Birds, Birds, Everywhere!

Trip Start Oct 16, 2007
Trip End May 09, 2008

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Galápagos Voyager

Flag of Ecuador  ,
Friday, March 14, 2008

Genovesa Island - Tower
Prince Philip's Steps
08:00 Dinghy ride and dry landing at the jetty for a walk
11:00 Back on board

Darwin Bay (white coral beach)
14:30 Wet landing on the beach for a walk on a rocky trail and snorkeling from the beach.
17:00 Back on board

We arrived at Genovesa at dawn after almost a full night of cruising.  And there was sunshine, yeah!  We left Galapagos Voyager at 8:00am and headed towards the island.   We cruised along the shore of Darwin Bay, which is a partially eroded volcano, so the shore was very steep and rocky.  Various types of birds, like red-footed boobies, masked boobies, etc were resting or nesting in the cliffs.  We then arrived at Price Philip's steps.   It is a short 25m ascent from the jetty to the open ground above.   Once we were on top, there was a whole gathering of boobies all hanging out.  One youngster came right by us and started grabbing at William's shoelaces, and then Frank's camera strap.  The young masked boobies don't look as attractive as the mature ones.   Plus they poop all over their feet so their feet were quite splattered with white guck.  Genovesa has no land iguanas, so the cactus on this island grow very low to the ground, unlike the tall cactus trees we saw on the other islands.  We walked through some red mangrove shrubs which provided some partial shade early on, then proceeded to walk through the lava fields without any shade.  It was getting very hot and the sun was burning down on us.  None of these islands seem to have much shade, and the mornings seem to be the hottest time of the day!  An hour later we reached the end of the trail, and we saw thousands of birds flying about.   We saw lots of great frigate birds, and lots more masked and red-footed boobies.  We headed back to our pickup area and back to Voyager.

Since it was only 11am and we had an hour until lunch, William asked if any of us would like to snorkel with him to find hammerhead sharks.  7 of us decided to go and we jumped back into the dinghy, and it dropped us across the bay.  The visibility was pretty good, and we saw a TON of fish.  We didn't see any shark underwater, but spotted some dolphins in the distance.  William motioned us to get back into the dingy and we'd try to get closer to the dolphins.  A short ride later, we all jump back into the water and.... No dolphins!  We still had a few minutes to lunch so we decide to try again and take the dinghy closer to the dolphins.  This last time in the dinghy we saw couple dolphins breaching pretty high in the air, so cool!  We all jumped back into the ocean, but the dolphins all left us.  Guess they didn't want to swim with us today.   William also thought that there were no sharks around because the dolphins were in the area.  Dave loaned us his waterproof camera bag, so we tried to take some pictures.  They didn't come out too great as there wasn't enough light, but it was worth a shot.

After lunch, we headed back to a beach within Darwin Bay.  We walked from the beach on a path along the cliff.  The path was very rocky and composed of many loose, unstable pieces of sharp volcanic rock, so we were walking slowly.  We got to the end of the trail and stayed for a bit to watch the great frigate males trying to blow up their bright red pouches, cry loudly and shake their feathers to attract the females.  There was again no shade and it was still pretty darn hot.  After an hour we returned to the beach and about everyone jumped into the ocean to cool off.  We went snorkeling around the rocky area and saw some fish.  There wasn't as many fish as early in the day, but we did spot a white-tipped reef shark!   It was swimming slowly beneath us.  It made 2 passes beneath us until we lost sight of him.  That was really awesome!  After a little more snorkeling, Shari went back to shore.  I continued with couple other guys to find a sea lion.  We found him but this guy wasn't in the mood to play with us, too bad.
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