Sep 29, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II
Our last full day in Galapagos aboard the National Geographic Endeavor II provided us with our first and last views of the red-footed boobies. We arose to a striking view of the island of Genovesa, a horse-shoe shaped island surrounded by cliffs. After a healthy breakfast in the dining room, the morning began with a hike up a steep path known as Prince Philip’s Steps, in order to experience the vast seabird colony. At the top, we utilized a trail through a palo santo forest to view an array of red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, storm petrels, red-billed tropicbirds, frigates, mockingbirds, and a short-eared owl. We even encountered the smallest marine iguanas in the archipelago. The morning event was not one to forget, as we were front row to a melody of birdcalls resonating across the island.
Following our interactions with the seabirds, we had the opportunity to participate in the last deep-sea snorkeling adventure along the steep walls of Darwin’s Bay. Snorkelers were mesmerized by beautiful king angelfish, parrotfish, sea urchins, and a pufferfish. We were also surprised to come across two Galapagos fur seals, who surged into the water for a quick swim. Although not as playful as the sea lions, the fur seals displayed graceful, fluid movements that we were able to capture on our underwater cameras.
Right after snorkeling, we had a flavorful lunch on the observation deck. We grazed on an assortment of flavorful food like a seafood casserole, marinated pork, and the ever so popular chocolate lava cookies. We definitely have been spoiled this week with such delicious, ethnic cuisines. Quickly after we finished, several people went back out on the water for the last kayak and paddle board outings. They drifted alongside the tall cliff walls of Darwin’s Bay and paused to view the seabirds at a different angle.
Upon their return, many of us ventured out to take a walk along the beach at Darwin’s Bay. We observed similar seabirds from this morning, but the ones who were the most noticeable were the Nazca booby baby chicks. Cameras were clicking in unison to capture the offspring of the fascinating seabird species. On each island, any baby animal has halted our attention. We are very thankful to have fulfilled the desire to catch glimpses of such rare seabirds like the boobies.
Once the sunset and everyone returned on board, we began our conclusion to our amazing expedition in the Galapagos. As a whole group, we congregated in the lounge to watch a slideshow of personal photographs from the week. We also shared our most memorable and vivid moments, many of which are thanks to the amazing staff, crew, and naturalists. They truly made this an unforgettable adventure. The Galapagos Islands were an unbelievable marvel, one that we will never forget. We are all encouraged to share our experiences back home, and to represent the passion and knowledge shared on this voyage of a lifetime.
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