Posts Tagged ‘galapagos’

Book of the Week- The Evolution of Jane

Friday, July 15th, 2011

The Evolution of Jane, Cathleen SchineOur book partner, Longitude books is always searching for new books to inspire and inform your travels.

This week, they’ve recommended you escape to The Evolution of Jane by Cathleen Schine. A novel, the book is about a recently divorced 25-year-old woman who takes the search for her own origins all the way to the Galápagos Islands. Part travelogue, part comedy, part commentary, it’s a book worth curling up with this summer.

If you’re ready to write your own ticket to the Galápagos, click here for more on our trips there.


Wednesday, April 21st, 2010
Blue footed boobies are some of the many striking birds native to the Galapagos.

Blue footed boobies are some of the many striking birds native to the Galapagos.

Some of the most unusual wildlife found on Earth is living on the Galápagos Islands, off the coast of Ecuador. From sea lions and tropical fish to penguins and iguanas, the islands are teeming with animals who are as curious about you as you are about them. To the Left, a blue footed booby gets ready for a dance, which he’ll choreograph to impress the ladies, showing off his blue feet and flapping his wings. When a female bird finally chooses him, he’ll mate for life, taking his turn each season to incubate their eggs.

Click here to find out more about our Galápagos  adventure setting sail this July.

Which wild animal would you most like to get close to? Share please!

March is Women in Science Month

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

March is Women in Science Month at the Smithsonian. In today’s video, check out whale researcher Nan Hauser’s close encounter with a humpback and her calf, thanks to the folks at Smithsonian Channel.


For your own close encounters with wildlife, check out our Galapagos Family Adventure. Limited space is still available on our July departure. Click here for more Women in Science.


Tuesday, February 16th, 2010

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles in Galápagos

As we make our way through one of the snowiest winters Washington has seen in quite a while, it’s always refreshing to think of warmer climes. Today, take a minute to close your eyes and imagine that you and your family are snorkeling with the sea turtles in warm, sunny Galápagos, where the weather’s nice and the animals are friendly.

Click to learn more about our Family Galápagos tour.

Have you been to the Galápagos? What did you experience?

Study Leader Carole Baldwin on Galápagos

Monday, September 7th, 2009


Sea lions relaxing on the beach

Sea lions relaxing on the beach

Dr. Carole Baldwin, a Curator of Fishes at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, is a well-respected authority on marine biology, especially tropical marine and deep sea fishes. Here, we quiz her on the Galápagos, where she has discovered new species and where she leads one of our most popular tours. Click here for more information on Carole and a video interview with her.

Q. You’re a veteran of research expeditions all over the world. What particularly struck you about the Galápagos?

A. Two things. The first is the tameness of the animals. I’ve never been anyplace like that, on land or underwater. The animals don’t seem to have any fear of you. You’re walking down a path and you’re within touching distance of all of them. It’s the same way underwater. You’ve got these big pelagic fish and other animals so close you can reach out and touch them. It’s a different kind of experience. Second, I’d have to say the sheer number of species that don’t occur anywhere else in the world. You’re constantly confronted with that when you visit the Galápagos. Smithsonian keeps asking if I’d like to lead a different tour, and I say “Nope!” I like going back. Every time I go I see different things, whether it’s the behavior of the animals or the actual wildlife that we’re seeing. There’s still so much for me to learn.

Q. Is there a Galápagos island that stands out as your favorite?

A. It may seem funny for a marine biologist, but I’d say Genovesa, which is also called Tower Island and nicknamed “Bird Island.” It’s one of the islands which very few tour groups get to go to. I don’t think even people who are bird watchers have ever had the experience of being with so many birds as you see on Genovesa. It’s an incredible experience.

Q. What do you particularly enjoy about the Smithsonian Journeys Galápagos itinerary?

A. Several people who have been on the trip that I lead, who have traveled quite a bit, have said “This is the best trip that I’ve ever been on.” People who have done an African safari often compare the Galápagos experience to that. One time on the plane leaving the Galápagos I sat with a couple who had been on a very unpleasant trip with another organization. They did one hike in the morning and that was it — they didn’t do anything the rest of the day. They didn’t have anybody on board to give lectures; they didn’t go snorkeling. The Smithsonian journey really packs everything in. People have the option of deciding whether to do everything or not, but to get as much of the experience as you can, this is the best! I want to emphasize how wonderful the snorkeling is. Some people go snorkeling for the first time, and they’re in the water with sea lions and penguins and sea turtles and thousands of fish. When they get out they ask me “Where can we go next to have another experience like this?” and I say “Nowhere!”

Q. What is it like being with Smithsonian Journeys travelers?

A. The travelers are there to learn. It’s not just a vacation for them; it’s a vacation in which they’re trying to learn about the natural world. Along with schoolchildren, they are the most eager, enthusiastic people I deal with. Every group I go with seems like the best one I ever had!

Q. What future Galápagos research do you have planned?

A. I’m definitely hoping to submit a proposal to try and get the submersible back to Galápagos. When we were making the film, we used the sub for fifteen days and found seventeen new species. We need to have the sub back there and just take it in the water for a month, and then take it to some of the neighboring oceanic islands. We’re still finding new discoveries in the shallow water as well, which is a little less expected, since people have been studying the shallow water and terrestrial flora and flora of Galápagos for a long, long time. When you find something that hasn’t been reported before, there’s always the chance that it represents a new recruit to the islands. People tend to think of the Galápagos as a place that was colonized a long time ago — and it was — but for the ocean animals there are currents that bring new things there. You could study that place forever.

Want to see Galápagos for yourself? Click here for all Smithsonian Journeys travel to Galápagos and here for Carole’s tour.

Have you ever been snorkeling? What did you see? Share below.