Our last full day in Galapagos and we’re planning a real marine bird highlight! We’ve sailed overnight to one of the northern-most islands, Genovesa, also known by the English name of Tower. The island is an ancient dormant volcano. The caldera is submerged and we sail into it and anchor close to the inside cliff. There is an early-morning pre-breakfast kayak round, and as we wake we begin to see the plethora of frigate birds, red-footed boobies, Nazca boobies, swallow-tailed gulls, tropic birds and storm petrels. There are over 250,000 nesting birds on this island.
Our first landing is at Darwin Bay, a white sand beach, and we walk along a trail adjacent to mangroves and low bushes to see red footed booby and frigate nests. Following this there’s a last snorkeling option or we can stay on the beach for some swimming or sun bathing. While we’re lounging on the beach a friendly red-footed booby unilaterally decides to visit Lynn, Mary and Sally up close and personal! Simply magical!
This afternoon we land at Prince Philip’s Steps. We transfer by panga and then climb up some big steps to the cliff top for a walk through a Palo Santo forest to a storm petrel colony, passing boobies and frigates on the way. We’re told there’s just a chance of seeing the rare short-eared hunting owl, but not to raise our hopes too much. We manage the Duke of Edinburgh’s Steps and walk about 10 metres to start our expedition. Standing on the ground in clear view of everyone and in no rush to go anywhere is a beautiful owl! Numerous photos are taken of course and guests begin to disbelieve the earlier advice about the owl’s rarity! Richard and Dawn can confirm however. They have walked this route numerous times before and only rarely have they seen an owl. Later during the walk we spot another owl, this time in flight. This trail returns the same way, and owl number one is waiting for us, albeit he’s moved 5 metres from its original position, but seemingly not bothered about our return. The Galapagos Islands are incredible – from our first landing to our last!