ISSUE 21, April 2007
Editorial
Historic: Philanthropist and scientist: Sir Henry Wellcome
Travel: In Darwin's footsteps
Grand Secretary: Interview with Nigel Brown
Quarterly Communication: Speech by the Pro Grand Master and Report of the Board of General Purposes
Faith and Freemasonry: A Salvationist and the Craft
Young Mason: Keep up the tradition
Freemasons' Hall: Refurbishment
Ladies Groups: Cheshire Ladies Circle
   Library and Museum: Masonry and music - the role of the organ
Specialist Lodge: A new Lodge for showmen is consecrated
Serving the community: Two Masons win major rescue awards
Spain: How a Cleveland Mason found his Spanish roots
Wales: Welsh Mason lands national sporting award
Hospices: The Craft's historic links with hospices
Ancient Craft: Herefordshire's ancient boat builder
Education: Forthcoming events and Andrew Prescott and Own free will and accord and First Universities Scheme Initiate
Masonic Charities: Latest from the four main Masonic charities
Letters, Book reviews, Gardening

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There is an abundance of wildlife, lizards, birds, turtles on the islands
From the ship, we were transported to land in pangas. On several of the islands, such as Española, the ground is covered in lava rock, and is very uneven. For anyone needing assistance, walking sticks are available on board. We trekked about one and a half miles over lava rocks which, if it is raining, can make the going rather treacherous.
    However, we saw lots of wildlife, including sea lions – some with babies, marine iguanas in shades of red, blue and green, and blue-footed and Nazca boobies. The babies of the latter are particularly sweet, covered in white down. There are two types of iguanas: marine and land. These change in colour on different islands to blend in with their background.
    At one point we saw what looked like smoke in the distance, which turned out to be a blow hole – a hole in the rock formation – where a strong wave creates an amazing fountain of water. On San Cristóbal the sand is white from the coral, whereas on Floreana, the sand is black from the volcanic lava.
    On the latter are water lagoons where we saw flamingos among other migratory and shore birds. Several days later we visited Rabida where, because of the high iron content, the sand is red.
    Starting early is a necessity as it gets hotter towards midday, and there is no shade. Where possible, we were allowed to swim or snorkel. The 40 miles around the islands are dedicated to a marine reserve, and make up part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, of which the islands in the archipelago are also part. Those who had not brought their own gear were given snorkelling equipment.
    The naturalists who accompanied us are often too busy to help anyone inexperienced. Initially, I had to rely on one of the other guests to show me what to do. However, once I got the hang of it, seeing the marine life at close hand was just wonderful. Even snorkelling from the beach can be interesting, particularly near the rocks.
    There is also the opportunity to deep sea snorkel, where I swam through shoals of black-striped salema fish, and even saw a shark. I was told that as long as no-one antagonises them, you do not have to be afraid, although I didn’t hang around to find out!
    The islands are still volcanic, and in 1968 there was both an earthquake and a volcanic eruption on Fernandina, the youngest island. The surface of the island was lifted, and different formations to the other islands were created: ‘Pahoehoe’ – lots of ridges – and ‘ahah’ lava which looks like pieces of dug-up soil.
    Algae and rock pools attract fish, and black marine iguanas sun themselves on the rocks. Because of the cool currents in the sea, we also saw penguins and enormous sea turtles. The latter were spied, from our panga, floating just below the surface of the water. Every two to three years, the turtle makes a nest by digging a large hole in the sand and lays up to 80 eggs. It then covers the nest with sand.
    It is, therefore, very important to only walk in designated areas to make sure we did not disturb or walk on one by mistake. In fact, whichever island we were on, we had to keep to a laid-out path.
    Bringing a pair of binoculars is a good idea so that you can maximise on seeing as much as possible. Even if you thought bird watching was not of particular interest, as the naturalist points something out, you too will want to see close up what they are talking about. For example, there are several different types of finches on the islands, and depending on the location, their beaks will vary in length to help them get their food.


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