2007: 138. The Voyage of the Beagle

“After having been twice driven back by heavy southwestern gales, Her Majesty’s ship Beagle, a ten-gun brig, under the command of Captain FitzRoy, R.N. sailed from Devonport on the 27th of December, 1831.”

The Voyage of the Beagle, Charles Darwin

This is Darwin’s first bestseller, and it predates his theories of evolution (though even here you get some twinges).  It’s a travelogue and naturalist’s guide to his voyage on the Beagle, and details his impressions of the places he saw, from the Cape Verde Islands to New Zealand, and every place in between, which largely means South America - he seems to have crawled over every inch of the place, an impressive feat considering it was 1832.  The condition of life that he lived in are just dazzling, if you think about it - no bathing, no toothbrushes, scrambling up rocks, dodging outlaws, and all in the name of learning about nature.  We think of Darwin as a crotchety old man, and he certainly became one, but his voyage on the Beagle was an adventure, pure and simple.


My favorite part was the chapter on the Galapagos, natch, because it was fun to read about the finches et al while staring at at them.  The book itself got a little dry in parts - I was more interested in Darwin’s travails than long stories of how he thought rock formations got there, but it was over all, a good travelogue for any South American explorer.


Recommended for: People traveling to South America, especially the Galapagos, who want to know what it was once like, Darwin groupies


Date/Place Completed: 9/1/07; floating among the Galapagos

Categories: Non-Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017