Tower, or Genovesa, is home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, including fur seals, hammerheads sharks, turtles, manta rays, gulls, owls, and Nazca, red-footed, and blue-footed boobies. Today we had our first rain of the season, and the wildlife was active.
Our adventure started with a walk that began at the famous Prince Philip’s Steps. Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and frigatebirds surrounded us. We found nine short-eared owls. We all felt rewarded with the chance to view the only camouflaged owl on the island. Today was a red-footed booby day, and we spotted frigatebird chicks and marine iguanas. Nazca boobies are starting their mating season.
Back on the ship, we prepared for our last snorkel to search the undersea realm. We had close encounters with hammerhead sharks and many fish. Seeing them up close brought excitement and admiration. I had a close encounter with a tiger shark. Adrenaline rushed into my system for I have never seen one so close while snorkeling. Its beauty will remain in my memory for a lifetime.
After our great adventure, we returned to the ship where it was anchored inside Genovesa caldera. We were briefed about our departure and enjoyed our last delicious lunch, the pride of our culinary staff.
Our next adventure was a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay. The bay was named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, in honor of Charles Darwin, the great naturalist who redirected human thought. At high tide, we walked over a platform surrounded by birds of all kinds, including chicks. We observed the birds’ behavior and colors. We were moved to see so many active seabirds, especially the parents that took care of the juveniles, hoping that one day they will fend for themselves. We were happy to find a few marine iguanas. They are smaller and darker here, as this island in the northern hemisphere has a much different ecology. Like in a Petri dish, different ecology equals different results.
Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. Birds flew all over like in prehistoric times, and lava formations showed off the first foundations 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, this place seemed timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts. Our experience on these special islands has been unforgettable. The wildlife has no fear here, and this allows us to realize that we are not so different.
“We must rethink our indoctrinated knowledge, the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ and instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surroundings with all our senses; embracing nature with our true-spirit 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. At the end of our journey, we hope to stay in touch. We know that the experience our guests had this week will stay with them for a lifetime.