary source of magma from the earth’s core. While the earth’s crust slowly moves, new islands are born in the west of the Galapagos archipelago; then slowly drift to the east and, due to erosion, finally sink back into the sea.
Up in the highlands rain and erosion have carved deep caves and channels into the soft stone, used as shelter by the first inhabitants; pirates are said to have used the island as their base from the sixteenth century. Fresh water to refill their barrels, turtles as source for meat. They survive a year without food and water, ideal provision for sailors and whalers. Within three hundred years humans nearly extinct the whole population; once a million strong. Is this mass extinction of species, as undesirable as unstoppable, part of Darwin’s survival of the fittest?


Isla Floreana, Galapagos Islands
1° 17' 58.4556" S, 90° 26' 2.256" W