February-March Voyage of the Beagle Birth of a Theory Darwin is lying on a forest floor in Valdivia, on the coast of Chile, when suddenly he feels the earth move beneath him. There was no difficulty in standing upright; but the motion made me giddy I can compare it to skating on very thin ice or to the motion of a ship in a little cross ripple.
An earthquake like this at once destroys the oldest associations; the world, the very emblem of all that is solid, moves beneath our feet like crust over a fluid; one second of time conveys to the mind a strange idea of insecurity, which hours of reflection would never create. To my mind since leaving England, we have scarcely beheld any one other sight so deeply interesting.
The land was clearly raised by the quake. If this took place in minutes, what changes, wonders Darwin, might Earth have undergone over eons? Trekking across them, Darwin comes upon a grove of fossilized trees at 7, feet. These trees, with sandstone sediments "once waved their branches on the shores of the Atlantic.
His cousin and close friend William Darwin Fox writes about the bliss of marital life and his newborn child. It strikes a chord in Charles, now nearly four years into his voyage.
This voyage is terribly long I do so earnestly desire to return, Yet I dare hardly look forward to the future, for I do not know what will become of me. Innumerable crabs and hideous iguanas started in every direction as we scrambled from rock to rock. Darwin's is equally grim. A broken field of black basaltic lava, thrown into the most rugged waves and crossed by great fissures.
We fancied that even the bushes smelt unpleasantly. King killed one with his hat But at the time he fails to even recognize that they are all finches. Darwin enjoys riding on the giant tortoises, called galapagos in Spanish. I frequently go on their backs, and then, giving a few raps on the hinder part of their shells, they would rise up and walk away -- but I found it very difficult to keep my balance.
Of the land iguanas, he writes: Their tails are flattened sideways, and all four feet partially webbed A decade later, though, he will write: Most of the organic productions are aboriginal creations, found nowhere else; there is even a difference between the inhabitants of the different islands. Yet all show a marked relationship with those of America, though separated by an open space of ocean, between miles.
Could creatures have drifted from the mainland to inhabit the newly formed islands, and then, somehow, have changed to become new species? Darwin, years after his visit, sees the Galapagos with awe: Some of them shave the crowns of their heads, but Darwin can't get a satisfying explanation why.