My journey south this past 3 weeks to visit this seldom visited island set (roughly pronounced ReVEEya-He-HAY-dough) was the most interesting, exciting, educational trip I’ve ever undertaken. My fellow passengers were multi-disciplined scientists with strong backgrounds in botany, marine mammalogy, herpetology, tectonics and ornithology. Twenty-four passengers and 8 crew members set sail on the 92 foot twin diesel “Shogun” out of Fisherman’s Landing in San Diego harbor.
The excitement on board was palpable. All the science teams were eager to survey the flora and fauna on these volcanic islands that hadn’t been studied for decades. There were many discoveries to be made, and we all looked forward to exploiting the special opportunity that had been prepared for us.
The preparations began more than a year earlier. The two main movers in pushing the project forward were Dr. Sula Vanderplank and Dr. Exequiel Ezcurra. In Dr. Ezcurra we had an ally with wonderful connections to assist in negotiating the many political hurdles required to obtain the permissions needed to access these island ecosystems and collect specimens. His position in several educational and research foundations was helpful I’m sure, but his past position as Director General of Natural Resources in the Mexican Federal Government was key.
In the days ahead I’ll be sharing stories and images from this expedition.