Tower, or Genovesa, that’s home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse – from Nazca, red- and blue-footed boobies and gulls, to 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 celebrated writer and explorer William Beebe in honor of a great naturalist who re-directed human thought, Charles Darwin. At low tide and over a platform we walked surrounded by birds of all kinds, their chicks, behavior and colors. We were first moved by so many active seabirds and parents taking care of juveniles. We were also happy spotting a few marine iguanas, smaller and darker than the ones at the southern hemisphere islands. Each island has its own ecology and, like a Petri-dish, different results.
Today we had close encounters with many sea lions and chicks. At the end of the trail, we saw one sea lion with a ring around its neck, cutting through slowly because of plastic floating in the ocean. Ironically, the same currents that brought life for many years are now bringing death. The sea lion has been photographed and reported to the Park Service for assistance within the week.
Back aboard, we prepared for our last snorkeling and kayak outings in search the undersea realm. Today we had close encounters with many fish and playful sea lions for the last time; seeing them so close brought wide excitement and admiration. After this great adventure, we came back to our ship anchored inside Genovesa’s caldera to be briefed about our departure and enjoyed our last delicious lunch, pride for our culinary staff. After lunch we opted for our last kayak outing.
We were then ready to start our next adventure, Prince Philip’s Steps where frigatebirds with Nazca and red-footed boobies surrounded us. One guest was able to find our first short-ear owl. All of us felt privileged to have a unique view of this elusively camouflaged diurnal raptor. Today was a red-footed booby day more than anything, and also we were able to spot frigatebirds with the highly popular red gular pouch of bachelors eager for selection by females.
Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. There were birds flying all over, like in prehistoric times, and lava formations resembling the first foundation of Earth. Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about the many experiences from such a wonderful week. As we look back and gaze at the islands for the last time, this place now seems to be timeless to us. It is now deep within our hearts and our experience has been unforgettable on these special islands, where the wildlife that has no fear and allows us to realize that we are not so different.
“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ but instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surrounding 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 bonded as a family, united by this invisible mysticism. At the end of our journey we hope to stay in touch, and that the experience our guests had this week will remain with them for a lifetime.