Lindblad Expeditions - From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos - Celso Montalvo, naturalist/photo instructor; Photo
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From the National Geographic Endeavour in Galapagos

Oct 19, 2012 - National Geographic Endeavour

Red footed booby
Frigate bird and red footed booby

Genovesa Island

Tower or Genovesa, home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, from Nazca, red & blue-footed boobies and gulls to owls, fur seals, hammerhead sharks, turtles and manta rays.

Our adventure began with a walk that started at the famous Prince Philip’s Steps where we were surrounded by Nazca, red-footed boobies and frigate bird chicks. Suddenly one of our guests was able to find the elusive short-ear owl, and soon after we witnessed an impressive behavior I have not seen for a while, the interaction between a young, new arrival and an older owl who had enough of him. It was lucky for us to witness this show. All of us felt rewarded to have a unique view.

Back aboard, we prepared for our last snorkeling outing in search of the undersea realm. Today we had close encounters with a few pacific green turtles. Seeing them close up brought excitement and admiration.

After this great adventure, we came back to our ship anchored inside Genovesa caldera to be briefed about our departure and enjoy our last delicious lunch, prepared with pride by our culinary staff.

We were then ready to start off our next adventure, which was a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay, named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, in honor of a great naturalist who redirected human thought, Charles Darwin. At low tide and over a platform we walked surrounded by birds of all kids, their chicks, behaviors and colors. We were moved to see so many chicks and adult seabirds and parents taking care of them to one day they can fend for themselves. We were also happy to find a few marine iguanas, which are smaller and darker than we had seen previously; this northern hemisphere island has much different ecology and – like a Petri-dish – different results.

Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. There were birds flying all over, like in prehistoric times, and lava formations resembling the first foundation of Earth. Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about the many experiences of such a wonderful week. As we look back and gaze at the islands for the last time, this place now seems to be timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts and our experience has been unforgettable on these special islands, where the wildlife that has no fear and allows us to realize that we are not so different.

We have all bonded like a family, united by this invisible mysticism; at the end of our journey we hope to stay in touch and that the experience our guests had this week will stay with them for a lifetime.

About the Author

Celso Montalvo·Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Celso was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador. At the age of nine he arrived in the Galápagos for the first time and he was profoundly touched by nature, observation, and isolation.  When he saw the sharks, rays and turtles swimming in the bay, he was triggered by a sense of wonder that he did not feel before.  Celso believes education is key to preservation. After graduating from the Naval Academy at the age of 17 he moved to New York to continue his education.