A 6am start on day two of the Galapagos adventure. Not ideal considering most of the passengers weren’t used to the boat rocking from side to side and were kept up late during the night on our 6 hour cruise from Santa Cruz. I didn’t feel too bad however, being on the top bunk at times I felt like I was going to roll off and crash onto the floor.
Genovesa Island is actually a shield volcano located nearly 100km north of Santa Cruz. One side of the volcano had collapsed over time which created a bay now called Charles Darwin Bay, even though the man never visited it. It was a grey old day but it didn’t deter the wildlife. Whilst cruising to the Prince Philip steps in our dinghy, we could see hundreds of gulls, frigates and boobies circling the mineral like volcanic coastline which was covered in years of bird excrement. I was surprised that nobody got pooped on by a bird, there were that many circling the land and water. Welcoming us at the steps were many sea lions that enjoy the attention from the tourists and we would later find out they would be our welcoming party on every beach landing.
Animals spotted on Genovesa: Swallow Tailed Gulls, Mockingbirds, Red Footed Boobies, Frigates, Nasca Boobies, Darwin Finches, Vampire Finches. We waited a while on the coastline to see the Short Eared Owl as they hunted during the day instead of their nocturnal cousins. However, it wasn’t to be.
Each day we have the opportunity to go snorkelling at each of the site visits. We were told that Genovesa is a popular place for Hammerhead Sharks and if conditions were good then we’d have a chance at seeing schools of them. However, it wasn’t to be the day as it was too choppy on the far side of the cove, where they were most likely to be. This didn’t deter a group from another boat from going though. They did indeed see hammerhead sharks but due to the rough conditions, their dinghy took on water and sank leaving the crew and snorkellers in the water for an hour before anybody realised. During the snorkel in calmer waters we spotted many large Parrot fish, about 3 x times the size of the ones you see back at home or in the Caribbean. There were also many other species of fish and I spotted a White Tipped Reef Shark and we also spotted a large sea turtle.
After lunch, we explored Charles Darwin Bay nearby. The sun is finally out and spirits are high. Distinguishing this area from the rest of the island is a beach and the presence of mangroves that get their nutrients from the high tides that carry water up to 50 metres inland from the shore. Within these mangroves are many Red Footed Boobies nesting and resting. During the walk, we spot the group whose boat sunk and Fabian our guide yelled out “Welcome back survivors!”. Very funny but I don’t think some of them appreciated it. During our walks, we sometimes take time out to just sit in silence to take in the vibe. Close to where we sit is a memorial plaque for two divers who perished whilst scuba diving off the coastline within our view. A sobering reminder that however beautiful mother nature can be, she can easily turn on you.
Afterwards we don our sexy wetsuits and go for another snorkel to see some sharks very close to the shore line as well as some Spotted Eagle Rays and more fish. Animals seen on Charles Darwin Bay were: Red Footed Boobies, Herons, Spotted Eagle Rays and White Tipped Reef Sharks.