Now that I have shared how we enjoyed the islands, I am excited to bring you to our first destination, Genovesa Island. As a side note, since we joined the Floreana at 6pm on Day 1, we missed some of Day 1’s morning activities, which included the giant tortoises on Santa Cruz Island. We did see them later in the exploration on Isabela Island, but it was pouring rain that day, so unfortunately, we do not have pictures of the beautiful creatures.
Now on to what we did see. The Galápagos Islands are made up of thirteen larger islands and seven smaller islands. Day 2 brought us to Genovesa Island, which is one of the only islands entirely in the Northern Hemisphere. Last week I featured our experience at Mitad del Mundo, so it should not surprise you to hear that while on the Floreana we crossed the equator four times and even have nifty certificates to prove it!
Anyways, the Floreana’s day programs included two land visits per day and two water visits per day. Our first land visit brought us to Darwin Bay. This is where we were introduced to so many beautiful birds, including frigatebirds (pictured below), Nazca and Red-footed Boobies, Swallow-tailed Gulls, storm petrels, among other bird species.
The photos below were taken during our second land visit, to Prince Philip’s Steps.
Frigatebirds are so mezmerizing to watch. We were lucky enough to visit Genovesa while the frigatebirds were in their mating season. The first two photos of the firgatebirds show them prior to their mating call. According to Victor (our guide), it takes the frigatebirds three hours to inflate their bright red gular sac like a balloon. This inflation acts as a call to attract the female frigatebirds. When the females fly overhead looking for their potential mate (yes, it appears the women have all the power in the relationship!) the male birds make a vibrating sound, with their wings outstretched trying to win their affection.
We arrived to Prince Philip’s Steps by panga and were greeted by a sea lion lounging on the steps. The sea lion looked at us curiously, not scared. He eventually got bored, and jumped into the water allowing us to pass and enter a new portion of Genovesa Island. Below is a short clip of a sea lion we saw swimming during our water visit near Prince Philip’s steps.
This is a fruit from the Palo Santo tree. Victor picked this off the tree for us to smell. The oils from the Palo Santo tree are distilled and used as a traditional ethno-botanical medicine throughout South America, as well as used for spa treatments! My hands smelled heavenly after holding this fruit.
Above (in white) is the majestic Nazca booby. When we were at the airport leaving the Galápagos Islands, we saw this guy with a shirt that said, “I love boobies,” with a photo of a Nazca booby. Such a missed souvenir purchase opportunity. The last photo pictures a Short-eared Owl, can you find him? He is tricky to see! He would sit so still, hunting storm petrels as they unwittingly flew by. Anyways, I will be sharing more photos from the Galápagos Islands this week and look forward to reliving our Galápagos adventures while I prepare these posts. I hope you enjoy the photos.
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