Day 11 – March 22: Galapagos #2: Darwin Bay and Prince Phillips Steps on Genovesa Island

Galapagos Islands Travel Blog

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Frigate Bird

MORNING:

 

The wakeup call was at 7:00am.  I am sure I was already awake because I had a hard time sleeping.  We were moving most of the night to the next island, and the noise from the engines seemed incredibly loud to me.  The people in higher cabins didn’t complain about noise, but they did seem to notice the rocking a lot more (one man felt almost rolled out of bed, and one woman said she couldn’t sleep on her side because of the rolling).  I am going try ear plugs tonight….

 

DARWIN BAY:

 

After breakfast, we prepared for another wet landing.  Our morning excursion was basically a walk around the beach and cove followed by beach and snorkeling time (about 2 hours total).

 

Genovesa Island is a volcano that collapsed into a crater, so now it is C-shaped, and we were parked in the middle of the “C”.  Hundreds of birds were gliding on the air over the cliffs of the island.

 

There were lots and lots of frigate birds with their red chests all puffed out.  We saw some of them doing their wing-flapping bird-calling mating dance, and even one couple making a match.

 

The guides do a great job talking about the animals, how the live, and how they interact.  The paths are well marked, so it is easy to walk around afterwards for more pictures.

 

The snorkeling was pretty good.  The water was warm enough, so I don’t think I will be using a wetsuit on this trip.

 

Animals:

·         Red-footed boobies

·         Frigate birds

·         Nazca boobies

·         Swallow Tail Gulls

·         Brown Pelicans

·         Yellow Crown Night Heron

·         Galapagos Dove

·         Sea Lions

·         Needle Fish

·         Sally Lightfoot Crabs

·         Galapagos Mockingbird

 

ON BOARD:

 

Back on the boat, we took one of the glass-bottom kayaks over to the cliff area of the island.

Red Footed Boobie
  It’s a 2-person kayak, but they let my son go in the middle.  He plastered his face down on the glass bottom with a lot of “whoa!” coming from his mouth.

 

The cliffs were very dark black lava, and once in a while, we could see small black crabs skittering across the wall with incredible camouflage.

 

After lunch, my husband took my son one other boy snorkeling over by the same cliffs.  Normally, you can’t go snorkeling over there, but the waves were calm enough to allow it.  It was the highlight of the trip for my son so far!  There was a 3 ½ foot manta ray that followed them for quite a ways (was it the blue snorkel fins?!), a school of seemingly a hundred large fish, angel fish mom/dad/babies, fighting giant lobsters, and fish of incredible color.  Lesson:  always take your camera!

 

Animals:

·         Red Spiny Lobster

·         Moorish Idol (angelfish)

 

Today is one day after the Spring Equinox.  At noon on the equator on the Spring and Fall Equinoxes, the sun is exactly straight overhead.  Of course, we had to test this theory on the sun deck and prove that our bodies, in fact, did not cast a shadow.

 

PRINCE PHILLIP’S STEPS

 

Our afternoon excursion would have been a pretty interesting hike, but it was just so incredibly hot….

 

We did a “dry” landing, so our panga (Zodiac) drove up to a spot in the lava cliff that is invisible until you are almost right on top of it.  There were steps carved into the stone and a wooden handrail.

 

The hike is up on top of the island and filled with birds at every step.  Very up close and personal plus countless birds flying around like crazy.

 

The trail is all on lava, and it’s hard to believe anything grows or lives here.

 

We were there for about 1 ½ hours, and we were all melted from the heat.  We were able to see a few cute fur sea lions on our way back to the boat.  Just about everyone jumped in the water off the back of the boat to cool off.

 

Animals:

·         Tropicbird

·         Galapagos Mockingbird

·         Red-footed Boobies

·         Nazca Boobies

·         Frigate Birds

 

EVENING:

 

The boat had a long way to travel that night, so as soon as everyone was on board, we started our journey.

Sea Lion

 

The kids got an early dinner, and then we had a briefing to discuss what we would be doing the next day.  In the middle of the briefing, one of our guides announced that there were dolphins off the bow!

 

They were pretty far off, but we could see a few groups of 10-20 of them jumping and leaping into the air in front of the setting sun.  It was very fun to watch!

 

After the rest of the briefing, we were served the adult dinner.  The kids got to watch a movie in the lounge.  Then it was off to bed.

 

Although everyone in their family or friend groups, people mingled amongst each other quite nicely, and every meal seems to be a different combination of people.

 

CLOTHING:

For the wet landing, we all wore our swimsuits underneath shorts and short-sleeved shirts.

For the dry landing, we all wore walking shoes, shorts, and short-sleeved shirts.  It was hot, hot, hot, so a hat was a blessing and light colored clothing.

FOOD:

Breakfast was a buffet of eggs with spinach, cinnamon pancakes, fruit, yogurt, cereal, bread, cheese, juice, and coffee.

After snorkeling, there were mango juice and cheese sandwiches.

Lunch was a buffet of skewered lobster, beef strips, egg and potato triangles, salad, rice, and fresh fruit.

After the afternoon hike, there were pear juice and empanadas.

At the briefing, we got potato chips.  The adults ate about 2 chips each, but the kids weren’t so polite J

The kids got an early dinner of pizza.  The adult dinner started with a salad of avocado, cucumber, and tomato followed by a choice of sea bass or pork with potatoes, fried cabbage with ham.  The pork was actually ham with pineapple sauce.  The sea bass was rather bland.  Dessert was a raspberry mousse.

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Frigate Bird
Frigate Bird
Blue Footed Boobies
Blue Footed Boobies
Red Footed Boobie
Red Footed Boobie
Sea Lion
Sea Lion
Sea Lions swimming
Sea Lions swimming
Whale bones
Whale bones
Flightless Cormorant
Flightless Cormorant
Sally Lightfoot Crab
Sally Lightfoot Crab
Marine Iguanas
Marine Iguanas
Galapagos Islands
photo by: Melboorn