Tower Island, or Genovesa, is home to over one million seabirds. Our highlights here were diverse, including Nazca boobies, red- and blue-footed boobies, gulls, owls, fur seals, hammerhead sharks, turtles, and manta rays.
Our adventure began with a wet landing on a white coralline beach inside Darwin Bay. This bay was named by celebrity visitor William Beebe in honor of the great naturalist who redirected human thought, Charles Darwin. At low tide we walked over a platform surrounded by birds and chicks of all kinds, colors, and behaviors. We were first moved by so many active seabird parents taking care of juveniles hoping one day they can fend for themselves. We were also happy for one of our guests who spotted marine iguanas that were smaller and darker than the ones observed on the southern hemisphere islands. Each island here has its own ecology and, like an experiment in a Petri dish, different results. When we reached our turning point we were surprised by the knee-deep tidal waters; this slow-flowing water brought baby stingrays, pufferfish, sea lions, and many other creatures onto the path that had been our walking trail just a few minutes earlier.
Back aboard we prepared for our last snorkeling outing to explore the undersea realm. Today we had close encounters with many fish and playful sea lions for the last time; seeing them close brought excitement and admiration. After this great adventure we returned to our ship, anchored inside Genovesa caldera, for a briefing about our departure. We also enjoyed our last delicious lunch, the pride of our culinary staff. Following lunch we opted for our final kayak outing.
For our next adventure we visited Prince Philip’s Steps. A guest was able to find our first elusive short-eared owl; all of us felt rewarded to have a unique view of this camouflaged diurnal raptor. We saw red-footed boobies and frigatebirds — featuring red gular pouches on the bachelors eager to be selected by females.
Taking this walk was like being transported back in time. There were birds flying all over, and lava formations resembling the early foundations of Earth. Later, it was time to return to the ship and reminisce about the many experiences of such a wonderful week. As we looked back at the islands for the last time, this place seemed to be timeless. This unforgettable experience is now deep within our hearts. Spending time here with all the fearless wildlife allowed us to realize that maybe we are not so different.
“We must not acknowledge the methodical saying ‘don’t humanize the animals’ but instead ‘animalize the human’ by perceiving our surrounding with all our senses; embracing nature by coexistence and respect for one another, so we can become one with nature as we once were.” Celso Montalvo.
We have all bonded like a family, united by the invisible mysticism of these islands. We hope to stay in touch, and that the experiences our guests had this week will stay with them for a lifetime.