After a long overnight sail to the island of Genovesa, we start the day by navigating into the sunken caldera of the Island. This is the northernmost point on our itinerary. Part of the caldera wall is submerged, 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 plateau and, mid-way, a swallow-tailed gull is nesting, so we all must be very careful. On the plateau we are afforded a magnificent view of sea birds and a Palo Santo forest. Genovesa is known as bird island due to the number of seabirds nesting. We soon encounter Nazca and red footed boobies, finches, cape turtle doves, shearwaters, frigate birds and red billed tropic birds. 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 so is quite happy to hunt during the day time, usually on unsuspecting storm petrels. The problem, however, is that these owls are very well camouflaged and very difficult to spot. We struggle until Glynnis spots one, and we all hone in! A few even manage to get a reasonable photo.
After all this excitement, it’s back to the ship to get ready for optional snorkelling and kayaking. Due to demand we schedule two rounds of kayaking! Others relax on our sun deck and enjoy the magnificent views of all the sea bird activity going on.
This afternoon, a wet-landing on a beautiful sandy beach, followed by a flat trail to spot red-footed boobies nesting in the mangroves. Some are hiding inside the bushes and are difficult to see until you get close! On the path are huge numbers of juvenile red-footed boobies …. so many that we must walk off the path to get around them.
We also see swallow-tailed gulls, some with chicks and some with eggs, many frigate birds, Nazca boobies, and more. In a tidal pool we see a selection of small fish and a small ray.
It’s a fabulous island and a true highlight!
photo © Diego