A German naturalist looks at those rocky, volcanic islands off the coast of Ecuador which an explorer once called ""extraordinary, it looked as though it had rained rocks."" The author, who had previously visited the islands as part of a German expedition in 1954, returned there in 1957 to select a site for a biology station and conservation commission. He found a weird collection of animal life---iguanas, sea lions and seals, tortoises, cormorants---- subject to savage, needless extermination by humans. But he studied the animals closely, comparing notes with Darwin's trip to the Galapagos recorded in Voyage of the Beagle. He also researched other old accounts of visits there, which he quotes, while giving most of his attention to fascinating naturalist descriptions of the animal life itself. His underwater meeting with three sharks, or his ascension of the dormant volcano Narborough, make especially thrilling interludes.