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First blog from the ‘Enchanted Islands’, and what a welcome! Even the flight in was spectacular, flying in low over the Islands, seeing the white sandy beaches contrasted to the dry cactus-dotted landscape. Very impressive! After a brief panic about the tourist entry card, we were in! A brief stop off at some sunken lava caves, with tiny finches darting across the landscape, we headed off to the Tortoise Reserve with our guide, Marissa. Welcomed to the reserve by a chilled out tortoise munching by the roadside, we had a nice lunch, and then headed out into the reserve, where there we saw giant tortoises everywhere! I think we all got some fantastic photos, which will hopefully be uploaded to the blog, but what we didn’t manage to capture much of was the sounds – their movements; chewing, walking, breathing, all came with an ancient-sounding soundtrack. That was something I hadn’t expected, and really added to the experience. As did seeing two giant tortoises mating! Not something you see everyday! Really enjoyed our first trip in the Galapagos Islands, looking forward to Floreana tomorrow!
As I noted in my inaugural post here, our little band of Darwin wannabes isn’t just visiting Galapagos… we’re going to try capture our experience the way Darwin did – through notes, ‘specimens’ and prose. Unlike Darwin (and of course this isn’t the only way we’re unlike him), we’re doing this in public and online for all to follow along live.
My proposal — ‘Galapagos 2.0′ — is why I was selected to accompany the four lucky deserving 17-year-old Survival Rivals winners (Becky Hill, Eleri Morgan, Charlotte Woodfield and Jess Woodfield), their teachers (Sue Benjamin and Nicholas Alford) and representatives from the Wellcome Trust (Amy Sanders) and Ignite! (Amy Turner). I guess I’m a kind of guide, if not to Galapagos (as I’ve never been before) then to Darwin, evolution, and the voyage of HMS Beagle.
The proposal’s full title is ‘Galápagos 2.0 Creative science learning and communication in evolution’s spectacular living laboratory’ and the gist is that our little band of Darwin wannabes will be doing what Darwin did in Galapagos. That is, we will capture our experiences, ‘specimens’, thoughts, connections and speculations – not using a pen and a red notebook, but Twitter, Flickr and YouTube.
At the end of each day or few days, we will raid our tweets, photos, videos and memory banks and write a short, illustrated blog post (using WordPress). And at the end of the trip, all of this will serve as our source material for our own version(s) of Darwin’s Journal of Researches (better known now as Voyage of the Beagle), an e-Book to be written and published approximately six months after the trip.
Darwin used layers of increasingly formal writing tools — field notebooks & specimens ➙ diary ➙ book — and so will we, except that our technology will be a little different: Twitter, Flickr and YouTube ➙ Blog ➙ e-Book.
For the full proposal (which begins with the sentence, ‘Charles Darwin would have been a blogger.’) in its original PDF format glory, click here.
The Survival Rivals team discovered a new species of tortoise after spending less than a day on the islands….
Please suggest some latin names….
What a day, landing on the Islands was an emotional experience. I think lots of us had a lump in our throats as it finally sank in that we were really here. I almost felt like kissing the ground when we landed! The islands looked beautiful from the plane, jutting out from the turquoise sea. Whilst waiting to get into the arrivals shed / lounge we saw our first finch and lizards. On the bus to the ferry we saw frigate birds patrolling overhead. The fauna is so impressive. Read the rest of this entry »
Well we are finally on the last leg of the trip to the Galapagos. Have just taken off from Guayaquil. We land on the tiny island of Baltra and then catch a ferry across to Santa Cruz. Then it is up to the mountains to a tortoise sanctuary, and the adventure properly begins.