NOT FAKE NEWS: Michael Jackson spotted on a remote beach in Galapagos!

I was in Galapagos 10 days ago, checking in on friends, former Darwin Station and Galapagos National Park Service colleagues, and seeing some of our service providers.   One nice thing to do while staying the the busy and noisy little town of Puerto Ayora for a break is to walk out to Tortuga Bay beach.  It's about a 45 minute walk from town.  This is a very long white sand beach with moderate waves rolling in.  It's beautiful.  At the far end of the beach is a quiet bay ringed by sandy beach with mangrove trees.  Here, you can spot turtles, rays and even white tipped reef sharks if you get in for a snorkel, along with marine iguanas and all kinds of shore birds.

I got up at 5:30AM and headed out there a week ago last Saturday.  I reached the beach and took a moment to gather my thoughts / "smell the roses" etc... and lo and behold, who should show up behind me?  Michael Jackson!   

I first met Michael Jackson in 1985 - he was doing his teaching practicum at the school in which I was teaching science.   I remember chatting with him - he told me about his work as a naturalist guide in, of all places, GALAPAGOS!  How exotic I thought.   A place I'd likely never see in my lifetime.  Michael left guiding to do his masters' degree - and he smartly turned his masters' thesis into a natural history guide book of the islands.  His book "Galapagos - A Natural History" was the first comprehensive such book to be published and has sold thousands of copies since. 

He is currently back in Galapagos to do some research for a new edition of the book.   It was great to meet him there at the beach and to spend an hour or two together, talking about natural history, changes in Galapagos, and his plans for the new edition of his book.   You can buy one on-line here.


Left: The one and only Michael Jackson.  Right: CNH Tours co-founder Marc Patry

In the backbround: Marine iguanas doing what they do best.

Tortuga Bay, Santa Cruz Island