Thursday, 25 April 2013

The Magnificent Galapagos Islands




The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of volcanic islands distributed on either side of the
Equator in the Pacific Ocean. They are located 926 km (500 nautical mi) west of continental
Ecuador, of which they are a part. The islands include a national park and a biological marine
reserve. Although they have a scant human population of 25,000 people, the most interesting
inhabitants are the various and unique creatures found there — plants and animals. Galapagos
famously attracted the attention of Charles Darwin who had visited in the 1830s; this had a
resounding impact on the formation of his Theory of Natural Selection.


galapagos islands photos
A baby sea lion (less than 2 months old), at Espanola Island. Unfortunately, this
beautiful Galapagos island, rich in biodiversity and plant life, has faced many crises
by human hands. As recent as 2008, dozens of sea lions were killed at Pinta, the nature
reserve of the Galapagos Islands. 

galapagos islands photos
Mesmerizing sunset

galapagos islands photos
A land Iguana in yellow and red

galapagos islands photos
Blowholes are quite common on the Island

galapagos islands photos
The 'Red Sally' Lightfoot Crab at Islas Plazas coming in with the tide

galapagos islands photos
Diving seagulls at Puerto Villamil

galapagos islands photos
Galapagos Tortoises mating

galapagos islands photos
This bizarre, stunning creature was named 'Dandelion' by the discovering geologists. It was found on a 1977 expedition to the islands. We now know that is related to the Portuguese 'man-of-war' (a type of jellyfish).

galapagos islands photos
The Galapagos are also home to the flamboyant flamingos

galapagos islands photos
San Christo Kicker Rock

galapagos islands photos
A Diamond Stingray near the beach

galapagos islands photos
The famous and iconic Giant Galapagos Tortoises is the largest living species of tortoise and 10th-heaviest living reptile, reaching weights of over 400 kg (880 lb) and lengths of over 1.8 meters (5.9 ft). These giants live to see 100 years of age in the wild, and have lived up to 170 years in captivity. 

galapagos islands photos
A group of marine iguanas

galapagos islands photos
Bartolome Island, which has a beautiful bay, in the Galapagos Islands

galapagos islands photos
A young eagle with a message at Isabela Island

galapagos islands photos
What is now known as 'Darwin's Arch'

galapagos islands photos
A napping seal apparently unperturbed by the approaching crab

galapagos islands photos
The Galapagos shark is often hunted by humans. In 2011, Ecuadorean authorities seized 357 dead sharks from an illegal fishing boat

galapagos islands photos
Beautiful waterfall near San Christobal, Galapagos

galapagos islands photos
Sea lions kissing

galapagos islands photos


galapagos islands photos
The early morning light painting this stone hill red

galapagos islands photos
The photographer tells that this male sea lion got aggressive when he came too close, and put up a threatening display to scare him off. It worked.

galapagos islands photos
The Marine Iguana is found only on the Galapagos Islands, and has the ability, unique among modern lizards, to live and forage in the sea, making it a marine reptile. The iguana can dive over 9 m into the water.

galapagos islands photos
Sea lions napping together on Espanola Island

galapagos islands photos
The Swallow-tailed Gull (Creagrus furcatus) at Islas Plazas

galapagos islands photos
A Galapagos Crab making some direct eye contact

galapagos islands photos
Besides all the magnificent creatures, the Galapagos Islands have many stunning rock formations, which also serve as good places for sea lions to practice their favorite hobby — sleep

galapagos islands photos
A large group of sea lions. Being fairly social, and one of the most numerous species in the Galapagos archipelago, they are often spotted sun-bathing on sandy shores or rock groups, or gliding gracefully through the surf. Their loud bark, playful nature, and graceful agility in water make them the "welcoming party" of the islands.

galapagos islands photos
Penguins on the rocks, watching both directions

galapagos islands photos
A view at sunset

galapagos islands photos
A Marine Iguana sunbathing

galapagos islands photos
Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz, Galapagos in Ecuador

galapagos islands photos
The reason these fun-looking birds are called blue-footed boobies

galapagos islands photos

Sailing away at sunset and saying goodbye to this beautiful Heaven on Earth. What an ethereal place..


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