In fact I doubt the moon would be this rugged. That’s the impression you’d get if you were to land in the middle of this island on the equator a thousand kilometres off the Ecuador coast. It’s certainly not the image you associate with a tropical island. Instead you’d be greeted by the most harshest uninhabitable landscape imaginable.
We’d trekked up to the main volcano on the island. It’s the second largest in the world measuring ten kilometres across. The recent eruption just over ten years ago of this still active volcano, has left a blackened charred plateau across the inside of this massive crater. The previous eruption was not so gentle. It spilled over the huge crater spewing lava far down to the sea. What it left behind was a hostile landscape. The only sign of life amongst the charred layers of jagged rugged volcanic black rocks are the scattered and incredibly hardy cactus bush. Their thorny prickles as if to guard against any intrusion to their unique opportunity for life.
For the people who live on the islands, such as Isabela Island, I guess they have the volcanoes to thank for creating their home. But it comes at a price. That rugged and jagged volcanic rock is literally their backyard between each house.
But the contrast to the coast couldn’t be more dramatic. Pristine white sandy beaches. And an incredible array of wildlife. It’s what makes the Galapagos islands so unique. Swimming with giant sea turtles, oblivious to your presence can only be described as an amazing experience. Or walking amongst the huge tortoises that live up to 120 years. The prehistoric looking iguanas that look like a mini version of their dinosaur ancestors. Or the docile layabout sea lions that quite comfortably take up residence on park benches. I guess they were here first anyway.
If the cost of being able to almost rub shoulders with some of nature’s greatest treasures in pristine surroundings, is having a harsh moonscape in the center of your island, it’s a small price to pay. But an extraordinary opportunity to experience the contrast of nature’s extremes.
THIS WEEK’S VIDEOS
This week’s videos on the facebook.com/myseniorgapyear page include a snapshot of the Galapagos locals… wildlife locals that is! Giant tortoises, sea lions, prehistoric looking iguanas, etc. Also is a chat with a young lady I met waiting for a taxi in this small outlying village. She’s come to the Galapagos to use the tranquility of the islands to write a book on her life changing experience.
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