Sunday, April 01, 2007

Some facts about Isla del Coco

Size: 2,400 hectares of land 18,575 hectares of sea; distance from San José: 600 kilometers; dry season: January through March

This island was discovered in 1526. Because of the islands wealth of coconut trees and plentiful drinking water, the island became very well known and served as a good hide-away for the pirates and privateers who flourished along the Pacific coasts of Spanish America in the 17th and 18th centuries.

Cocos Island often called Costa Rica's Galapagos. The similarities are its great distance from the mainland, the endemic species, and the great expense involved in getting there.
This isolated island, located more than 500 kilometers from Costa Rica's Pacific coast, is of volcanic origin. Its great distance from possible sources of colonizing plants and animals has made it a natural laboratory for evolutionary biologists.

The two lizard species must have arrived on rafts of vegetation. Both species have close relatives living in Central and South America. There is also at least one endemic species of freshwater fish, Cotylopus cocoensis. It too has relatives on the mainland, in Panama to be exact, but the only conceivable way that its ancestors arrived here would be as eggs on the feet of birds.

The island is famous for three buried treasures which were hidden here by William Davies, Benito "Bloody Sword" Bonito (pic right) and William Thompson between 1684 and 1821. The Lima Booty, hidden by Thompson, is without a doubt the most valuable of all three. It consisted of tons of gold and silver bars, sheets of gold that covered the domes of churches and church adornments, sacred articles and statues, in particular a life-size statue of the Virgin and Child in pure gold. Treasure hunters have conducted over 500 expeditions to date but according to the information available, they have only produced a few doubloons. In September of 1869, the government of Costa Rica organized an official expedition claimed to search for the treasures and on September 15th, the Costa Rican flag flew on a mast of balsa wood and the expedition claimed the island for Costa Rica. Read more here!

Interesting link with some more exciting information about this treasure island.

1 comments:

Panda said...

I like to read explanations like these:
"The two lizard species must have arrived on rafts of vegetation. Both species have close relatives living in Central and South America."
"There is also at least one endemic species of freshwater fish, Cotylopus cocoensis. It too has relatives on the mainland, in Panama to be exact, but the only conceivable way that its ancestors arrived here would be as eggs on the feet of birds."
I don't have all the answers, but it seems like we always need to find a 'logical' explanation - but maybe this is just one of life's unsolved mysteries? Or did the pirates take some lizards and fresh water fishes with them?