16-Sep-1835: Darwin sets foot on the Galápagos Islands

On 16th September 1835, Charles Darwin first set foot on the Galápagos Islands. He recorded the event in his Beagle Diary:

Sept: 16th

The next day we ran near Hoods Isd & there left a Whale boat. — In the evening the Yawl was also sent away on a surveying cruize of some length. — The weather, now & during the passage, has continued as on the coast of Peru, a steady, gentle breeze of wind & gloomy sky. — We landed for an hour on the NW end of Chatham Isd. — These islands at a distance have a sloping uniform outline, excepting where broken by sundry paps & hillocks. — The whole is black Lava, completely covered by small leafless brushwood & low trees. — The fragments of Lava where most porous is are reddish & like cinders; the stunted trees show little signs of life. — The black rocks heated by the rays of the Vertical sun like a stove, give to the air a close & sultry feeling. The plants also smell unpleasantly. The country was compared to what we might imagine the cultivated parts of the Infernal regions to be. —

Not a particularly auspicious start for the Galápagos Islands’ most famous visitor. But the rest, as they say, is history.

Writer and photographer Richard Carter, FCD is the founder of the Friends of Charles Darwin. He lives in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire.WebsiteFacebookTwitterNewsletterBooks
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