Guest post by Rob Viens, science teacher and current Dean of the Science Division at Bellevue College in Washington State.
See here for Rob's earlier post about facing illness and fear in the jungle.
For the past few months I have been following Darwin's voyage on the Beaglethrough the daily entries in his personal diary and field notebooks â€" trying to get to know him as a person and relive his first encounters with the natural environment of the New World. Down House/English Heritage recreation of Charles Darwin at work in his cabin.
Photo Lisa TaylorAmong other things, I have come to the conclusion that being a naturalist may be a lost art and, more importantly, that the world needs naturalists like Charles Darwin more then ever before.
Excellent post on a "cousin" blog today by Rob Viens, science teacher and current Dean of the Science Division at Bellevue College in Washington State (and soon-to-be blogger in this forum).
Here's an excerpt:
"I felt unwell, with a little shivering & sicknessâ€¦ could eat nothing at one oclock, which was the first time I was able to procure anything. â€" Travelled on till it was dark, felt miserably faint & exhausted; I often thought I should have fallen off my horse. â€¦ All night felt very unwell; it did not require much imagination to paint the horrors of illness in a foreign country, without being able to speak one word or obtain any medical aid.â€� (Apr 11, from Darwin's journal)
...It is pretty clear that on this night 180 years ago, Darwin was more than a little scared. And really, who could blame him? He felt terrible all day and had no idea why (did he drink the water?). He had not doctors in his party, nor did he know how to communicate with the locals (language never seemed to be a strong subject for him â€" I can relate.) And the reality was that people died of tropical diseases in the 1800â€²s much more frequently than today. He knew that there was a chance that he might not survive the trip and Iâ€™m sure moments like this made that thought seem a real possibility.
Iâ€™d be scared, too.
Rob's map of this leg of the voyage
Read more at The Beagle Project