Prince Philip's Steps in the Galapagos Islands

All was quiet on the blog recently because the Royal Posters were travelling around the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. They are close to 1,000 kilometres off the mainland and suffice to say are not known for having great wifi access!

A handy map at the Quito airport
A handy wall map at the Quito airport

As I’m sure you know, the Galapagos are  famed for their incredible biodiversity and the number of endemic species that lead Charles Darwin to come up with his Theory of Evolution. The islands were made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 in order to help preserve them. The trip was awesome and it was exhilarating to be out (and in!) the water seeing such a variety of beautiful birds and fish as well as the Galapagos penguin and many sea turtles and tortoises. Here are a few snapshots I took during the trip:

Off on a snorkelling adventure...those mesh bags hold the gear!
Off on a snorkelling adventure…those handy mesh bags hold the masks and flippers.
A Red Footed Booby, not to be confused with the Blue Footed Booby.
A Red Footed Booby. Not to be confused with the Blue Footed Booby.
And what a pretty blue!
And what a pretty blue!
These Furry Seals and Sea Lions were tuckered out!
These Fur Seals and Sea Lion were tuckered out from hunting and were taking a snooze on the cliffs of Genovesa Island.
We snorkeled with these penguins. They are FAST!
We snorkeled with these penguins. They are FAST!

But  what does this all have to do with royalty, you may wonder?

Well, our last day exploring the islands involved an excursion to a lovely spot known as Prince Philip’s Steps. They are on Genovesa island and were named in recognition of Prince Philip’s 1964 visit to the islands. He was there due to his interest in conservation and wildlife research and sailed in on the Royal Yacht Britannia.   The steps are extremely steep and a bit of a hike to get up. Apparently a recent crop of tourists fell like dominoes on the way down and one poor fellow ended up in the water. You can see why:

The Approach to Prince Philip's Steps. Excuse the smudge on the lens!
The Approach to Prince Philip’s Steps. Excuse the smudges on the lens!

Here’s a closer view, extra big to get the effect:

Mind your stepping!
Mind your stepping!

A highlight of our hike around the island was spotting not one but TWO owls. They are so camouflaged. Can you spot the guy below?

Owl

I can’t track down any photo’s of Prince Philip climbing up the steps himself. However, we do have this photo from his most recent visit in 1980 when he struck this awesome pose on a rock. Love the sneakers!

Prince Philip visiting the Galapagos  Islands in 1980. Via Prince Philip Galapagos ALbum Facebook.
Prince Philip visiting the Galapagos Islands in 1980. (Via Prince Philip Galapagos Album Facebook.)

Prince Philip’s interest in the Galapagos continues. He is Patron of the Charles Darwin Foundation, and in 2009 he unveiled this life-sized bronze statue of Charles Darwin at Cambridge University. The statue is meant to show Darwin as he would have looked in his student days. There he is, looking into the future with great seriousness.

Prince Philips with a statue of Charles Darwin
Prince Philips with a statue of Charles Darwin (Via DogsInArt.com)

Other Royals who have visited the Galapagos include Prince Charles and Camilla. They were there in 2009 as part of a tour of South America. THIS is how you dress for a beach walk to observe wildlife, am I right?? I love that Prince Charles thought to wear a Panama hat, too. Fun Fact: although they are called “Panama” hats, they actually traditionally come from Ecuador where they are still woven by hand.

Camilla and Charles in the Galapagos in 2009, via Daily Mail
Camilla and Charles in the Galapagos in 2009, (via Daily Mail)
Another day, another outfit. Here they are with Lonesome Geroge! (via Daily Mail)
Another day, another outfit to see some Giant Tortoises (via Daily Mail)

On a more serious note, in 2011 it was announced that the Prince’s Foundation would assist with ensuring that a building development would impact the islands as little as possible. More information on the project can be found here. Perhaps he’ll make another visit soon to track the progress.

To end, here’s a pic of one of the giant tortoises we saw. Thanks for popping by!

Just moseying along...
Just moseying along…

2 Replies to “Prince Philip's Steps in the Galapagos Islands”

  1. So great that you are back. I missed your regular posts. Your personal photos are amazing – had to look at the owl one on “the big screen” to see it. So cute. Did you bring along a parasol? If so, am thinking it must have been a bit redundant on the hikes …

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