Today we visited Genovesa Island. Three trips, altogether.
Female Frigate bird
For the first one, we disembarked from the cruise boat at 8 am in rubber dinghies. The cruise boat was anchored a short ride from the island, and we motored in the dinghies along its rocky cliffs to the point where steps had been cut in the rock so people can climb to the flat top. Along the rocks, we saw several sea lions – they like to lounge there in the shade while they can. There were swallowtail gulls, frigate birds, pelicans, and tropic birds flying around as well.
Male Frigate bird with his chick
The top was a flat expanse with probably hundreds of nesting Nazca boobies, red-footed boobies, and frigate birds. The Nazca boobies were pretty much entirely on the ground – walking around and nesting. The red-footed boobies were primarily in the trees. In addition to their feet being different colors, their faces are quite different too. You can see that in these pictures. We saw eggs and babies of both. The frigate birds are dark: the males have red patches on the necks, and the females have white chests.
At one point we saw a vast number of storm petrels swooping around. They were beautiful. We also saw a short-eared owl, which hunts the storm petrels.
Our second visit was to snorkel along the rock wall. No pictures of that! But it was very enjoyable. Lots of colorful fish.
Our third visit, in the afternoon, was to the only beach on this island. There were many sea lions sunning themselves and swimming there. We walked down for a ways, then waded further in a small inlet. While in the inlet, a baby sea lion came over to check some of us out! We just stood quietly and it came over to several different people, curious, and sniffed their legs. On this walk we saw more boobies, of course, and two different types of swallowtail gulls. One is native to the Galápagos, the other comes from Chile to the Galápagos each year to mate. We saw one juvenile of that species and several instances of mating. We also saw a lava gull, which are quite rare.
All in all, it was a lovely day. Tonight we will motor to another island, and they have promised it will be rougher than last night’s passage, so thank heaven for Dramamine!
Curious baby sea lion