If you sail from the shores of Ecuador, which is in South America, and take a course strictly westward across the Pacific Ocean, parallel to the nearby equator, then before you have time to swim a thousand kilometers, pieces of land collected in the archipelago will appear on the horizon. These will be the famous Galapagos Islands, which played an important role in natural science and rightfully occupy the first line in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The archipelago also includes Darwin Island.
It is now easy to find the Galapagos Islands. And in the 16th century, when they were discovered, it was a problem. Once a ship sailed across the Pacific Ocean with a Spanish expedition led by Bishop Berlanga, accidentally deviated from the course and saw unknown islands on the horizon. True, having moored to them, the Spaniards did not find aborigines for conversion to the Christian faith, but they saw huge turtles (galapago). This is how the Turtle Islands appeared on the map. After some time, the Spaniards equipped an expedition specifically for the newly discovered archipelago - and did not find it. They searched unsuccessfully until the end of the 16th century and, in their hearts, renamed the islands Enchanted.
Well, the most famous sea expedition dropped anchor off Chatham Island (now San Cristobal) on September 15, 1935. A young scientist-naturalist named Charles Darwin, among others, disembarked aboard the British brig "Beagle" on the land of the Galapagos Islands. The richest scientific material collected here, comprehended and presented later in "The Origin of Species" - a brilliant evolutionary teaching. In honor of Darwin, one of the islands of the archipelago was named.
It would seem that Darwin Island has nothing to boast about. First, no one lives on it. This is the specificity: the Galapagos Islands consist of 19 islands, including 13 volcanic, of which only 5 are inhabited. And on the most populated - Santa Cruz - 15 thousand people live, and on the most sparsely populated, Floreana - only 100. Secondly, of all the Darwin Islands, the smallest - its area is slightly more than a square kilometer.
But on the other hand, a diverse animal world lives on Darwin, the observations of which prompted the scientist to create an evolutionary theory. There are many seals, iguanas and, of course, sea turtles. The top of the island, located 168 meters above sea level, has been chosen by birds that live off the ocean fauna.
In principle, getting to Darwin from the archipelago is not so difficult: it is only four hours by yacht from the nearest island of Wulf. But the places here are truly forbidden. And because of the existence of a marine protected area, and because of the inaccessible rocky coast, devoid of protected bays and anchorages. Only a few boats are allowed to visit the island area, and even then for no more than three days.
It is clear that the lucky ones who do get to Darwin Island are exclusively divers. The local dive safari is one of the best in the world. For the huge variety of the inhabitants of the underwater world, one should thank Nature: the cold Humboldt current mercifully bends around the Galapagos region.
An experience that you will never forget in your life is a meeting under water with the giants of the Neptune kingdom, whale sharks. Quite often here you can see whole schools of huge fish. However, although they are called sharks, they are extremely peaceful creatures that feed on plankton.
But to the east of Darwin there is a unique attraction - the Darwin's Arch, a rock of the corresponding shape. But the main thing is not this, but what lives under water. The Darwin Arch area is considered the shark capital of the world. Experienced divers all year round encounter Galapagos, whitetip and blacktip sharks, hammerhead sharks, mantas and rays, barracudas and moray eels, as well as dolphins. There is even a kind of "shark avenue" - an area called El Arenal, located west of Darwin's Arch.
If you are not distracted by sharks, you can see how the motley fish population of these places gathers near the steep walls of Darwin's Arch, covered with molluscs. They are not very shy and sometimes show curiosity about the person in the scuba gear. It is clear why: divers are not frequent guests here, and they are not engaged in hunting at all, but, like Charles Darwin, contemplation of the perfection manifested by Nature.