Every three years the Salinas Yacht Club, Ecuadorian Navy, and Clase Oceanica del Ecuador, organize the Copa Galapagos Regatta in Ecuador; one of the most important Pacific Ocean Regattas in South America.

I had a unique opportunity to participate as part of the crew of my good friend Captain Rafael Gomez, Felipe y Diego Gomez, Gonzalo Vargas, Arturo Iturralde, Ricky Mora, Juan Pena, and Rafael Bazan on the 45 foot sailboat, “Carita Vessel a Beneteau.”

It is a spectacular competition with the final destination 661 miles of ocean crossing away: the Galapagos Islands. The race is divided into five legs.

The first is 12 miles to Barlo Sota, the second is 590 miles from Salinas to Santa Cruz; one of the Galapagos Islands. The third is 25 miles from coastal circuit Port Ayora to Santa Fe Island. The fourth is 49 miles from Port Ayora, Santa Fe Island to Baquerizo Moreno. The fifth is 25 miles of a coastal race rounding San Cristobal Island.

Galapagos Islands features some of the world’s most unique and endemic wildlife species and wonderful beaches that continually rank among the world’s best. This living laboratory offer visitors a spectacle to be admired, a daily story that will turn their journey into a story to forever be told.

The Galapagos Islands is a world treasure made famous by Charles Darwin. Since then, many tourists have come to visit its shores. With more than 400 species of fish, and an abundance of wildlife, there is plenty to see.

The Islands lie in the Pacific Ocean 926 kilometers east of the Ecuadorean mainland. The archipelago hosts 20 volcanic islands, and 42 islets, consisting of over 250 types of volcanic rock.

“The giant tortoises of Galapagos are among the most famous of the unique fauna of the Islands. While giant tortoises once thrived on most of the continents of the world, the Galapagos tortoises now represent one of the only remaining two groups of giant tortoises in the entire world. The Galapagos Islands were named for their giant tortoises; the old Spanish word galapago meant saddle, a term early explorers used for the tortoises due to the shape of their shells.”

Charles Darwin's visit to the Galapagos Islands had a resounding impact on the formation of his “Theory of Natural Selection.” Darwin accompanied Captain Robert Fitzroy as a travel companion and naturalist on the HMS Beagle. His book “The Voyage of the Beagle” is an account of the worldwide journey.

During his visit to the islands, Darwin noted that the unique creatures were similar from island to island, but perfectly adapted to their environments which led him to ponder the origin of the islands' inhabitants.

Among those that struck Darwin so greatly were the finches that are now named in his honor. Darwin would later base some of his thought from the supposition that these finches were all descendants of the same lineage.

Years later in 1859, Darwin finally consolidated all of his observations into his famous book, “On the Origin of Species,” drastically and controversially altering the scientific view on the biological origins of life.