Genovesa Island is in the Northern hemisphere and very isolated from the rest of the archipelago. This isolation has led to very interesting conditions, such as the absence of terrestrial reptiles, which were never able to colonize this Island. The prickly pear cactus has lost the sharpness of its spines. The top predator is the short-eared owl, which has adapted to hunting during the daily hours. The only marine reptile are the marine iguanas which, by the way, are the smallest of their kind in Galapagos.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was our first full day of expedition, and we started by visiting North Seymour Island. This is a small, flat, and windy site where big colonies of marine birds nest. The main species are frigatebirds and blue-footed boobies. This is the beginning of the dry season, so the marine life is starting courtship rituals all around! We walked through a forest of incense trees and dry bush that lost their leaves at the start of the season, as they are deciduous plants. Their greenery will grow back when the wet season returns. The area is also home for a big population of land iguanas, which are now wandering around the whole island in search of food. In the afternoon, we went to the red island, Rabida. We landed on a red sand beach where we enjoyed an amazing first snorkel with sea lions and colorful fish. The contrast with the red sandy bottom makes the fish even more colorful. After our beach time, we explored the inside of the island by following a trail that took us to a brackish water lagoon where flamingos are now nesting. The end of the wet season left behind a couple juvenile and baby flamingos that are still feeding from this lagoon before they can fly around the other islands. We ended our day by hiking to the top of a small hill that offers an amazing view of the lagoon, the beach, and the bay. What a privilege to witness so much life and so much action!