Tower Island, or Genovesa, is home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse. We observed gulls, owls, fur seals, hammerhead sharks, turtles, and manta rays, in addition to Nazca, red-, and blue-footed boobies.
Our adventure began with a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay. William Beebe, a celebrity visitor, named the bay in honor of Charles Darwin, a great naturalist who redirected human thought. As we walked over a platform at low tide, birds of all kinds and their chicks surrounded us. We observed their behavior and colors. We were moved by the sight of so many active seabird parents taking care of the juveniles, hoping they can one day fend for themselves. We also saw many male frigatebirds. Hoping to be selected by passing females, they displayed their gular pouches as part of a mating ritual. Here, each island has its own ecology and like in a Petri dish, the results vary. When we reached our turning point, the tide was going out quickly and steadily. This allowed us to continue our walk as we searched for shorebirds along the shoreline.
Back aboard, we prepared for our last snorkeling outing to search the undersea realm. Today we had close encounters with many fish, including some hammerhead sharks. Seeing them up close brought excitement and admiration deep into our hearts.
After this great adventure, we returned to the ship, where it was anchored inside a caldera on Genovesa. We were briefed about our departure as we enjoyed our last delicious lunch, the pride of our culinary staff.
We were then ready to start our next adventure. On Prince Philip’s Steps, Nazca, red-footed boobies, and frigatebirds surrounded us. They were difficult to find, but we finally spotted our first elusive short-eared owl. We felt rewarded to have such a unique view of the camouflaged diurnal raptor. We also spotted frigatebird bachelors with their long and 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 foundation of Earth. Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about our many experiences during such a wonderful week. As we look back and gaze at the islands for the last time, this place seems timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts. Our experience has been unforgettable on these special islands, where wildlife has no fear, allowing us to realize that we are not so different.
We have all bonded like a family, united by this invisible mysticism. As our journey ends, we hope to stay in touch. We know the experiences our guests had this week will stay with them for a lifetime.
“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