I have always liked maps. I’m not sure when it began, perhaps just taking car trips in the old days before GPS and trying to get from point A to point B. I remember I had (still have, actually) a road atlas that I used to “read” nights when I couldn’t sleep. All the towns with funny names, all the vast spaces. Places I might go someday.
Google Earth and Google Maps became something I would spend hours with, I suppose the way some people spend time reading or watching movies. For instance, this week I saw on a map (perhaps on a TV weather report, I’m not sure) a big-ish island off the coast of Baja, Mexico in the Pacific. I had been to Catalina when I was younger and wondered what this place would be like. I went to Google Maps and found out I was called Guadalupe Island. Wiki told me lots more.
Some fishermen still lived in camps there seasonally. Some goats dropped off by whalers in the 1800s stripped the island of pretty much all vegetation. Even some small forests disappeared.
Guadalupe shares the California chaparral and woodlands ecoregion with the Channel Islands of California in the United States, but the island was at one time practically denuded of all plants higher than a few centimeters by up to 100,000[note 1] feral goats.
Originally brought there in the 19th century by European whalers and sealers for provisions when stopping over, the population eventually eliminated most vegetation; the number of goats declined to a few thousand. The main impact of the goat population was before this collapse, about the turn of the 19th/20th century.
The last of the goats were removed by 2005, so maybe things will come back. There is also a landing strip on the middle of the island and if you zoom in close, a crashed plane at the end of the runway. Found a few small encampments along the shore. If I’m ever in the neighborhood I definitely will stop by.