Out in the open

Fri, 2011-07-15 19:59
13. July 2011
On a small fishing boat we cross the open ocean between San Christobal and Floreana. What looks like probably a calm sea becomes a rollercoaster ride in this tiny craft.

The fuel lines to its engines are fixed with a shoe string and I really wonder if it is ocean-going.The captain searches his way through the large waves, trying to take them stern first. It does not always work, and we get soaked by large sprays of salty water.


Soon San Christobal disappears in the low hanging clouds. Alone on the ocean, dark cold depths below us, inhabited by strange and dangerous creatures. Just waves, no hints for direction; my GPS has no maps for this part of the world and shows only blue water.


Nasty “what-if” questions lurk into the back of my mind. An island appears at the horizon. Separates by only a few dozen miles of cold rough sea the islands are in fact well isolated, each with its specific ecosystem of plants and animals, well adapted to its environment by evolution. Common knowledge today, as the ever-present posters and educational boards prove, but a scientific revolution just 150 years before.

Dark clouds crawl over the horizon ahead of us; a rain front is coming. The sea has turned into a matte dark grey; the waves not longer contoured. The clouds are dark grey with yellowish patches; the light creates a murky atmosphere.


One hour later the sun is back and we make our landing at Floreana. Even for the geologic amateur the island is clearly marked by volcanic craters, overgrown with trees and bushes. The coast is rough, formed by basaltic rocks where the waves break in emerald green.


The open ocean, Galapagos Islands
1° 7' 53.4648" S, 89° 56' 42.2448" W