Isla Española's albatrosses

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November 3rd 2009
Published: November 3rd 2009
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Albatros chickAlbatros chickAlbatros chick

on Isla Española
Islas De Galapagos, Isla Hispañola/Española,
12-10-1990, afternoon.

Reading the world famous "On The Origin Of Species" by Charles Darwin, I can't but wonder how much mental turmoil must have gone through this great man's mind before throwing overboard the Genesis Concept, Holy Rome's own version of the creation of species, an overnight introduction of life to an otherwise barren planet by an omni-present Deus Ex Machina, a bored higher devine being who felt lost and alone in an empty universe so he/she created Man, so God could amuse himself watching the antics of Man...

Isla Española's main attraction is the colony of waved albatrosses and the main goal of our little hike that leads us through a two kilometers stretch of blue-footed masked booby colonies. totally unperturbed our feathery winged friends go about their business, territorial disputes are settled with sharp beaks. Aerial ballets and not so gracefull landings and take-offs trying to avoid the neighbors and keen on the hungry cries of the chicks, their progeny anxciously awaiting their parents return.

The trail continues to some isolated beaches full with marine iguanas basking in the sun, warming up their reptilian scaled bodies and spitting out excess sea
Albatros chickAlbatros chickAlbatros chick

on Isla Española
salt from their mouths.

The trail passes a blow hole, a good excuse for a break so necessary for my fellow passengers who are still a bit pale around the Gringo noses, a close encounter of seasickness for American city dwellers who have come to Ecuador to study Spanish and a quick but expensive break on the Galapagos islands though their interest in the biological natural world is close to nihil.

High up on the windy cliff we find the goal of our efforts, a colony of waved albatrosses, a few youngster sitting around waiting for their parents to return from their fishing grounds often thousands of miles out at sea, forcing these youngsters to wait for weeks for fat and nutricous fish, their only distraction during long weeks of waiting the occasional party of camara-hung tourists from the outside world.

Once they leave their barren island cradle, they won't return for five years, five years of gliding above the world's oceans, scooping up a juicy fish from the sea while using the termal winds of the world as a free travel mode.

I could stay here for ever, sketching birds that I might never see
Albatros chickAlbatros chickAlbatros chick

surrounded by my fellow passengers
again in this life time, study their controlled behaviour, watch the parents awkwardly landing and feeding their chicks, maybe roll out my sleeping bag and wake up to the sight of the powerfull sea...

However, the greenish looking faces of my fellow passengers betray me they are in a hurry to get back to the boat, maybe a quick visit to that claustrophobic ship's toilet, a few hours of rest on their bunk bed before trying to work on the cook's bland food that will probably leave their bodies orally again.


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