I am very anxious to see the Galapagos Islands, — I think both the Geology & Zoology cannot fail to be very interesting.”

— Charles Darwin, Letter to his sister, Catherine in August 1835.

Hi I’m Amy Sanders, or amyplatypus if you prefer, (to distinguish myself from t’other Amy – Amy T). I’m joining the trip as the Wellcome Trust representative.

I managed all of our Darwin year initiatives, of which Survival Rivals is one, so it will be a real treat to be able to be part of the group, setting off just over 3 years after I started working on the project.

Having got over my minor (ok, major) passport-related panic earlier this week, and tied up as many loose ends at work as I can manage, I think I am almost ready to leave for Heathrow.

Like everyone else, I am really looking forward to seeing the wildlife – the big stuff – seals, tortoises, boobys, frigate birds, sharks, penguins, and of course the finches and mockingbirds that we heard so much about at university.

Being a recovering entomologist, I’m also wondering what the smaller things will be like? Are there insects anywhere near as bizarre as the reptiles and birds, or are the littler critters so transportable that they are much the same as the mainland?

What will it sound like at night? What will the stars be like?

I’ll be fascinated to see how the islands are managed – are they still shooting goats from helicopters?  Will not being a World Heritage site have an effect on the conservation of the archipelago? How do the thousands of  people who live there feel about all this? Are they sick of people like us nosing around?

Hopefully we’ll be able to answer some of these questions over the next 2 weeks.

Most of all I’m looking forward to seeing what Jess, Charlotte and Eleri and Becky make of it all. I remember my first proper expedition when I was a couple of years older than they are. I went to Kibale Forest, Uganda and it was a pretty life-changing experience; seeing in the wild what you’ve only heard about, and meeting the people for whom it’s all just a part of the everyday.  I loved it, despite spending a month there and never seeing a single bloody chimp.

I hope the Galapagos wildlife lives up to its more people-friendly reputation!