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