Travel E-Log #5: Santa Cruz Island

Dear students:

Buenas tardes. We're back on Santa Cruz Island, formerly known as Indefatigable (Spanish for Tireless ), and we've been visiting a school here called Tomas de Berlanga. The school gets its name from the former Bishop of Panama, who, in 1535, accidentally discovered the Galapagos Lava LizardArchipelago while sailing from Panama to Peru. Near the coast of Colombia, the Bishop's ship got caught in the Panama Current which pushed it further out into the Pacific and, weeks later, washed it into the now famous volcanic islands. The chance encounter saved the crews' life: surrounded by undrinkable saltwater and out of fresh water on the ship, they chewed on cactus pods for moisture till they eventually came across ponds made of rain water on one of the islands. So, even though he really got lost and nearly died with his whole crew, Tomas de Berlanga is credited by history as being the discoverer of the Galapagos Archipelago and, even today, has streets and towns and schools named after him.

What is your school's name? Do you know the story behind its name -- or the history of the person who it is named after?

Tomas de Berlanga also gave the Galapagos its name. When he reported his lucky discovery to King Charles V of Spain, he included a description of the giant tortoises that inhabited the islands, comparing their shells to riding saddles, called galapagos in Spanish. Well, the name stuck, for the tortoises -- and eventually for the archipelago as well.

What's in a name, anyway? For more than three hundred years after their official discovery, whalers, sealers and pirates, who used the islands as a base for their raids, called them Las Encantadas, or The Enchanted Isles, after their supposed tendency to drift on the ocean, coming and going with the fog and mist. Sailor superstitions, like the belief that wicked sea captains turned into Galapagos tortoises upon death, only made the name seem more apt. But, then again, after Ecuador claimed ownership of the islands in 1832, they were temporarily dubbed the Archipelago de Colon, after Cristobal Colon (Spanish for Christopher Columbus), a name which many elderly Ecuadorians still use today. Paul with students on Santa Cruz

What's in a name, anyway? The island we were visiting last week, San Cristobal, is also named after Christopher Columbus; but it used to be called Chatham. (The main port on San Cristobal is called Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, but used to be called Bahia Naufragia -- Shipwreck Bay.) Until Ecuador declared official names in 1892, most of the islands had both Spanish and English names and, in some cases, another name, too. Since Spanish is the official language of Ecuador, mostly the Spanish names were chosen as the official ones. But, one of the islands, Darwin, is named after Charles Darwin, and another, Beagle, is named after the famous ship on which Charles Darwin sailed. Another island, officially named Santa Maria, was formerly called Charles, after a British monarch, but is mainly known today as Floreana. One of the islands is even called Sin Nombre or Nameless Island.

For the record, here are the official names of some of the main islands and islets in the archipelago, with former, English or currently used but unofficial names in parenthesis.

Baltra (South Seymour)
Bartolome (Bartholomew)
Cuatro Hermanos (Four Brothers; Crossman)
Darwin (Culpepper)
Espanola (Hood)
Fernanadina (Narborough)
Isabela (Albemarle)
Marchena (Bindloe)
Pinta (Abingdon)
Pinzon (Duncan)
Rabida (Jervis)
San Cristobal (Chatham)
San Salvador (known as Santiago; formerly known as James)
Santa Cruz (Indefatigable)
Santa Fe (Barrington)
Santa Maria (known as Floreana; formerly known as Charles)
Seymour Norte (North Seymour)
Sin Nombre (Nameless)
Tower (Genovesa)
Tortuga (Turtle; Brattle)
Wolf (Wenman)

The archipelago also has lots of famous giant rocks sticking up out of the sea with interestingMystery Animal Photo 2 names, like Leon Dormido (Sleeping Lion), Sombrero Chino (Chinese Hat) and Roca Redonda (Round Rock). Lots of names -- each with a history!

What's your name? Do you know why you were named what you are named? Are you named after someone? Has your family name officially or unofficially changed at some point in history? Do you have a nickname? Are you known more by your nickname or your real name? Who would you be without your name?


Mystery Animals

Mystery Animal Photo 1Speaking of names, can you name the animal in the mystery animal photos. We'll include more photos of the same animal in the next report. See if you can put the pieces together and solve the puzzle. We'll reveal the answer in Report #7. We're also going to wait till Report #7 to give you the answers to the last report's mystery animal and math problems.

In the meantime, Lilia has created a new section on the project Web site called Cutest of the Cute. It's like a beauty pageant, well, a cute pageant anyway -- and you are the judges! On the site, each of the twelve candidates presents its case for being the cutest Galapagos animal and you can decide the final rankings. So, visit the Web site and vote today!


Q and A Exchange:

Here are some more answers to your questions, this time provided by second, fifth and sixth graders at the Tomas de Berlanga School:

How many shark attacks are there annually?
Sharks here hardly ever attack because they have plenty of natural food in the ocean. People aren't their natural food. But, if the water gets warm [like during El Nino] and their natural food dies, sharks might attack people. Still, nobody in the class knows anybody that was ever attacked.

What do you do for fun?
We play soccer, go to the beach, play with our pets, go surfing, read books, go to parks, go to the loberia (sea lion beech) to see sharks and sea lions, ride bicycles, visit friends, and eat ice-cream in front of Pelican Bay, watching blue-footed boobies dive.

Do you ever see the sea lions?
Yes, many of us see sea lions every day, especially those of us whose parents own boats. Usually the sea lions sleep right on the boats. A female sea lion and her pup have been using one of our parents' boats lately. Ocean View

Do you catch any of the birds and make them tame?
No. It's not allowed.

Can you catch iguanas at all?
No. It's not allowed to take or catch any wild animals.

Is Galapagos a poor country?
Galapagos is not a country; it's a province of the country of Ecuador. There is some poverty here, but because the islands are a national park and a famous tourist attraction, and because the ocean provides a good living for many fisherman, most people here a not poor and some are rich.

What kind of pets do you have?
We have cats and dogs as pets. But since they are not endemic animals, we are told to take good care of them, making sure that they are kept inside the house and sterilizing them so that they won't threaten other wild animals.

What kind of dolphins do you have?
We don't know the names of the species, but we have several kinds of dolphins here. We call them all delfines (dolphins).

Do you go to the beach much?
Yes, almost all of us do.


Well, that's all for this report. For Lilia and all the students and teachers here:

Chao for now! Learn lots.



Index Page
Meet the Adventure Team
E-Log#1: New York
E-Log#2: Quito, Ecuador

E-Log#3: San Cristobal, Galapagos
E-Log#4: San Cristobal, Galapagos
E-Log#5: Santa Cruz Island

E-Log#6: Santa Cruz
E-Log#7: Santa Cruz
E-Log#8: Isabela Island
E-Log#9: Isabela


© 2007 OneWorld Classrooms. Text by Paul Hurteau. Photos by Dennis Pippen, Lilia Cai and Miguel Mosquero. All rights reserved.