An English group called the Beagle Project Pembrokeshire is building a replica of the ship that carried Charles Darwin to the Galapagos and beyond. Founders David Lort-Phillips, who counts the Beagle‘s mate as an ancestor, and Peter McGrath intend to dispatch this new Beagle on another circumnavigation beginning in 2009.
The ship will return to many of Darwin’s key stopovers, including the aforementioned equatorial islands so teeming with cunningly beaked songbirds. They’re planning to shave a couple of years off Darwin’s five-year voyage with the help of two diesel workhorses down below. By 2011, the ship will enter into a life of taking students to sea a la the James Cook, punctuated by chartered science expeditions for those researchers whose work simply can’t be done without a beamy three-master.
It sounds a bit cramped and primitive for modern scientific research. But then again, it was a very similar ship that sailed into the greatest biological discovery in history. I only hope they reserve one berth for Her Majesty’s blogger. Even voyages of discovery must evolve, after all.
P.S. I got to this site through the Filter, a great place to find amusingly scientific images. Scroll past Pac-Man to get to 7th graders’ drawings of scientists before and after they visited Fermilab.