Hawaii’s voyaging canoe Hokulea is docked in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador Sunday night, just having spotted land a few days ago.
The crew celebrated with a song of arrival as they approached Galapagos’ capital Santa Cruz island, after a week and a half of voyaging from Panama.
They entered a marine reserve 600 miles west of Ecuador, called a living museum, made of 19 islands known for their endemic species. The islands are home to animals so rare, Charles Darwin arrived here in 1835 to study them, which lead to his theory of evolution.
“What’s important about the Galapagos, it’s a place where we have an extraordinary opportunity to discover, to explore, to rediscover and learn from this place where Charles Darwin came and changed the world’s view on origins of life,” said Hokulea captain Nainoa Thompson.
It’s called a place where earth’s creatures can go anywhere they want, even in a hotel swimming pool.
“It’s a place you come to where clearly from the humanity’s point of view nature comes first, so we learn a lot about what this community and society in the Galapagos do to protect nature,” Thompson added.
97 percent of the islands was declared National Park land in 1959, with humans restricted to the remaining 3 percent, which comes out to just four of the islands.
“We shine the light on the Galapagos because in many ways this is a beacon of starlight for the whole earth,” Thompson said. “And I think the world view of nature coming first is something that is very very important to the future of the earth and very important to the well-being of our children.”
Hokulea departs the Galapagos for Rapa Nui, Easter Island, toward the end of the week.