We start the day by navigating into the sunken caldera of Genovesa Island. It’s the northernmost point on our itinerary. Part of the caldera wall is submerged which is how we can enter, but the captain needs to line-up our vessel carefully. Some of us are on deck early to see how it's done! Once inside and anchored, we head for our first landing at Prince Phillip’s Steps. There are large steps up to the top, but once we're there we are afforded a magnificent view of sea birds and a Palo Santo forest. Genovesa is also known as bird island due to the number of seabirds nesting. We soon encounter Nazca and red footed boobies, finches, cape turtle doves, frigate birds and red billed tropic birds flying around. As our trail progresses, we reach a rocky plain and we're on the search for the short eared owl. It is the top predator on the island and so is quite happy to hunt during the day time, usually on unsuspecting storm petrels. Daniel’s eagle eyes are the first to see it and that’s quite a feat as the owl is exactly the same colour as the lava it sits on! It is hiding in a hole and about 75 yards from the path we’re on. Cameras and binoculars are out although some of us are still convinced we’re looking at a rock. However, on closer inspection, we see that it is in fact a short-eared owl, so we give Daniel one point! A few of us even manage to get a reasonable photo. After all this excitement, it’s back to the boat to get ready for snorkelling and kayaking. Due to demand we yet again include two rounds of kayaking!
This afternoon, a wet landing on a beautiful sandy beach to follow a flat trail to spot red-footed boobies nesting in the mangroves. Some are hiding inside the bushes and are quite well camouflaged until you get close up!
We also see swallow-tailed gull chicks, both the normal and white morph variety, many frigate birds, Nazca boobies, and more. In a tidal pool we see a selection of small fish and a small manta ray.
It’s a fabulous island and we’re really lucky to make this visit as it’s not on every itinerary!