Galapagos Illusions and Port Protocol

As the black tooth climbs higher into the sky it begins to look more like an island of some substance. From the charts and its shape, it is established that they are indeed gazing at Santa Cruz Island. On the western side is Academy Bay and Puerto Ayora, their final destination. At this moment, with the island dominating the offing, it suddenly disappears and leaves what appears to be a blank canvas on which, only moments ago was a very real island. The captain, deliciously (for him), allows the crew to panic momentarily and then explains rather loftily that this phenomenon is known as the ‘Garua Effect’ and is peculiar to the Galapagos Islands. During the dry or ‘Garua’ season, inversion layers form over the highlands of the islands and frequently a fine mist forms. This translucent haze very often obscures the high ground making it invisible to the observer from a distance. They, being well back over the horizon unable to see the unobscured lower slopes, and with the western sky now cloudy, the impression of the island disappearing is very genuine.