• Short Summary

    A VISIT TO GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, WEST OF ECUADOR, WAS PAID RECENTLY BY THE AUSTRALIAN YACHT "WESTWARD".

  • Description

    A VISIT TO GALAPAGOS ISLANDS, WEST OF ECUADOR, WAS PAID RECENTLY BY THE AUSTRALIAN YACHT "WESTWARD". THE YACHT HAS BEEN ROAMING THE WORLD FOR MORE THAN A YEAR, BUT FOR THOSE ON BOARD THEIR EXPEDITION TO THE GALAPAGOS PROVED THE STRANGEST VISIT OF ALL.

    LYING ON THE EQUATOR, SOME 600 MILES OFF THE WEST COAST OF SOUTH AMERICA, THIS GROUP OF VOLCANIC ISLANDS WAS DISCOVERED IN 1935 BY FRAY TOMAS DE BERLANGA, THE BISHOP OF PANAMA. THEY LOOKED HE THOUGHT, AS THOUGH "GOD HAD CAUSED IT TO RAIN STONES."
    INHOSPITABLE, BARREN OUTCROPS OF LAVA, RESIDUE OF COUNTLESS ERUPTIONS OF SEABED VOLCANOES OVER THE CENTURIES - SUCH IS THE TERRAIN OF THE GALAPAGOS. THE ISLANDS ARE AMONG THE FEW PLACES ON EARTH WHERE PRIMITIVE ABORIGINAL MAN NEVER EXISTED. AND THE ISLANDS REMAINED UNINHABITED FOR 300 YEARS AFTER THEIR DISCOVERY. NOW THEY BELONG TO ECUADOR AND MOST SETTLERS ARE ECUADORIANS FOR SOUTH AMERICAN INDIANS.

    ACADEMY BAY ON INDEFATIGABLE ISLAND IS ONE OF THE LARGEST EUROPEAN SETTLEMENTS. A UNIQUE SPECIES OF MARINE IGUANA HAVE BREAKFAST EACH DAY WITH CARL ANGEMEYER. HE'S A GERMAN WHO HAS LIVED A ROBINSON-CRUSOE-LIKE EXISTENCE HERE FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS.

    SOME OF THE ANIMALS, INCLUDING WILD GOATS, ARE DESCENDENTS OF LIVESTOCK WHICH SURVIVED SHIPWRECKS. HOWEVER, MOST ARE UNIQUE TO THE GALAPAGOS, AND THEY ARE THE QUARRY OF THREE SCIENTISTS WHO SAILED HERE WITH THE AUSTRALIAN PARTY TO STUDY AND CAPTURE EXHIBITS FOR AMERICAN ZOOS.

    OUT OF 89 SPECIES OF BIRDS THAT NEST ON THE ISLANDS, 77 EXIST NOWHERE ELSE. THEY INCLUDE THE FLIGHTLESS CORMORANT - AND THE GALAPAGOS DUCK. HERE TOO ARE THE GIANT LAND IGUANAS, ANOTHER UNIQUE SPECIES. THEY LOOK LIKE A PREHISTORIC EXHIBIT IN A MUSEUM. NO WONDER THAT A VISIT HERE IN 1935 HELPED CHARLES DARWIN TOWARDS HIS THEORY OF EVOLUTION... HE NOTICED THE SAME SPECIES HAD DEVELOPED DIFFERENTLY FROM ISLAND TO ISLAND.

    ANOTHER CURIOSITY, UNDER THE EQUATORIAL SUN, ARE PENGUINS AND FUR-BEARING SEALS. THERE IS THE SMALLEST AND NORTHERNMOST SPECIES OF PENGUIN IN THE WORLD, WHICH LIKE THE SEA-LION, IS ABLE TO LIVE NEAR THE EQUATOR. THE COLD HUMBOLT CURRENT FROM THE SOUTH FLOWS ROUND THE ARCHIPELAGO. GIANT FIDDLER CRABS, WITH AZURE STALK-EYES AND BLUE PATTERNS ON THEIR RED-COLOURED BACKS, SCUTTLE OVER THE ROCK IN THEIR HUNDREDS.

    THE GREY-FOOTED BLUEFACED BOOBIE WAS AMONG THE SPECIES OF UNIQUE BIRDS AND ANIMALS COLLECTED BY THE SCIENTISTS FOR THE PHILADELPHIA ZOO. THE ONLY TYPE OF SNAKE ON THE ISLANDS IS A NON-VENOMOUS BROWN VARIETY. RAREST OF ALL THE ANIMALS IS THE BEST-KNOWN, THE GIANT GALAPAGOS TORTOISE, WHICH GIVES THE ISLANDS THEIR NAME. THIS TORTOISE GROWS UP TO SEVEN FEET ACROSS.

    VISITORS HAVE DESCRIBED THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS - STRANGE, FANTASTIC, DESOLATE, ENCHANTED... BUT PERHAPS THE BEST DESCRIPTION IS DARWIN'S "IT'S A LIVING LABORATORY OF EVOLUTION."

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA7J1EO3W4QHEDFN2EYJX1MS29Q
    Media URN:
    VLVA7J1EO3W4QHEDFN2EYJX1MS29Q
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    06/12/1962
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:02:14:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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