This morning we woke up in the northern region of the Galapagos Marine Reserve at Genovesa Island. Genovesa forms a crescent shape, with part of the volcanic crater having sunken into the sea long ago. This island is a magnet for seabirds, including the red-footed booby. This was our first opportunity to see the red-footed boobies because they are restricted to two large colonies in the Galapagos, one of which is located on Genovesa Island. The red-footed booby chooses to inhabit two sites in the Galapagos where the Galapagos hawk is absent; without our apex terrestrial predator present, the hatchlings of these boobies are less likely to be preyed upon.
National Geographic Endeavour II
Today was the second full day of our expedition, and we started activities very early to make the most of it. Right after sunrise, we boarded Zodiacs to explore a very interesting visitor site on Floreana Island. Here, a green sand beach was waiting for us. We learned about different types of sand and why the green color of this beach is so special. As we walked a little farther, we arrived at a brackish water lagoon. Flamingos are often observed here, but today was really special. We found nearly 80 flamingos feeding at the lagoon. This sighting was not only rare but also very exciting! We kept walking and arrived at a beach known as “the flour beach.” The beach has a particular type of sand that is not only white but very fine, like flour. Walking there was a pleasure. We encountered a sea turtle laying her eggs and covering them with sand. We observed diamond stingrays along the shoreline as we walked along the beach. Our next activity was an amazing deep-water snorkel. We observed many species of colorful fish along with one of the largest colonies of sea lions in the Galapagos. The afternoon was equally interesting, maybe even better! We had the opportunity to visit Post Office Bay, the location of the first mailing system on the islands. Long ago, sailors deposited their mail here, and it was collected by other ships passing through on their way back home. Nowadays, the mail system still works the same way. Postcards are dropped off and then picked up by future visitors, who follow the tradition by hand-delivering the mail once they make it home. After this exciting adventure, we enjoyed the clear and warm waters at the beach. Today was another great day in this little piece of heaven on earth.