Our kayakers departed at 6:30 a.m. to explore the amazing cliffs that form the old crater ring of Genovesa bay. In fact, it is one of the oldest volcanos forming Galapagos. Also, Genovesa is known as the bird island because of the thousands of sea birds living there. One of the most common seen is the red footed booby, which is a pelagic bird that gets its food many miles off Galapagos and the smallest of the three kinds of boobies found in the islands. Only here can you enjoy the presence of these three boobies.
Another peculiar fact is the absence of reptiles; here you find no land iguanas, no lava lizards, and no snakes, which are common in the rest of the archipelago. So, our kayakers were fascinated observing all the amazing wildlife nesting on the cliff.
Breakfast was a good way to build our energy. Then, we had a wet landing on Darwin Bay. Today the water was warm. On the tiny beach that forms the bay we found some sea lions basking under the tame sun, behind them some swallow tail gulls were nesting on the bare ground. The walk was amazing; one of the highlights of Galapagos is having the birds and animals so close to us. As a park rule we keep a distance of 6 feet away from them, but sometimes because of the narrowness of the trail we have to pass close to them. They mostly ignore our happy travelers that take tons of pictures of them.
At the end of the path there is a viewpoint, from there once can see the magnificent bay full of wildlife.
We returned to the beach. Some of our guests decided to stay there to cool off, while others, in search of more adventure, came with me to the deep water snorkeling – and we enjoyed it! A black tip shark and a wide variety of multicolor fish were seen by our intrepid group of skin divers. We finished our morning very pleased and lucky to have such a great time.
In the afternoon we went to the other side of the bay, to a place called Prince Phillip’s steps. We climbed to the top of the cliff and then we proceeded to walk for about two hours looking for all kinds of wildlife. Many of the sea birds are nesting, it makes our stay so special, and our goal is to find at least one short eared owl, an endemic raptor to the Galapagos Islands. Indeed! We saw two of them, they were feeding on storm petrels – and our mission was accomplished! We also enjoyed seeing frigates chasing red billed tropic birds; they grabbed them by the tail and forced them to regurgitate their food. Frigates are the pirates of the air and they have this rare behavior known as Cleptoparasitism, which is robbing the food from other birds.
On our way back to the ship we saw turtles mating in the water, and one of our guests spot a hammerhead shark swimming very close to the surface. It was a great way to end our day. It has been a great week, full of surprises. I say to all our explorers that stayed with us this week: “tomorrow, when you get back home, any of the next days, at the moment you face any obstacle in life, just close your eyes and think for a moment in all these great memories you have experienced in this unique world, the harmony of the nature, its sound, its energy, then open your eyes and see how the obstacle is gone, and don’t forget that always something can be done about it!” Bon Voyage, amigos!