Darwin Bay and Prince Phillip Steps

Mar 13, 2020 - National Geographic Endeavour II

After breakfast, we had a wet landing to explore Darwin Bay. As soon as we got to the site we encountered hundreds of red-footed boobies, some of them nesting on red mangroves, others looking for nesting material to build their nests in trees.

Genovesa is a magical island, especially right now, since we are in the middle of the breeding season for frigate birds, red-footed boobies, and swallow-tailed gulls.

Male magnificent frigate birds are on display, attracting females to their nests, to breed and stay together for the season. Swallow tailed gulls are also breeding and building nests under the salt bushes. Love is in the air at the moment on this island, and we sure enjoyed watching all the interactions among species.

After the hike we went deep water snorkeling and explored the waters around the cliffs of Genovesa. While snorkeling, some of us spotted around fifteen hammerhead sharks, a school of golden rays and a large variety of tropical fish. The hammerheads were really a very unexpected surprise.

During the afternoon we went to explore Prince Phillip Steps. After a dry landing, we encountered a large breeding ground of Nazca boobies, a small forest of dwarf incense trees, and great frigate birds soaring the sky.

One of the highlights of the afternoon visit was the possibility of finding short-eared owls, and we found one hiding within a cave! The hike was outstanding, so many sea birds busy for the day, interacting! On our way back we spotted a few fur seals (really a type of sea lion) resting on the lava rocks.

This was an incredible day and perfect day to finish our expedition week around Darwin’s archipelago./p>

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About the Author

Jonathan Aguas

Naturalist/Certified Photo Instructor

Jonathan was born into one of only a handful of families that reaches back five generations in Galápagos, in the town of Puerto Baquerizo Moreno, on San Cristobal Island. He first left the islands when he won a highly-coveted scholarship to finish his studies in the U.S.  This was the start of his life-long passion for science and languages. He earned a bachelor’s degree in integrative biology from the University of Florida and later spent time in Europe, where he learned French. He is now fluent in English, French, Portuguese and Spanish.

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