The Enchanted Islands

“There are not too many places more powerful than the Galapagos Islands when it comes to understanding our planet. ‘Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland’ perfectly captures what makes this archipelago so extraordinary and what makes the creatures living there such unique characters. I am always reminded when I’m exploring the Galapagos, how critical this tiny chain of islands is to the study of how life has developed on our planet.”

Jeff Corwin
Narrator of the North American release

A study of the fascinating geological history of the Galapagos archipelago, known as the enchanted islands, reveals why this island chain is unique. The islands rose explosively from the ocean over four million years ago, and their location on drifting continental plates keeps each island biologically isolated. The computer-generated images in Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland beautifully illustrate this incredible millennia-spanning science story, revealing the volcanic islands in three very different stages of their geological development:

  • The youngest islands are volcanic-black, still growing and breathing fire.
  • The middle-aged islands have mountains and habitats that are lush and green.
  • The oldest have long since ceased to erupt and have crumbled into soft sandy beaches.

The Galapagos Islands are positioned on the equator, where converging crosswinds and nutrient-rich currents brought life to these shores and still help to sustain it. Over time, the islands have provided habitats for a remarkable variety of unique and spectacular creatures. Among the lava rocks of the island shorelines, there are marine iguanas, a unique species of iguana that has developed the ability to forage for food in the sea. These marine reptiles graze on sea-grass and algae, and have adapted to their ocean-dwelling environment in part by spitting excess sea-salt from their noses. They have come to symbolise the power of evolutionary change in these islands.

As we explore the islands, high up on the hills of forested mature islands we see giant, tree-sized plants that have grown from dandelion seeds. The condensed moisture pooled on the leaves of these plants provides an oasis for abundant insect life. Deep in the lava-tunnels beneath the islands, there are spiders that live permanently underground, blending perfectly into the darkness.

Beneath the sea we see a plentiful marine ecosystem that boasts everything from microscopic plankton to gigantic whale sharks. This abundant marine food supply has also attracted and supported some unique birds, including cormorants that have lost the ability to fly, dancing albatrosses with enormous wing spans, tiny penguins that have travelled all the way from the Antarctic, and boobies with dazzling blue feet.

A study of the giant tortoises that gave the Galapagos Islands their name, demonstrates how subtle adaptations have made them one of the most successful species in the whole archipelago. Some can weigh up to half a tonne but their shape and size vary from island to island as each species has adapted to the unique environment of its particular island habitat.

Filmed for the first time in 3D, we see rare and newly discovered species like the Pink iguana along with iconic Galapagos creatures found nowhere else on earth. These remarkable plants and animals have transformed our understanding of the whole of life on earth. And now Galapagos 3D: Nature’s Wonderland offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to study up close these extraordinary enchanted isles.