Jun 21, 2019 - National Geographic Endeavour II

Located up in the northernmost part of the archipelago, quite distant from any of the central islands, Genovesa is an extremely interesting place. Its isolation makes life possible mainly for sea birds here, and they are among the most numerous inhabitants of the place. The early morning light gave us a very good opportunity to see the walls of the crater that collapsed a few million years ago.

This place has a special kind of atmosphere. Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls and the very colorful red-footed boobies together with the very contrasting landscape, have earned Genovesa the recognition as one of the jewels of the crown, one of the most interesting sites to be explored around this enchanted archipelago.

Prince Philip’s steps and its lava plateaus that have been conquered by palo santo trees have created a nesting territory for more boobies. As we headed out for a walk on the open area, we found ourselves surrounded again by lava flows, which in this case are the territory of thousands storm petrels that covered the sky. At first glimpse, they looked like those clouds of mosquitos that are normally found in jungle areas. It was incredible to see how much activity can be found on this bizarre distant place. As the petrels come here to nest, their predator, the short-eared owl quietly waits for them in the open fields, looking for the perfect opportunity to attack.

The white coralline beach and the red mangroves are in this island the nesting place for red-footed boobies. Minor frigatebirds that have already mated are now sharing cores of incubation and the raising of the chicks. A few bachelors are displaying their half-inflated pouches to females that don’t seem to be particularly interested in them yet. They will have to practice and fully inflate them in order to be taken seriously.

The images of today, we are sure, will remain our minds for the rest of our lives. What a special way to end our expedition around this enchanted archipelago; it has been a fantastic week, and we now know that these islands will never leave us.

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About the Author

Ximena Cordova


Ximena was born in Cuenca, the third largest city of Ecuador. Located in the Andes Mountains, Cuenca is known as the cultural capital of Ecuador and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Trust site because of its many historical buildings. Ximena gained experience with American culture as an exchange student in Santa Barbara, CA, and later, while living and working at the United Nations in New York City for four and a half years.

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