After just eight days, it is back to Quito. And Iberia never did find my bag!
It goes without saying that Galapagos is an extraordinary place; history identifies it as such, as does the present. The geological processes, geographical position, confluence of ocean currents and regional weather systems give it a uniqueness that, in a time when the word is much overused, is correctly applied. These major influences will not change rapidly but man is no doubt changing the course of the future here very quickly.
Whether the terrestrial and marine biodiversity and the high degree of endemism on the islands can prevail is now very much for us to decide. The Galapagos National Park and Ecuadorian Government have achieved remarkable conservation successes on the Islands with the support of many organisations, the Charles Darwin Foundation being the first amongst them. Yet, these successes have been in just the early skirmishes, with the main battles still to come.
In some areas, the range and scale of impact is like a steady one-way tide that swamps the low lying ground; the blackberry inexorably commanding the Scalesia forest, whilst the rat dominates the fauna. Introduced insects and pathogens are less visible but no less damaging, whilst the impact of man is both – visible and damaging.
So, in summary, I was enormously enthralled and encouraged on the one side and in equal measure concerned on the other. The challenges are immense.
This is, of course, why the Galapagos Conservation Trust exists, to help a wide range of enormously dedicated people to win the coming battles. So please, support us if you can at www.savegalapgos.org.