Our last full day of adventure began with a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay, named by a celebrity visitor, William Beebe, to honor the great naturalist who redirected human thought, Charles Darwin. One guest spotted some marine iguanas that were smaller and darker than the ones on the southern hemisphere islands. Each island has its own ecology, like a petri dish with different results.

On a walk at low tide, we were surrounded by birds of all kinds, some with chicks. We observed their active parenting behavior, imparting lessons so their offspring can fend for themselves one day. When we reached our turning point, the tidal water had reached our knees. This slow flowing current brought baby stingrays, pufferfish, sea lions, and many other creatures to what was our walking trail a few minutes earlier. We got much closer to these sea creatures during our snorkeling session later that morning.

After an active morning, it was time for a delicious lunch on the ship, now anchored inside the Genovesa caldera. Afterward, we took the kayaks out for a last outing before landing at Prince Philip’s Steps. Here, we were surrounded by Nazca and red-footed boobies. We saw male magnificent frigatebirds displaying their inflated red gular pouches, eager to be selected as mates by females.

One guest was the first to spot the elusive short-eared owl, and we were all rewarded a glimpse of the well-camouflaged diurnal raptor. Surrounded by lava formations and wildlife that had no fear of humans, we felt transported to prehistoric times.

That evening, over cocktails, we looked back on the amazing experiences of our week. United by the magic of the Galapagos, we have bonded like a family on this journey, creating memories that will stay with us for a lifetime.

Adiós amigos.