Friday, September 17, 2010

I didn't know that

Robinson Crusoe Island

Robinson Crusoe Island (Isla Róbinson Crusoe), is the largest island of the Chilean Juan Fernández archipelago, situated 674 km west of South America in the South Pacific Ocean. The archipelago is made up of three islands, Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk (not shown) and the much smaller Santa Clara.

Robinson Crusoe is mountainous, with a rolling, rugged terrain, formed by ancient lava flows from volcanic eruptions.

This mountainous island has a population of nearly 600, with all of them living in the coastal village of San Juan Bautista. To reach the island, the flying time from Santiago, Chile is about three hours.

The island was first named Juan Fernandez Island after the Spanish captain who first landed there in 1574. However, it was a sailor named Alexander Selkirk that made the island famous as he was marooned here for over four years from 1704 to 1709, and became the inspiration for Daniel Defoe's classic novel, Robinson Crusoe.

We visited the island in late January, 2010, and we have a series of Photos!
I sure I'm just displaying the deficiency of my education.  I wonder if he's related to the Selkirk who stranded a bunch of Scottish farmers (crofters) near Winnepeg.

Hey, I just happened to run across this article...  But before I mention that, I need to say something about the Tsunami that destroyed the village (of 600 people - all the inhabitants of the island -- Wikipedia has links to articles about it) back in February.  I don't know what to say, other than 'that's terrible!'  Only five people were killed, fortunately, but they've had a lot of work to do.

The article:
On my last day I climbed up from San Juan Bautista into the one area of pristine rainforest. Here, in the crater formed by the island's highest point, El Yunque, an anvil-shaped peak, lives this island's true treasure, a creature five inches long: the Juan Fernandez firecrown, Sephanoides fernandensis. It's a hummingbird.

The man who took me into the forest was Federico Pirol, a conservationist who had come to the island to count the nesting firecrowns. He believes there are fewer than 400; of these, perhaps only a dozen will be breeding.
Breeding has become increasingly difficult because the vegetation in the crater is being consumed by fast-growing, all-conquering maquis, colonies of brambles and shrubs. Pirola must weed them out, and it is a Sisyphean task.

"We need volunteers to come and help us," he told me. "The Yunque crater is the last original patch of rainforest left on the island, maybe 13 hectares or so, and if it dies, then so do these birds. Maybe English people would come here and spend some weeks in the crater. It will be a hard task for them. But they will be helping to save a most precious and spectacular creature."
So there are a couple of calls to action from Isla Robinson Crusoe.

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