Tower Island, or Genovesa Island, is home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, from Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, blue-footed boobies, gulls, owls, fur seals, hammerheads sharks, turtles, and manta rays.
Our adventure began with a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay, named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe. Beebe named the bay in honor of the great naturalist Charles Darwin who redirected human thought. At low tide, we walked over a platform and were surrounded by birds of all kinds. We observed their chicks, behaviors, and colors. We were moved to see so many active seabirds, especially when we observed how the parents take care of the juveniles, hoping they can fend for themselves one day. Genovesa’s marine iguanas are smaller and darker than the ones found in the southern hemisphere islands. Each island has its own ecology, and like in a Petri dish, there are different results. When we reached our turning point, we were surprised by the low tidal range, which allowed us to walk on an exposed platform that is normally covered by water during high tide.
Back aboard, we prepared for our last snorkeling to search the undersea realm. We had close encounters with many fish and playful sea lions; seeing them up close brought excitement and admiration.
After this great adventure, we returned to our ship anchored inside Genovesa caldera. We were briefed about our departure and enjoyed our last delicious lunch, the pride of our culinary staff.
After lunch, we opted for our last kayak outing along the shoreline inside the caldera wall.
We were then ready to start our next adventure at Prince Philip’s Steps, where Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and frigatebirds surrounded us. A guest spotted our first short-eared owl. All of us felt rewarded to get a unique view of this elusive, camouflaged, diurnal raptor. Today was a red-footed booby day, and we also spotted frigatebirds. Eager to be selected by females, bachelor frigatebirds displayed their long, weighted, red gular pouches.
Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. Birds flew all over like in prehistoric times, and lava formations resembled the first foundation of Earth. Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about our many experiences during this wonderful week. As we looked back and gazed at the islands for the last time, the place seemed timeless to us. It is now held deep within our hearts. Our experience on these special islands has been unforgettable. In this place, the wildlife has no fear, allowing us to realize that we are not very different.
“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ but instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surroundings 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
We have all bonded like a family, united by an invisible mysticism. As our journey ends, we hope to stay in touch. We know that the experiences our guests had this week will stay with them for a lifetime.