Genovesa Island

Apr 24, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II


Genovesa: home of more than one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, from Nazca, red-, and blue-footed boobies, to gulls, owls, fur seals, hammerheads sharks, turtles, and manta rays.

Our adventure began with a walk starting from the famous Prince Philip’s Steps, where we were surrounded by boobies and frigates. Today was certainly a red-footed booby day, and we were privileged further in getting to witness the male frigates with their red gular pouches inflated—eager bachelors all of them—waiting to be selected by females. Chicks were abound, and Nazca boobies were also ramping up on their mating season as well.

Back aboard we prepared for our last snorkel outing, during which we enjoyed encounters with many fish and playful sea lions and fur seals. To see them this close brings excitement and admiration.

After this great adventure, we returned to National Geographic Endeavour II, anchored inside a Genovesa caldera. Waiting to be debriefed for our departure, we enjoyed our last delicious lunch, compliments of an outstanding 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. The beach, named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, gives honor to a great naturalist who re-directed human thought in ways still felt throughout the world of research and contemporary life to this day, Charles Darwin. At high tide and over a platform, we strolled along what felt like a thunderstorm of wildlife, including numerous bird species and their chicks.  As visitors from an outside world, we were very much moved to see such an innocent yet thriving cycle of life taking place immediately before us.

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 these islands and reflect upon the last moments of being in their company, somehow this place seals in a timelessness. It is now deep within our hearts, our experience has been an unforgettable one: These are the lands where wildlife is unflinching and helps us to realize that we are not so different.

“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying, ‘don’t humanize the animals,’ but instead, ‘animalize the human,’ by perceiving our surrounding with all our senses; embracing nature by coexistence and respect for one another, so we can become one with nature as we once were.” Celso Montalvo.

A certain familial bond has been set from this week, united by this invisible mysticism. At the end of our journey, we hope to stay in touch, and those of us leading this expedition have only to wish that the experience our guests had in their time here will keep for no less than a lifetime.

Adiós, hermanos y hermanas.

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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.

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