Wayward Galapagos Tortoise Traces Sea Dragon Route

Apr 27 2011

We all went to the beach on Friday; it was like any other; white sand stretching for miles, palm trees above the tide line, native birds circling curiously overhead, blazing sunshine and tropical waters. Well at least like all the others in this area of the Pacific, it was also deserted. Uninhabited Henderson Island is a UNESCO world heritage site and there was no-one else there, not even many fish.

Earlier today we left Pitcairn, an island oasis jutting out of the Pacific rich with flora, fauna and history. Hungry and without food whilst exploring ashore a lone giant Galapagos Tortoise eating bananas showed us the answer, he seemed to be surviving rather well on them having involuntarily sailed 2,700 Nautical miles a few decades ago from the Galapagos Islands.It is hard to comprehend what possessed someone to pick-up a Giant Tortoise put him on a yacht, and sail across a vast ocean to relocate him. But then again when we look at things rationally with a logical, humane and practical approach it is hard to comprehend so many of mans actions. Pitcairn for so many centuries famed as the refuge of the most famous group of mutineers ever, in recent years has caught the world’s attention for less heroic actions. An island paradise; exposed, divided, a community struggling to survive, adapt and preserve a way of life far away from the world’s media scrutiny.

It is too easy to turn a blind eye, who will take responsibility for the threats facing our oceans; acidification, plastic and chemical pollution, depleted fish stocks, rising water temperatures, coral bleaching; the life source of our planet is threatened. There comes a point with all things when reality needs to be faced; Pitcairners are doing that slowly, painfully. The oceans covering the vast majority of our planet are out of sight, largely unclaimed international waters that no one nation is responsible for and yet increasingly we are all being made aware of the crisis over the horizon and so all need to take action.

On Henderson Island there was clear evidence of all of these issues on one remote ‘pristine’ South Pacific beach.