Genovesa: Darwin Bay & Prince Phillips Steps

Dec 22, 2017 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Today we visited Genovesa, located on the northeast part of the Archipelago, this island is strongly influenced by the Panama current and is surrounded by a deep water, the platform drops dramatically to more than 12000 feet below sea level, therefore is the ideal habitat for seabirds that feed on pelagic waters.

Early in the morning we observed for the first time during this journey the red-footed boobies, Genovesa is the home to the largest colony of this species around the tropical oceans with more than 145,000 pairs. This island also harbors thousands of sea birds, including red-billed tropical birds, great frigate birds, Nazca boobies, shearwaters and petrels.

On the beach we observed shallow tailed gulls mating, several nests of great frigate birds several nests of red footed boobies at different stages, from eggs to juveniles. We also spotted the yellow crowned heron and several curious juveniles of the red-footed boobies. We also observed the prickly cactus variety from Genovesa, with soft spines and cactus pads that grow close to the ground as an adaptation to the lack of land iguanas and land tortoises.

In the afternoon we climbed Prince Phillips steps. We observed several pairs of Nazca boobies in courtship, as well as juvenile frigate birds. We seek for the elusive Galapagos owl, our group did not have luck but Pato´s group did. Finally we observed a wonderful sunset inside Darwin Bay from the deck of the National Geographic Endeavour II, what a great way to finish a wonderful week. 

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About the Author

Luis Vinueza


Luis arrived in the Galápagos Islands for the first time when he was 11 years old in 1983, and from that time on he knew that Galápagos would one day be his home. He returned to the islands in 1995 and spent 14 months camping in a tent. Seven of those months were spent on Española Island, studying the relationship of reproductive success and mate retention of Nazca boobies. In 1997, he started working for the marine lab at the Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) on different fields including diving surveys to assess the patterns of marine biodiversity around the Galápagos Marine Reserve. His research included counting lobsters and sea cucumbers and participating as an advisor for CDRS during the negotiation process that led to the 1998 creation of the Galápagos Marine Reserve. 

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