to the equator and across the Pacific Ocean, you arrive in the
spectacular world of the Galápagos archipelago by air and by sea, just
as every other species that has come before you during the past few
million years. Islands that appear as moonscapes with hardened
swirls of black lava rock are in stark contrast to others that cradle
lush green vegetation in their highlands.
Giant Galápagos tortoises, marine iguanas, and unusual birds all appear
tame and even curious about your presence. Sea lions pups frolic
with you in tidal pools, and schools of hammerhead sharks swim above, as
you dive into the depths of the waters surrounding the islands.
A group of inquisitive moray eels emerge from their
cave near an underwater lava to look at you, jaws gaping, just as you
are looking at them. Descending into the darkness of the ocean in
a high-tech submersible, you gaze at luminescent sea cucumbers,
brilliantly colored crustaceans, and species of animals no human has
You are with an explorer — a
scientist from the Smithsonian Institution on an expedition. You
are voyaging in an ever-changing environment, seeking out the mysteries
of biodiversity on your own planet. You are a witness to the
magnificence of the Galápagos. And as soon as you observe this
wonderfully diverse tapestry of life, you realize that it becomes a part
of who you are.
(Document presented at the